Before I left Austin, I had lunch with a fellow author who agreed to be photographed next to my car. (I am sure you are getting tired of seeing the poor old vehicle, but it’s become a symbol of this trip.) Despite his glowing accounts of all the beautiful places to see in Texas, I ignored his advice and took a side road through the town of Bertram instead . . . just because. Then I continued to Stephenville, where I got a motel room that looked like a leftover from the nineteen fifties. (I seem to have more of an affinity for the old single story motels than I do the modern ones.) I’d planned to check out the dinosaur footprints in Dinosaur Valley State Park, but rain and heavy fog kept me on the main road.
I arrived at Weatherford, Texas in the early afternoon. I met my friend, a delightful woman and a gracious (and generous) hostess. Her place is in the city, but seems more like a country retreat. Deer frequent her wooded areas, and cardinals stop to snack at her feeders. (I’d never seen a cardinal before. Such a lovely bird!) We talked for a while to get acquainted (we’d met online because of my grief book and blogs), and then took a drive around town.
For a town this size, there seems to be an inordinate number of historic homes, though my research has yet to tell me why so many wealthy folk congregated here. Similar houses in Denver had often been built by newly rich miners and robber barons, but why in Weatherford? Another oddity is that there is an echo in the back of my head, as if I once knew something about the town, but I can’t think of any book I could have read that took place here.
I will be here a few more days, visiting my friend and waiting out the rainstorms, so maybe I will solve this little mystery. If not, the town will probably slip into the recesses of memory where all the other things I have seen but not recorded reside. (Much of a journey like this is ephemeral. Scenes pass out of sight quickly, even when one drives at a relatively sedate 55 mph, so they don’t have a chance to filter down to long-term memory.)
I hope you are managing to weather your weather as comfortably as I am weathering the weather in Weatherford.
(Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.”)