All Saints’ Days

Some days, I can’t get worked up about the holiday. This would be one of those times. Not enough to make it worthwhile, not for me.

Now serving breakfast:
It’s a sign, I saw it along the highway, when I dashed down for fishing last Sunday.

“Now serving breakfast!”

It’s a local chain, and the idea that the lunch counter was going to hop on the breakfast taco wagon, or breakfast taco cart be more apt, probably made good sense. I was k=just tickled and thought it wold make a good advertising tag line for me, “Now serving breakfast!”

There were other signs, too, that meant a lot. Carried meaning for me. The whole germ, the point, the spark, the genesis of the idea, that moment when the magic happens? I crossed that line, twice on Sunday. In the dark, headed south, speeding along in a tiny car. Atascosa County – the sign, faintly visible as the last vestige of the final crescent moon was rising. Before dawn, the five AM roll out for fishing. Right before the sun came up, Mercury was visible as a bright spark following the moon. Or the moon had her horns turned away from Mercury, at the time. “Entering San Antonio,” then, “Leaving San Antonio,” and the Atascosa County Line, followed by Brush Pen Hollow Creek, some place further down the line.

The day fishing didn’t start well, and the effects of McDonald’s road food – chicken biscuit breakfast taco – and then, a disheartening morning of fishing? One stingray and one tiny Red. I was fumbling for the camera when the little guy slipped back into the water. I was going to put him back, I just wanted a picture of me with some kind of a fish.

As the linked images do suggest, though, the tide turned, the luck changed, and the fun continued. Reds (Red Drum), that Lady Fish, sting rays, hard heads, couple of undersized trout. I did mention that this was the very same cut where I caught a monster trout last year. No luck this year. It was especially important to me because the guide gave me a couple of pictures of me with that trout. That was one of the pictures I found framed on my dad’s desk.

The other salient image, as I was hurrying homeward, I was hoping to catch the Bexar County Line sign at sunset. While I scooted under some coastal clouds, by the time I made it to that sign, it was too dark for pictures.

However, it’s that very sign that started the whole process. Coming up from the Gulf Coast, that sign indicated I was back on high ground. If a really big wave surged out of the gulf? That’s where the beach would be. There’s more to it than just that, as well. The name came before there was an America as we know and recognize it today. Makes so a name harkens back to a time when men were men, and the cattle was scared.

There are really two version of that sign. The one that’s most important to me is that one on the south side, in the little 120-mile stub of Interstate that runs to (the port of) Corpus Christi. It’s been etched in my memory for as long as I can recall. Some kind of a turning point. Symbolic of beach travel. I guess.

The other version of the sign, it’s on Interstate 35, headed south from Austin, into the thriving, sprawling land of San Antonio. Austin is new, hip, cool, crowded. San Antonio is old, sun-faded, sprawling, laconic, lazy, and there’s always something cooking. That’s not metaphorical. Hot griddle, grease, pig parts, BBQ, bakeries by the scores. Kolaches, some kind of Eastern European roll with something in it? Yeah, the local version? Jalapeno Sausage Kolache.

That’s the inspiration.

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  • ssmith04 Oct 31, 2008 @ 16:38

    There are two signs, for me, demarcations of two parts of my life.
    The first showed up in a dust storm on the interstate coming south from the Central Valley (Bakersfield, Fresno and so forth). Out in the middle of the desert, in the middle of nowhere, plunked down in a jumble of boulders was the sign proclaiming, “Los Angeles City limits” — and not a building in sight. Just the open road, scrub, and dust. For a city of several million, home to media stars and crazy politicians. It was weird.

    The other sign was the one in Connecticut, where the dirt road from our farm intersected Route 1, which runs north and south along the eastern coast. The sign read, “Pomfret Center Pop. 354”. I often wondered if they had counted the livestock as well as the people when they enumerated our village. We had 50 acres out on the edges of town, right alongside a game preserve, where every autumn some idiot took a shot at me or my horse or both. Winston Churchill once said, “There is nothing so exhilarating as to be shot at and missed.” He was right. And it’s the only time I have truly lost my temper. I would have killed the hunters with my bare hands if I had been taller than 4’11” and weighed more than 100 lbs, I’m sure I would. As it was, I scared them half to death in my fury.

    Some stuff you never forget.