Do luck out, as, leaving Lewisville and heading back toward Interstate, notice a “Historic Homes District” sign pointing to a lovely pocket of old houses and parks set on deep, foliaged lots under tree-canopied streets. In an era of “McMansions”, these hardly compete… but there is a sense of functionality (as opposed to mere flamboyance) in house and lot size. (Mental note: write to Chamber of Commerce and suggest they “pass” on downtown and concentrate on old homes).
Decide to lunch in McKinney/TX.
At their Visitor Center, a visibly anxious woman “greeter” offers brochures while casting occasional, concerned glances at four young men as tho they’d just parked their Hells Angels Harleys outside her door. In greeting these well-groomed, neatly-dressed Mormon missionaries, and inquiring about their objectives, their politeness to me seems to calm her concerns. (Must admit… for all the derogatory comments I’ve heard about Mormons, have been very fortunate in finding them delightful. As missionaries, they obviously proselytize, but have always treated my declines graciously. One offers a handshake and we have a brief conversation. Point out am not in search of a new religion, and that efforts in Salt Lake City/UT and again in Nauvoo/IL had achieved no conversion. Wish them luck, but leave with a sense they will find this “barren ground”.).
McKinney too has a Historic Home District. As is true of “mad dogs and Englishmen”, head “out in the mid-day sun” for another neighborhood stroll: huge old homes, sturdy churches, peaceful parks. Wander wondering whether growing up in McMansion neighborhoods offers as much charm as these staid old districts.
Downtown, dine al fresco (tho admit, question, with auto traffic rolling by, how “fresh” is outdoor air?) at Spoons before strolling around McKinney’s “town square”. Alas, attractive Landon Winery is closed (as is Local Yocals farmers market), but even contemporary use doesn’t hide a sense of how little has changed since Model T autos chugged along these streets.
Next to four-story Grand Hotel (and suspect, in its day, it was) manage to find a small ice cream store where my need for dessert is fulfilled. Ask its owner about side wall murals, and am treated to a small-town discourse of first names, local schools, and local politics: politicos thought downtown murals would be a plus for tourists, contacted high school art teacher, a “plan” was devised, and students gained extra credit.
Detour off onto TX-5 to Denison to check out “Ike’s Place”… a TX historical site where General/President Dwight D Eisenhower grew up.
Once a “blue collar” neighborhood for railroad workers, this lovely site has been much cleared and looks more like a home for a successful small farmer. Tho no longer functional, a small, red building easily converts, in mind’s imagination, to the small, local store which supplied this community.
Downtown, searching for “local” commemorative postcards (which seem to be disappearing everywhere… but then, it seems corner mailboxes are vanishing also), run across a building sporting an old “Studebaker” sign, and curse myself for failing to carry my camera everywhere.
On the road again, pause in Atoka/OK at an AAA office, and proceed to flummox a young girl by asking for a “TripTik”. After explaining new and old styles (“electronic” Mapquest style for “destination” people; paper foldout for “journey” addicts), she remains confused, but stoically suggests she’ll search for a way to provide them in the future.