Iíve been spending the last few days with my BFF Sharon Cook (we call her Cookie) Dankworth, from Phoenix, Arizona.
I havenít spent very much time with Cookie in the last 30 years except when I went through Phoenix on that once-every-ten-year auto trip to Los Angeles. I would stop by Phoenix and weíd meet for lunch/dinner--even spent the night once 10 years ago.
Then every five years at our high school reunion we renew old friendships with each other and about 300 other former classmates.
My sonís wedding in Las Vegas; a trip to the art show in Laguna Beach a couple of years ago; and then last year, she retired. That meant she could now spend a month at a time in Texas so that necessitated our meet in New Braunfels (about halfway between Ballinger and Houston).
But this trip of hers to Houston is a first, and Iíve had fun showing her from Margotís beach house in Galveston, to the Hindu temple in Stafford, to the McMansions in Sweetwater.
Itís a long time since high school, but itís strange how the easy camaraderie returns and you feel at ease with each other quickly.
Fortunately, Cookie and I like the same people as she has met almost all my friends over the years and can put a face to stories I tell her.
We tell husband stories--her one, my three. I graduated from high school with her husband so I know him also. I donít think he trusts me and probably thinks, rightfully so, that I might lead his wife astray. I think he hates it that I call her a diminutive of her last name,
Cookie, thereby snubbing his Dankworth moniker.
One of Cookieís high school beaus lives in Houston also and has ties to Fort Bend. Ken Fuqua, brother of Fort Bend home builder Steve Fuqua, is having lunch with us tomorrow before Cookieís return to Ballinger then on to Phoenix.
Kenneth claims to this day that Cookie and all the other Ballinger girls were nice, malleable, sweet, pure girls, until I moved in from the ranch at Norton and taught them all how to cuss, smoke, and sass.
He certainly never trusted me. I donít understand why boyfriends, husbands, etc. of friends, cousins, always were nervous when their respective significant others went places with me.
I donít understand why they thought I was going to corrupt them. I guess I might have encouraged them to stand up for themselves, not put up with any BS, and question everything! Now why would that make anyone nervous is beyond me.
But back to Cookie: next year we will be graduated from high school for 50 years. I think it is strange what we remember about various friends and what we donít remember. This trip Cookie told me things about some of our friends, innocent things like who had a lisp, etc. that I
just donít remember. I either never noticed it, or I have forgotten it.
We remember the friendís mother who always told her daughter, ďWatch out for the clouds, Marsha.Ē Marsha died of leukemia the year I started the newspaper so clouds were the least of her worries. Marshaís twin brother Michael, who later became county judge (whoíd think it) told me
he grieved for her every day of his life. Her death and Cookieís move away took the joy of visiting Ballinger from me.
But Cookie still loves to spend time in Ballinger. Her mother is still alive and her brother still lives there.
I think you people in Fort Bend who grew up here and can continue to live here because you can work and make a living here are so lucky. You donít realize what treasures you have-- to be surrounded by loving family and familiar friends and places you know like the back of your
hand. Even the smells are the same.
I had to leave Ballinger after high school because I couldnít stay there and make a career
since I didnít exactly want to run my Daddyís ranch or my Motherís beauty shop.
Well, Iíve rambled all over the place with this column this week. Iíve really enjoyed Cookie, and weíll probably have to gang up on Kenneth at lunch tomorrow when he gets smarty.
Canít close without some pithy politics...So Jimmy Thompson is the new mayor of Sugar Land. Iím sorry, but I just couldnít get too excited about the race this year. We havenít seen hide nor hair of Jimmy since he left council several years ago until he showed up and wanted
to be mayor.
Daniel Wong hasnít shown me a whole lot since heís been on council and he (or some of his supporters) ran such an xenophobic campaign. Plus, sometimes I just didnít think Daniel got it.
In any event, I think the city staff pretty much runs the city and the mayor, unless heís a complete jerk (hint, hint--you know who I mean) doesnít have much impact.
But I think you are going to see a much different regime with Jimmy Thompson than David Wallace.
David was there at every event. If a tree blew down in your yard, he was there to try to right it. So much energy and so much enthusiasm. Iím not sure Jimmy wants to get that involved.