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Sunday, February 3, 2008

Hico and Beyond

"It's HIGH-ko" Sylvia said, correcting my more Hispanic pronunciation of Hico. Oh, I thought. It's another unique Texan way of pronuncing words slightly differently than how it's spelled. Just like the people in Massachusetts.

I missed driving through Hico coming north yesterday, and when I drove back into town from the north, realized why: Highway 281 forks off to the right (south) just north of the town square while TX6 forks to the left and travels in a southeasterly direction. To get to the town square one must take that left fork or else the town will disappear in a blurp.

The town is a pretty town of about six square blocks, two which are on the historic district. A Billy the Kid Museum is in town, across from the 1879 Masonic Temple, next door to the Lilly Inn and a few gift shops along the row. Green historical signs inform the tourist about small tidbits about the Texas Kid, who most likely was a man who looked like Billy the Kid and who made his living playing the character. This Texas version died in 1950, much later than the real Kid.

The town was ready to shut down when I came through. It was ten minutes to 5pm and the setting sun was shining her last hour of light on the buildings, coating them in a deep gold. The sky was still blue but the shadows were deep. There was little wind, little noise. A few visitors left a gift shop as I walked by. The owner of the shop followed the tourists out to shutter her windows.

Although small and perhaps marketing on a fake, still, Hico was nicely laid out. There were no blaring neon signs overhead like in Fort Worth's Stockyard District, no fake actors pretending to be something they were not. If I had had a few more hours to play with, I would have enjoyed dining somewhere or sitting at a bar talking to locals. Perhaps everyone was getting ready for the Super Bowl.

Hamilton followed 20 miles further south, looking much like I saw it yesterday. The last of the day's light streamed weakly over the horizon. By the time I drove through Evant the sun was gone and so was everyone in town. The Event Cafe was dark and the parking lot empty. At night the town, despite its location on Highways 84 and 281, looked scary.

I made it back to Lampasas after 6pm, gassed at the same Valero I gassed at yesterday, and drove the final 22 miles in darkness, listening to yet another repeat of the presidential debates from last week. (How many more times will I hear Romney take swipes at McCain?)

I was hungry but didn't stop to eat anywhere. The only place I stopped at was at the town's WalMart to get an Anti-Virus program for both laptops; both have been performing at below their ideal speed. Both did come up positive for four spyware programs each.

It wasn't until after 9pm that I learned that the Giants won the Super Bowl. I did not see one second of the game, did not laugh at one commercial featuring talking frogs, dogs, horses or squirrels, did not pig out on munchies nor touch an ounce of alcohol. And even though the game sounded tense the entire time, with a final score of 17-14 for the Giants, for me this year's Super Bowl was a Non-Game.

It was still very mild tonight, but the 10pm news is now forecasting rain for tomorrow, after we reach perhaps a record of 80 degrees. The movers will be by tomorrow. I hope they come early so that I can finish all my errands tomorrow.

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