I spent a two nights with old friends from New Jersey who moved to the Dallas area a few years ago. They have embraced their new Texas life and it was inspiring to spend time with them. We indulged in Texas barbecue, where I learned why it is all about the brisket. The delicious beef and spicy sauce were a winning combination. On Monday, we walked the luscious grounds of the Dallas Arboretum before going to The Sixth Floor Museum, which was the Texas School Book Depository. The audio tour of the museum was well done, with panels of information on JFK’s presidency from campaign to the tragic day the sixth floor became the crime scene for the assassination of President Kennedy. The museum was packed with a bus tour plus dozen of folks who were in line when the doors opened at noon. I skipped the first few exhibit panels on the campaign and was able to bypass most of the crowd. Having recently been at the JFK library in South Boston, I felt well-enough informed. The shooting, the arrest and murder of Lee Harvey Oswald, the Warren Commission and various conspiracy theories are all handled well. The actual crime scene is glassed off, but the grassy knoll is visible from other windows on the floor. I had forgotten the intense dislike many in the Dallas area had for JFK and that several leading businessmen had taken out a full page hate-type advertisement in the Dallas Morning News on November 22, 1963. The advertisement as well as photos and much footage was on display.
We left Dallas for the less glossy, Fort Worth, city of cattlemen and stockyards. This very manageable city has a lovely museum area that includes the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame which unfortunately was closed on Monday. We did visit the Science Museum which had a great exhibit on cattlemen and cattle drives. In addition, I saw the headdress of Quanah, the last Comanche Chief, on display. From the Science Museum we went to the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District, which is an area of restaurants, bars, western gear shops, and includes the Coliseum where rodeos are held. It is a bit like stepping back into the West, complete with the aroma of steer dung. There’s even a couple of long-horn cattle to sit upon so that you can take a photo. I declined that invitation.
I was preoccupied on my last evening in Dallas with news of the attack at the Boston Marathon. My stamina was low, so I took the advice I so often to give to my kids and their friends. I went to bed and got a full night’s sleep. I felt better in the morning.
I had had to dropped my car off at a Toyota dealership on Monday because the water in my footwell had returned with a vengeance on the drive from San Antonio to Dallas. It was not a minor problem and took many hours of labor to fix, but it was fixed and now with a 12-month warranty in my hand, I was headed north to the Oklahoma Panhandle.