Weather was decent, so I took a short ride around Calallen earlier this week.
I had my first pit stop at the famous Labonte Park. We used to call it Nueces River Park before the Labonte boys (Terry and Bobby) became famous race car drivers. Or at least before the city muckety mucks decided to get some exposure for Corpus. Not that I blame them.
I used to attend sunrise services on Easter with my mom and brothers when we were growing up. Nothing was much worse for a 10-year-old kid to have to get up even earlier than usual on a Sunday to hear the same boring sermon by the Nueces River. But the sunrise was beautiful.
I’ve done some very casual fishing in the Nueces in this park. I say “very casual” because I never really expected to catch anything. I’ve earnestly tried to like fishing, but I can’t seem to find the same passion for it that my brothers have. We did nab some fresh water crabs there when we were kids. Never underestimate the effectiveness of a stick, some string, a hotdog and the determination of a few young men hellbent on pulling up some crabs.
I remember, back in July of ’07, driving by this park on the day Lacey and I found out we were going to be parents. The damn place was flooded all the way up to the soccer fields. You couldn’t even exit onto the park from the interstate.
I had a cigar, contemplated some shit, and got back on the road.
I stopped, briefly, in front of Southfork Apartments.
I moved into one of the apartments with my buddies, Ryan and Zack, back in the summer of ’03. Number 410. Damn, that place was a smelly rathole, but it was the first taste of adulthood for each of us. And, in case you were wondering, yes, we had a shit ton of parties there. I remember Ryan puking by the AC unit of the apartment directly downstairs from us. I remember our cat, FUBAR. And the time I got piss drunk and let Ryan tattoo me. No, you can’t see it.
We had a neighbor next to us, Janie (I believe), who was very sweet. She was in her 40s or 50s and would come out to the balcony to shoot the shit with us. We were young and dumb, and frequently sun burned, and she let us cut off leaves from her aloe plants whenever we needed to. Janie passed away a few years ago.
I moved out after three months. Mainly because my mom was living at a different apartment complex and needed help with the bills.
Southfork is also the same complex where Lacey and I lived when we first got married. Number 402. We lived there for two years. I had my bachelor party there, too.
Bachelor Party Highlights
- Being slapped across the face by one of my brothers.
- Having one of my brothers try to convince me not to get married. We were outside and I had to piss. He followed me to the fence where I was peeing and said, “I don’t even care if I see your dick, man. I gotta tell you some stuff.”
- Trying–and hopelessly failing–to beat someone at “Halo.”
- The guy who worked at Hollywood Video showed up. Didn’t know his name, just remember his distinctive glasses.
- After everyone left, I searched frantically for Lacey’s cat because the door had been left open for the duration of the party. He was hiding under the bed, somewhat petrified.
Then I stopped to get a pic of the sign outside the nearby Baptist church.
I took this pic because it reminded me of a time when my faith in god was in question. It was 2003 and I was walking home to the apartment from work. I declined a ride home because I needed time to think. To pray (one of the few times I did so in earnest). That day, I saw on the Calallen Baptist Church sign the following words, “Jesus Saves.” As I contemplated the issue that was weighing so heavily on me, I wondered, does Jesus save? Can he save anyone, or anything? I came to the conclusion that no, Jesus cannot save. He didn’t save the person I wanted him to. Now, I’m not saying that I don’t believe Jesus saves simply because he didn’t save the person I had in mind. I just believe that god (or the gods) isn’t as concerned or involved in our lives like we think, or would like, god to be.
The second part of this story is the part that Ryan and Janae like to give me a good ribbing over. And rightly so. I was home in an apartment shared by three dudes. A fridge with week-old Cicis pizza and a lot of beer. I was trying to decide: should I drown my sorrows in beer, or should I suppress my emotions with shitty pizza? So I made a decision. Beer. Beer was my decision. And I drank all of it. Every last drop. And it was a the kind of beer I wouldn’t even pour on a fire, that’s how much I hate it today. Rhymes with Miller Lite. Ryan had filled in for me that night and came home pretty exhausted. I sat, drunkenly on the recliner, and watched him walk across our filthy living room toward the kitchen.
“Hey man,” I said. “You want a beer?”
“Sure do. Work fuckin’ sucked tonight.”
“Too bad!! I drank it all! All of it!” Cackling.
Now look, I am not in the business of talking about faith. It was one of the main reasons I gave up on the Baptist church. I disagree with the notion that you need to “convert” someone to your faith. My faith is my own. So is yours. On the rare occasion I share my views, I don’t mean to offend. But I won’t apologize, either.
One day, we can talk more about it, if I’m feeling like it. For now, you should know that I believe that me and the lord (whomever he/she/it/they) is/are have an understanding.