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A visit to the rodeo only goes to prove it's a small world
FORT WORTH and Dallas are almost on top of one another so we drove across to Dallas and visited Dealey Plaza. It doesn’t matter how familiar you are with the Kennedy Assassination, being there is something else.
Ellie could cheerfully have missed it, given the choice, but came along to help with directions and ended up fascinated by the museum in the Book Depository, the sniper’s lair, all glassed off and preserved with packing cases in position and window open.
I remember heading up towards The Cock, Sarratt, when the news came through that Friday evening in November 1963. Later we heard that he had died. Things are garbled on such occasions and initially we heard he was “out riding” which involved the image of a man on a horse being shot by someone hiding behind a tree.
As you do, we reflected a bit as the true facts hit home and then ordered another beer.
That was almost 50 years ago, but I felt quite sad watching it unfold in the museum via the old newsreel footages of his being elected and subsequent presidency, recalling the dreams we all had, not because of Kennedy but because we were young and it was “a new frontier” for us all.
As the man said at the time, the answer was blowing in the wind and he confirmed it the next year by announcing the times are a-changin’. And we believed we would make a difference and the irony is that we were certain we could.
Quite a sobering experience. In 2003, 70 per cent of American questioned were positive Lee H Oswald had not acted alone. I’m with them and spent some time studying the Grassy Knoll, which is far closer and whole area far more intimate than you imagine.
Whatever actually happened, the Warren Commission “investigation” which laid the blame at LHO’s door, has since been found totally inadequate by subsequent Congress and individual investigations. They could well have got the verdict right but the commission was so limited and unprofessional in many ways, it was almost as if they deliberately left room for conspiracy theories to flourish.
One thing we did see blowing in the wind was a de-feathered dead duck attached to the rear of a municipal lorry in Dallas for reasons unknown. Just dangling there: the sort of indulgence one would have expected to see in New Orleans We went back to the Stockyards in Fort Worth for a Rodeo.
One thing I forgot in passing when we were reflecting on the trip so far and the subject came up, we actually saw Baton Rouge. We always kinda hankered to see it. It seemed such an unusual name for a city or town, but we crossed the river and saw it just after leaving New Orleans.
We looked hard but we could not see any stakes in the ground with red feathers attached to them but I suppose the Indians’ method of marking the edge of their territory over 450 years ago is long forgotten. Not, however those stakes and red feathers; hence we have Baton Rouge, The native American Indians had adapted to horses extremely well since the animal was introduced to the continent by the Spanish is the 16th century. The horse prompted the Indians to roam further afield, clash with other tribes and change old habits.
The Spanish also introduced Andalusian cattle to the continent and this resulted in the development of long-horn cattle, and are those horns long.
The stockyards used to have 100,000 head of livestock corralled regularly in the days “when cattle was king”. The whole area is well done, retaining much of the original fabric.
The Rodeo was an interesting experience and glad we have seen it live: bull-riding, lassoing and tricks with ropes and such. There were quite a few among the audience that one could picture living in trailers. In fact there is a White Trash Cookbook out in the shops . . .
We did a tour of a large Barnes and Noble bookstore but managed to keep purchases down to the minimum. The Sundance centre of Fort Worth is very attractive, with Christmas-type lights at night – understated but very pleasant with a nice ambience, water features and music. For a city of 700,000, justly they can be proud of creating real charm downtown.
I would not go back because we have done it, but I would recommend the Fort Worth experience to everyone We called in at a bar before the rodeo and heard a fine singer-guitarist knock out some ‘toons’. Two people came and sat next to us: they had just come up from San Antonio earlier in the week, as did we. What a co-incidence!
However, we then discovered they live in Warwickshire: she was educated at St Margaret’s, Bushey, and studied at Aylesbury College, just down the road from Aylesbury High where Ellie attended school. She went for physiotherapy, Ellie for nursing.
Dang me, it’s a small world.