I spent 8 years in Bristol, TX from age 3 till almost age 12. In that short period of time I saw events, experienced living, and felt painful emotions that would shape my personality and affect my soul the rest of my life.
Bristol at times was a lawless vestige of the American west replete with requisite dark characters whose sole purpose seemed to be the torment of me or someone in my family. At other times Bristol was the church and the study for my grandfather, the embodiment of Christ on earth as far as I was concerned and the steadfast calm in a tumultuous life.
This duality existed in microcosm in a town of 500 inhabitants and distances large for a 7 year-old on a bike were in reality minuscule to the distances I have gone since to distance myself from someplace I could never fully embrace.
I returned to Bristol yesterday to find memories more vivid than I could have imagined, life more vibrant than I remembered, and death all too real for some that I knew. When I drove through Sugar Ridge and caught the hilly views all the way to Dallas I knew that the imagery of my youth was stronger than ever in my mind and that the stories from "home" were no longer a choice, but a necessity to share.
Today, I bring you images of my past and some related commentary. If you look closely you may be able to imagine that 7 year-old on his bike with a Sears tape player hanging from the handlebars tooting a little Supertramp in low-fi.
During my time in this house the Car-Port (now enclosed) was set ablaze by a wannabe hero. The front yard was set ablaze by errant pyrotechnics, and a posse of trouble-seekers was shooed away at rifle-point by my father.
My father and Grandfather owned this ARCO Station when I was a kid. The school bus would let me off at this corner and I would always go into the shop and get a Tom's Snack (usually a Brownie or Pecan Pie) and a soda from sliding doors of the soda cooler. I was fond of Grape, Root Beer, and Coca-Cola.
Note the empty shell of the ARCO sign above still standing as it has for over 35 years. The white sign was from the last failed tenant of the spot.
Juliet and I walked the cemetery yesterday and I felt the same beautiful isolation I felt as a child. This place is a monument to catharsis.
Nice shoulders buddy, but absolutely NO ass
I was so moved by my day in Bristol that when we saw a plot of land for sale on Sugar Ridge, I almost called the number to inquire the price. I cannot imagine the reaction of my family if we eventually returned to settle in Bristol. Never say never.