Texas My Texas

My sister and I took a wrong turn on our way from church that Sunday morning.

The reunion was over and we were on our way to Dallas.

Instead of heading towards Dallas, we were headed towards Oklahoma.


When we realized our mistake, we took a U-turn on the highway (you can do those kind of things in small town Texas), and headed back south.

When we recognized the upcoming exit (well not really an exit, more like a intersection, again something that happens in small town Texas) that runs by the site on which our school once stood, we turned right to take a look-see.

They have since razed that old building and replaced it with a new building for a middle school.

It is now the Terrell Middle School, but the site still screams out to me, “I am Terrell Jr./Sr. High School.”

When we turned down a side street and looked to the left, there they were!

The new building is further away from them than our building was back in the day.

But there they were!

The old steps that had led up to Terrell Jr./Sr. High School.

They did not demolish those steps!

I hear you.

“What is the big deal? Those are just old concrete steps.”

You are correct, just old concrete steps.

There is nothing really exciting about those steps, except for one thing.

They bear the weight of many wonderful, many precious memories.

Tardy band students ran up those steps, doing their best to get to the 7:30 a.m. practice on time.

Early morning boys and girls ran up those steps doing their best to get to their classrooms before the second bell rang.

Afternoon freed students excitedly and delightedly ran down those steps at the close of each school day.

Laughing girls and boys ran down those steps to waiting yellow school buses in which they rode, uniformed and padded, to the football stadium for home football games.

They ran down those steps to ride, elegantly dressed in suits and tulle gowns, to ride to proms in other cities.

They ran down those steps looking forward to riding to away football games with winning touchdowns in view.

They ran down those steps in anticipation of rides to band concerts in the auditoriums of Terrell and Greenville and Denton and Paris (Texas, not France) and other parts of the state.

They ran down those steps to joyfully ride to Prairie View A & M, dreaming of wins at the state Interscholastic League state competitions.

We sat on those steps, back in those days, pretty young girls and preening young boys, who laughed and talked and played the dozens before school and after school and during lunch breaks and maybe even spoke of tomorrow dreams.

Every school day, for six years, we walked up those steps to a building full of hope and challenge and laughter and tears and encouragement and excellence and defeat and joy and sorrow and preparation during a time when we were not sure if change would ever come.

“Mother to Son” by Langston Hughes

Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor —
But all the time
I’se been a-climbin’ on,
And reachin’ landin’s,
And turnin’ corners,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark
Where there ain’t been no light.
So boy, don’t you turn back.
Don’t you set down on the steps
‘Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
Don’t you fall now —
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

Yeah, just some old concrete steps.



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