Monday, February 18, 2013

Long Weekend

Brief memo, to myself and anyone else who cares to read, about our very pleasant long weekend in North Texas. We decided to spend a couple (or 3) nights in a medium to big city, McKinney, around 30 miles north of Dallas, and just over 2 and a half hours drive from home. From lists online there appeared to be several interesting antique stores there and plenty of non-chain type shops and eateries.

Something I noticed about McKinney, but perhaps most people wouldn't, was a cluster of rather unexpected British links. There's a British pub and restaurant called Churchill's on the square in the "Historic Downtown" area - the area of towns for which we routinely head. We enjoyed a good meal there - I had my first Yorkshire pudding since leaving England - their "Flat Cap" speciality: a dinner-plate-sized pud filled with piles of veggies, mashed potato and minced beef. YUM! We were there at around 5 PM, Thursday, they were getting ready for their monthly "Psychic Night". Dang, I thought, should've packed my tarot deck - might have made a bob or two here! (Wink.)
(Hat-tip to Where's Chuck blog for the photo.)

Further Brit-links: I also saw a garden sign advertising a "British Builder" as we drove around; and in a wine store/bar one afternoon we were told "that lady over there is from England too", after the very entertaining hostess, Ruby had established my own roots. The English lady in question asked me, "What part of England?". She hailed from Kent, I from Yorkshire. "North and South", said I, and there the conversation ended. Husband laughed quietly, sensing a wee bit of .....something. Yorkshire is known as Gods Own Country to its natives - not unlike Texas to its flock, I don't know what Kent is known as to its natives. For such a small land mass England has vast differences in accents, and in some cases in attitude. Sometimes northerners and southerners look on each other as from different countries (perhaps I'm just showing prejudice?). Yet another loose British link appeared as I read Wikipedia's page on McKinney - an English guy, former pro-soccer player (Manchester United and others) now runs a youth soccer club in McKinney- see his sister's blog

After exhausting the city's antique stores, on Saturday afternoon we drove to a trio of nearby small towns. In Princeton I noticed a road sign stating: "World War 2 POW Camp" with an arrow; we followed and found this plaque (click on it for a bigger version):

It's odd that the US would ferry German prisoners all the way across the Atlantic, but it seems that's what happened.

Farmersville - another small town nearby - has connections to 20th century movie star Audie Murphy who spent much of his childhood there. For such a tiny town it boasted an amazing four small but interesting antique stores.

And on to Greenville before turning back to McKinnney. Greenville's main claim to notoriety is this, according to Wikipedia:
The town was also famous (or infamous) for a sign that hung over Lee Street, the main street in the downtown district, between the train station and the bus station in the 1920s to 1960s. The banner read "Welcome to Greenville, The Blackest Land, The Whitest People". The same sentiment was also printed on the city water tower. An image of the sign was available as a postcard. The slogan's original intent was to describe the richness of the area's soil along with the kindness of its citizens. However, the imputed racial overtones caused the later phrase to be modified to "the Greatest People" in the early 1970s.

Weather was volatile - from very warm short-sleeve weather on Thursday to muffled up extreme shiveryness on Friday, then warmer but still chilly Saturday, and back to the 70s again on Sunday. There's no accounting for Texas (and Oklahoma) temperatures. We don't have climate here, we have weather!

We drove home Sunday, after declining the hotel manager's called invitation across the foyer to a church service at 10 AM (ahem!) Being Sunday, most small towns en route home were like ghost towns, so nothing further to report.


mike said...

And why didn't you visit were so close? Paris, TX, that is! LOL (Been there...don't visit!)

I'll have to live northern Texas vicariously through you, Twilight. I've driven through the Dallas area on Interstate 35 to-from Corpus Christi, Houston, and Galveston as I headed to-from other states and destinations. I've never been too attracted to that part of Texas' topography and climate. Always in a hurry, so never did the tourist thing there.

I looked at the McKinney Wiki-link you provided and learned a new (to me) word...DEMONYM...(gentilic) name for a resident of a locality. McKinney is supposed to a trendy, rather up-scale locale. Is it?

So, is the British subculture in McKinney a fluke, or is there a reason? I've met several X-Brits here in Corpus...they simply are here without due reason...arrived and stayed. Your Yorkshire pudding sounds you make it at home? I thought Yorkshire pudding was more bread-like, fatty, and simple.

Did you spot "Black Magic Woman" or the genre in any thrift stores? Is Morfy still snubbing you?

Twilight said...

Paris, Texas - been there, done that! It's mentioned on an abandoned travel blog of mine "The Rest of It" - in a post dated May 2008. Thought I'd mentioned it in relation to the movie "Paris, Texas" on this blog too, but now cannot locate the post.

N. Texas isn't much of a tourist reap, but then we tend to avoid tourist traps now (having "done" most within fairly easy reach of OK) in favour of just exploring different "ordinary" places.

McKinney - upscale and trendy? Nothing we noticed would lead us to that conclusion - but we did stay in the older part of town. We dislike malls and stores which are exactly the same in every city. I noticed some rather swish gated communities on the way out of town though - maybe that's the "trendy". Overflow of Dallas, I guess. I'd absolutely hate to live in one of those!

I think the Brit link in McKinney must simply be a fluke, yes.

No I don't make Yorkshire Pudding here - didn't make 'em there either (cooking ain't my thang) - but I ate it with relish when others made it! The Churchill's version wasn't Yorkshire Pud proper, but it was a decent enough facsimile. Proper YP should be the first course, served before a good joint of roast beef, with gravy made from the beef drippings. It should be well risen, crisp around the edges, softer in the middle (there's apparently a secret to preparing the batter & hot oven "just right"). We always had a big rectangular one and cut it into 4 pieces. Our favourite addition: few pieces of cucumber thinly sliced, marinated in vinegar (sounds strange but it worked). The spare piece of pud, after Dad, Mum and I had finished could be kept warm and eaten later with melted butter and sugar - oh cholesterol, where is thy sting?!

Didn't see any Black Magic Woman sculptures but did see (and buy) another modestly priced piece by Austin Productions Inc. I had admired it before noting the imprinted mark on the back, and was amazed! Not a human figure this time, more geometric - erm - don't know the proper description. Will put a photograph up in a post later this week. I've done a quick search but can't see anything resembling it on line so far. Morfy didn't ever respond re BMW. I suspect she would not, even if I kept e-mailing - probably wouldn't want to be connected to the late Austin Productions Inc. in her now elevated arty farty-ness! PISH! :-)

Twilight said...

mike ~~~ Paris Texas mentioned in post May 2008 - meant to leave link

mike (again) said...

You do get around, Twilight! I had forgotten the TX-style Eiffel's visible from the road, if I recall. I required emergency vehicle repairs in Paris...took a whole day. There really wasn't much to do or see and I was relieved to get back on the road.

James Higham said...

Not just known as God's own country - it is God's own country. :)

Twilight said...

mike ~~ Yes, we do try! As someone once said "We haven't been everywhere yet, but it's on our list". :-)

Twilight said...

James ~~ But of course it is, James!
And who would ever dare doubt it?!