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TYLER, Texas — A friend who lives in Chicago — originally from Terrell, Texas — just texted me as she was passing through “lovely Mesquite” … as a passenger, not the driver.  She and her husband are in the state for the Christmas holiday, visiting relatives and friends.

flash-fpoFor some reason — perhaps Christmas season memories were jogged a bit — I remembered the time my mother and I were in the now closed Albertsons grocery store near US 80.  I was planning to cook Christmas Eve dinner for the family and I wanted to do something special.  This was the closest “major” grocery store to Terrell, about 20 miles to the east, and we were hoping to avoid the Christmas traffic in Dallas.

For the record, Mesquite is a nice town.  It is a Dallas suburb. It is known for its rodeo, producing some pretty good high school football players, and the fact that its citizens have consistently elected not to participate in Dallas Area Mass Transit — buses or trains.  Today, the city is changing for the good, but in the late 1990s, this was a solidly blue collar, conservative town, and proud of it.  Lots of churches and no liquor stores.

When I asked the young butcher if he could order me a chateaubriand for Christmas Eve, he slowly shook his head and explained, “Naw, I‘m sorry sir but this is a ‘dry’ city.  I’m just a butcher but I know I can’t sell that here.”

And so it goes… that is the nice thing about memories.  They can be entertaining and do not cost much the second or third time around.