Sunday, September 17, 2017

They Called Him the Streak

I come from an agricultural family.  Not many of us live out on the farm any more but at one time I had relatives scattered all over Delta County, Texas.  Delta County is the nest to smallest Texas county as far as acreage goes.  Triangular in shape, it's borders are made up of the south and and north branches of the Sulphur River on the north and south and by HWY 904 to the west, aka County Line Road.  The events of this story took place on FM 1532 which starts on 904 and goes pretty much straight east toward Cooper.  I confess that I had to look up these road numbers as no one ever uses them.  Instead we would identify a road or location by a nearby landmark or by the names of people or tiny settlements of maybe a couple of houses and a church or store that were located along the road.

There are very few straight roads in the area of northeast Texas where I grew up but 904 and 1532 are exceptions as is FM 64 which will come into play later.  My aunt and uncle lived about 3 miles or so east of 904 on 1532.  By the 80s when this all took place, there was only one other occupied house in their vicinity.  By then, my uncle had a day job as most farmers did and continue to do.  He had a long commute so my aunt was at home alone a lot of the time.  She has rheumatoid arthritis and a tendency to gain weight so a daily walk was part of her routine.  Their house was up on a hill in the middle of cultivated land with no trees for cover.  You could see a long way from it.  Looking to the east, you could see an old banister bridge down the hill.  It was to this bridge that she liked to walk.  She usually carried a rolled up newspaper to swat at flies or anything else that needed swatting.

One day as she was getting fairly close to the bridge, a car passed by her.  She didn't recognize the care but thought nothing of it.  The care went just over the hill, turned around and passed her again.  She thought that was odd but there are at least 3 roads that head east off of 904.  Maybe the driver had taken the wrong one.  I don't know if she heard the car turn around again and stop behind her but she heard the footsteps of the driver as he ran toward her.  Turning she was faced with a young man heading toward her at full speed wearing nothing but a pair of tennis shoes.  Without thinking, she ran at him swinging her rolled up newspaper.   Not expecting to be confronted in that way, he ran back to his car, jumped in and took off.

About the time he was out of sight, may dad happened to drive up. Seeing my aunt standing in the middle of the road visibly upset, he stopped.  Upon hearing what had happened, he told her to get in and they took off in hot pursuit.  Dad was driving that old farm truck for all it was worth.  It had probably never moved that fast in its entire existence. The tool box attached to the bed next to the cab contained all manner of implements of destruction and construction which must have been rattling around something awful.

Before long they had the Volkswagen Golf in their sights.  When the driver wouldn't stop, Dad rammed him a couple of times until he ended up in a ditch.  Opening the toolbox, Dad grabbed his hammer before approaching the Golf and dragging the driver out.  Keep in mind that said driver had had no chance to clothe himself and my dad didn't give him one.  They made him get in the back of the truck just like he was while begging not to be hit with the hammer.  Then they proceeded to drive him to the local cop shop in the county seat of Cooper.

I never heard what became of the guy my family called the Streaker but I'm pretty sure he didn't show his face or his short comings in Delta County, Texas after that.  I'm also glad that my aunt was able to scare him by charging at him with nothing but a rolled up newspaper.  You really shouldn't mess with members of my family.  Once they open a can of Texas whoop ass you are screwed.

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Saturday, September 16, 2017

A year in Costa Rica

So now we have been in Costa Rica for a year more or less.  We spent the summer of 2016 traveling around the north part of the country and came back to the area where we started.  We rented a condo here for about a week before I had to be back in Austin for medical appointments.  Before we left we rented a condo on the beach for 6 months, October through March.  I'm glad I had the experience of living right on the beach but it isn't something I have to do again.  It wasn't a quiet place at all.  Lots of people vacation on the beach and when one is on vacation, one tends to do things, loud things, that one might never consider doing at home.

In March we moved into a lovely but small place owned by a lovely couple from Canada.  Things went well until mid April when construction began on the house next door.  By next door, I mean 15 feet from our bedroom window.  By began I mean starting before 7:30 am and continuing until at least 5pm, sometimes later.  If were were out of the house all day, it might not have been such a problem but as it was, we had to get out of there.  It took until July to find our current place, again owned by a man from Canada.  Like every other place we've lived or stayed here, it has been lived in or rented short term and we have had to buy a lot of things that we need for day to day functioning.  In the past year we have bought pots and pans,  dishes and drink ware, kitchen gadgets of various types, sheets and other bedding, a few but not many home decor items such as lamps.  We brought our own cutlery and flatware as well as towels and some bedding.  We are planning to bring more lamps (they are hard to find and very expensive here),  a few kitchen things that I haven't been able to find here, spices and other impossible to find food items, and a few other odds and ends for the car and house.  I mention this to let anyone who is thinking about moving to Costa Rica or another country to let you know that you may not find all the comforts of home.

We are now living in the jungle about 3 to 4 blocks from the beach.  I wish I could walk there but haven't felt strong enough yet.  We can sometimes hear the waves on still quiet nights if they are crashing very loudly.  We are in the last couple of months of the rainy season as I write this.  The mosquitos are starting to get worse.  We will be in the states during most of October and probably part of November trying to avoid them.  However, Hurricane Harvey dumped so much rain on Texas that I think they may be pretty bad there, too.

It will turn hot and dry here starting around Thanksgiving unless there is another unusual event such as Hurricane Otto last year.  Otto was the first hurricane ever recorded to come even close to Costa Rica.  It smashed into the Caribbean side where Costa Rica meets Nicaragua causing a lot of flooding and other damage but crossed over the mountains before it got to us up here in the northwest part of the country.  By the time it got to us, it was some fairly high winds and a lot of rain but not enough to cause flooding which had been the fear.  Since it was moving away from us, we didn't get a storm surge.  All together, we got off pretty lucky.  I have now experienced a hurricane, an earth quake, and various tornado producing storms.  I think that's about enough for one life time although I have to say that the quake was over before we realized what it was.

Photos: Top radon beach shot
Bottom: Lake Arenal

Soundtrack for this post:  Changes in Latitude