Granddad & East Texas Roads

Larry Lynch Area Activities , East Texas , Outdoors , Travel Leave a Comment

The last summer he was alive, my Granddad Neal asked me to drive him around East Texas to visit old friends and family. It was an offer I couldn’t refuse…he was very dear to me and I loved his stories. He was a “student of human nature” who gave a lot of thought to why people acted as they did. (If you’ve seen Hud, Melvyn Douglas’s portrayal of Homer Bannon, Paul Newman’s dad in the film, is a spot-on homage to the old Texas ranchers of the era. The film premiered in ’63, the year Granddad died.) I spent a good deal of that summer traversing county and farm-to-market roads in the Piney Woods and Big Thicket. I also spent a good deal of time looking for graves in deep woods and cow pastures, as well as in cemeteries; it turned out that a lot of Granddad’s old friends and family were deceased. Once we found the final resting place he would tell me abut the person buried there…what their lives had been like and what they had meant to him. It was his way of saying good-by, to them as well as to me; he passed away that fall. But he left me with a passion for people’s stories, and for the roads I now travel regularly. He would have loved the hayfield above; it is a wonderful combination of utility (ranchers need hay) and beauty (note how they left those great pines at the top of the hill).

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Larry Lynch

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