photo (2)

It may not be much of a party, a mother taking her youngest through a drive-thru for her birthday lunch, but we enjoyed our bacon embellished sandwiches eaten on the serendipitous drive home through nearby Horseshoe Bend, a place with a couple of poignant memories for me.

I would come here with my first two children years ago, when their dad would be sleeping after night shift, to keep them quiet, and when their dad left us, to keep me quiet. Keep is probably the wrong word. Make is more like.

A person is not supposed to dwell on the past, so I’ll just talk about my friend, the Brazos River, the bend of which makes a little resort community heretofore named. Resort because I don’t think it’s a first home for hardly anyone except down on their luck type people, one of which we saw. It’s Indian and Spanish named, one-car-width roads wind through mostly ramshackle motor homes on stilts. There is no community pool, but there is a community airport and a church: The Horseshoe Bend Church. It’s a Church for the sake of a river, one of the better reasons I know to have a Church. Rivers speak of baptism: the tomb and the womb, the beginning and the end, the Alpha and the Omega. Brazos means arms. I bet the Spanish, being good Catholics, meant Arms of God when they named it. Sure enough, its full name is Rio de los Brazos de Dios. It’s the longest river in Texas, and the 11th longest in the United States, and it’s just a few miles from my home. The bend is like the crook of God’s arm, into which one can easily go, provided they keep the boat ramp open. I told my daughter that we needed to pick up a little of the trash so as to leave the place better than we found it, to pay our membership dues, as it were. Otherwise they may close it to the public, which I think they did the last time I was there.

Pecan Plantation is another community on the Brazos. It is a gated community on the other side of Lake Granbury, after the dam. I went there once after my ex left. I was in a hand-me-down, late 70’s or early 80’s Buick Le Sabre, a great big old boat named The Gnome-Mobile by its previous owners, my benefactors. My two little children were buckled on the seat beside me. Cars used to have bench seats in the front. I got a $110 ticket in it one time because my seat-belt wasn’t on, but theirs were.

Pecan Plantation is a larger, very wealthy, probably first home community. It has community horse stables and other nicer amenities. I don’t know if it has a community Pecan Plantation Church. I doubt it, because churches aren’t supposed to be behind gates. I didn’t know it was gated when I ended up driving that way. I just wanted to get close to the river, and when I came upon it, I remembered when I was little how my family had taken a drive down there when it was still a pecan plantation and was first getting established and was as yet un-gated. So I drove up to the little guard tower to see what the deal was. He asked if I lived there, knowing that that car didn’t belong. I said no, I just wanted to look around with my kids. He let us. So I wound around their two-car-wide roads lined with beautiful, large-lotted, two story houses that you couldn’t see through the bottom story of. Being on that side of the dam, they don’t worry about flooding. The best part was where there was a bit of undeveloped river front, its narrow post-dam remnant lined with gravel. The kids and I got out and waded and played around for a bit. I haven’t been back there since, because now my car is too nice for the guard to take pity on us.

The Horseshoe Bend ramp, which we finally found after wandering around Brazos, Cimmaron, Guadelupe, Cheyenne, Lipan and Iroquois Trails, is open now, so we got out, stood in the middle of the river on the low-river-level part of the ramp made out of dried sand, and pretended we were rowing up while facing one way, and drifting down, facing the other way, in our little dug-out Indian canoe. Actually I’m the only one who pretended. Then we hiked up Would Be Island, on the left in the picture. Up that high (pictures always diminish sizes in scenery, but add it on people), we could see a herd of horses on the opposite side. There was an abandoned refrigerator in the grassy area on the top. And a bunch of beer cans all of the same brand. Next time I’ll bring a bag for the cans to either be recycled or cashed in. I’ve resorted to finding and cashing in cans around that other time of my life. And I’ll bring the dogs. They would have loved that place and our left-over fries.