Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Taking Cover- Stranger Beginnings
Like all the hot summer days here you either go to a local pond, lake, stream or public swimming pool to escape the blistering sun. If that was not a choice you kept plenty of beer on ice in a bucket that was not too far away from your side. You could spend your late evenings working and sleeping the days away. Growing up in the south you might see the longest extension cord and plug in a clattering fan. I had one sitting over on an old wooden fruit crate, so that at least when I felt the air hit my skin it was like a cool breeze bringing in a very short winter spell. This rag ass town had no luxuries like a pool. There were other things that kept me here for so long.
Each place along the Texas trail seemed the same as the next, but this town was full of history and had plenty of mystery. Spanish Fort, Texas, est: 1753; population 1000. Nearly half of this number is on the local funeral homes waiting list for the only graveyard for about fifty miles outside of town. Guess I was looking for a place to hide out for a while, and this is the kind of place where you might see someone chasing after you, and you can make it out the back door before they can get to you. That is if you are looking for Robert Monroe Casey. I am forty one years old and getting to old to run from my ghosts. I am pretty sure no one else wants me enough to hunt me down. My family heritage is mostly of Irish decent, but I have always been intrigued by Indian history. Spanish Fort has plenty of that in its culture, people and old stories.
You could say I own a piece of this town. Whitney let me rebuild and work in the shop, so he left me everything when he died. The house faces a back street and the garage faces the old highway into town. I use the garage as my business now. I repair motorcycles and what ever else comes down through town.
Locals tell stories about the people that occupied this land back in 1753. The Taovaya Indians settled this territory to escape being put into reservations near the bad lands of the Dakotas. Most of them also had been driven south from lands as far away as Nebraska by the Osage and Comanche who did not want to share hunting grounds such as the white fathers who slowly occupied and pillaged their lands up north. These people during that time gave the Spanish more trouble than anyone by participating in raids but soon found farming as a quiet way of life. The Taovaya people eventually chose the Red River for their final stand before disappearing into the white mans world. Only the French soldiers that passed this way traded with this peaceful tribe; until only a handful remained to have their bloodline still flow.
My mother once told me how she over heard her parents speak of family secrets. Of how they had ties to other Native Americans on both her mother and father. Her father had told her of one grandmother being kidnapped by a mid-west Comanche tribe during a raid and was forced to marry, have children, until she and their offspring were rescued by soldiers. They were all brought back to Texas. You could look right into old photographs and see the eyes and facial structure of that warrior staring straight back at you. As far as her grandmother, she was really French-Indian, or maybe even Creole. Except for the dark complexion in the family photos and funny accents of relatives I met when I was a small.
I consider myself of pure Irish heritage, from both my mother and fathers side in spite of our small native blood mixed in. I feel the strong ties to Ireland canceled out any chance of taking a share or profit in the gambling that goes on in Oklahoma or Louisiana casinos around the Texas borders. My average good looks and husky frame of five feet and eight inches tall, dark blond hair that is straight as a mule’s coat helps me blend in most places I have blended in the past twenty or so years, or at least I have been told by little Maria. She also said my eyes are brown like the Red River that runs through town and my skin is dirty white like the recycled paper she draws on in the back yard. She is a wild little savage and I will introduce you to her later. I keep to myself most of the time but I am not quiet. I have never been married or sure I ever want to be. I guess I just have not met that right person yet.
My attitude about that institution of marriage came from my parents who never divorced. They separated when I was thirteen. My father known as Patrick J. Roberts lives in Texas somewhere close to our old house. I have not spoken with him since I turned twenty one, but kept in touch with my aunt now and then. He was always the strong arm that had a bible in one hand and a two by four in the other. You could say we do not get along. I do not believe in what he preaches, nor ever feel we could see eye to eye on most things. I have not seen them in all these years either, nor have cared to.
My mother, Kathleen Elizabeth Casey, well she took off and left me with my dad and I have not thought much about her. All I remember is the last time I saw her she was packing her old red beat up car. Mom had always been tough until things around here feel apart. She had enough of the life my dad allowed us to live. Nor could she move on from depression resulting from the death of my sister, Diane. My sister died from a heart problem she was born with. My dad let the phone company disconnect our line after mom left and never really cared for the necessities of life. I figured he just did not want mom to ever call again. He was stubborn, cheap, and narcissistic. She was right to leave him all those years ago. Seemed like no one really noticed or seemed to care that I suffered. I considered sister my best friend and she left me in the shit hole we called home. I just hear stories about how big Dallas has grown from truckers that pass through now and then.
Dallas, the big city of Texas is where most of my family still lives. I have heard that it has built up so much they call it a concrete jungle. No farm land or cattle ranches exist within fifty miles of my home town. They all sold out to developers and big cookie cutter mansions starting rising up like corn in the spring. My mom home schooled my sister and I until Diane, my sister was too sick to continue. She knew me and just let me do what I could get through as far as studies went. So when my dad, Joseph was the name he went by, re-enrolled me back into junior high I spent most of my time getting high and skipping classes.
Once I turned seventeen I quit school and took off. I got my diploma on the road, and bought a motorcycle while traveling all over Texas and surrounding states. Taking odd jobs I had enrolled in a course for mechanics. In order for me to attend they needed proof that I attended school and had graduated. I found a local college offered courses for the GED, so after taking the class I took the state test. Once I finished my college and decided to move on. One day I would own my own motorcycle shop and that is pretty much how I settled here in this sleepy town.