Ghost Town

Music by the Specials

    Ghost Town

There’s away more to it than that.

I was in line to check out, my wee Scorpio mum set me afoot to fetch some breakfast pastries. Whole Foods.

An Austin original, and one place, in most parts of the country, certainly Austin and San Antonio, I’m at home. In the past, I’ve always assumed that there is an ink requirement to work at places like Whole Foods. Austin, San Antonio, I just notice, there’s a lot of visible ink — colorful, imaginative, tribal, herbal, flowery. Carp-like in at least two instances that I’ve seen.

Good tattoos, even bad ones, I like because I can usually discern astrological data woven in the patterns. It’s not brain science, or rocket surgery.

So with shock and dismay, I tooled around the Whole Foods on a cosmic breakfast pastry mission, stunned by the lack of ink.

Not what I was thinking about, though, and not the Ghost Town reference.

I’ve lived and worked, longest in Austin, now in San Antonio, and for almost two decades, I’ve held down a regular schedule in El Paso, as well. Austin is a young town, but both El Paso and San Antonio can claim to be “the Most Haunted City in America.” Certainly in Texas, at least, for most.

Dallas haunts me the most. I can easily traverse the hallowed ground that is the Alamo, say “Hello” to the ghosts of our forefathers, nod and feel the cool, wraith-like zephyrs, and not get spooked.

Despite the screams of the rebel Texicans, the town that holds even more chilling spirits is probably El Paso. One fellow I worked alongside, he has a series of books about El Paso’s ghosts and haunted places. Historically, the Rio Grande valley through these is one of the oldest inhabited spots in North, or Central, America, and as such, should hold the most ghosts.

For me, though all of that haunting goes by the wayside in Dallas. That town holds the most ghosts for me.

Recently, two friends from the distant past tapped me on FB. Looking at them, I realize we’re all a lot older now. The ghosts in Dallas, they are people that I might run into, say, in the grocery store.

As that idea turned itself over in my mind, though, I had to think about it another way, that those friends, enemies, whatever they were — or are now — that I doubt I’d run into them in the grocery store. I might happen upon their children, though.

The ghosts along Austin 6th Street, or the old red-light district (now city hall), that really isn’t scary. The haunting that gave “Woman Hollering Creek” its name? Or the water wraiths that are still visible before the sun comes up, along the Riverwalk? The souls of the defenders of the Alamo?

None of that is as scary as the recent past in Dallas.

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