Thursday, April 16, 2009
This is the view from Kaye's second-storey deck. You are looking out over Old Settlers' Park.
When I first moved here, Old Settlers' Park was at the corner of IH 35 and RM 620. It was not developed, except for a few swings and a pavilion where the abandoned Albertson's grocery store now squats. The pavilion had cedar posts holding up the roof, and a concrete stage at the downhill (south) end.
Every year, there would be an Old Settlers' Reunion, a custom that started back in the far reaches of time, when folks who had moved away came back. I heard my first Texas Swing music there. The Light Crust Doughboys played every year, and there would be a fiddling contest. Bob Wills used to play with the Light Crust Doughboys, also back a few eons, but came to a parting of the ways, because the sponsor wanted to choose the music, and keep it clean, and Bob Wills wanted to do his own thing. Hence, his band, The Playboys was born. Or so the story goes, anyway.
There would be a chili cook off, and a good time was had by all.
Then they built the McDonald's on the corner, and it all went downhill from there. Somebody gave the city some undeveloped acreage way the hell and gone out Hwy 79, and the Old Settlers pulled up stakes and went there. I remember stumbling around in the field out there one year when a model of the Vietnam Wall was being carried around the country. That was nothing like the terrific production they do nowadays with the travelling Wall.
Anyway, over the years, that acreage has been developed, the artificial lake put in and stocked with fish, a hiking trail, a frisbee golf course, a huge complex of ball fields for little league, and even a small water park make it a nice place to go. The triple A baseball team has it's stadium adjacent to the park, and there are fireworks after the Friday games, as well as a huge display on the Fourth of July.
But there is no longer an Old Settlers' Reunion.