Texas is a huge state, and much of it is filled with wide open spaces, especially in the western regions. The flora becomes sparse the farther west one travels, with on the fittest, toughest plants able to survive without intervention from humans. Water is precious and the fauna is wild and often lethal. It takes a special kind of spirit to tame the wildness where blistering heat and blizzards and tornadoes coexist in the same cycle of the seasons. Nonetheless there have always been adventurous souls who grow weary of the rush of city life and strike out in search of adventure and quiet.
Thus it was with Charles William Post, an innovator who brought breakfast cereals to the tables of American households. Much like today’s barons of wealth, Post dreamed of creating new ways of living, and in that spirit he purchased a swath of land in west Texas, and built his own town which he not so humbly named after himself. His intent was to to create a utopia, and so he invested great sums of money in building sturdy and beautiful structures in his town. He hoped that Post, Texas would become the site for West Texas A&M. He dreamed of founding a kind of paradise in the desert that would attract thinkers like himself. Sadly, his efforts failed to take root in the ways he had hope, so now Post, Texas is just a small town on the road between Abilene and Lubbock. Often travelers simply whiz through on their way somewhere else, taking little note that it was once meant to be a kind of shangri-la.
I might have been one of those people who hardly noticed Post were it not for the fact that one of my classmates from high school lives there. Dee Holland and I passed each other in the hallways of Mt. Carmel High School for four years. I noticed her because she was incredibly beautiful, vivacious and she had one of the loveliest smiles I had ever seen. She and I never had a class together save for the all girls religion class of our senior year. We each had our own little circle of friends, but the school was just small enough that everyone knew of everyone else in one way or another. I thought that Dee was delightfully full of life and I admired her from afar, but never got to know her very well.
Facebook may have its flaws but when it comes to reuniting people, it does its job quite well. Once I had my own account I began to search for people with whom I had lost contact for many decades. Along the way Dee and I became friends in a way that we had never been when we were young. I liked her posts, her philosophies, her sense of humor and the evidence of her kindness. She became one of my favorite people, and someone I regretted not getting to know earlier in my life. Sometimes we would joke and “talk” late at night, and even though there was something unreal about our means of communicating, I felt more and more comfortable with expressing myself with Dee.
I had joked that one day I might travel to Lubbock, and that I would stop in Post to have a real visit with Dee if I did. When my grandson, Ben, decided to attend Texas Tech in Lubbock this fall, I knew I wanted to see where he would be living for the next many years. We planned our vacation route with Lubbock as a destination, and I schemed to add a stop in Post to see Dee as well.
I was thrilled when Dee said that she would be around when we passed her way. We agreed to meet at a local restaurant called George’s for lunch or brunch. We drove from Abilene in a driving rain that was perilous at times. There were moments when we literally could not see the road, but there was no place to pull over and stop, so we simply said some prayers and moved slowly forward with the other souls caught in the same storm. By the time we reached Post the clouds had lifted and the sun was shining. Somehow it seemed to be right in keeping with how Dee always made me feel whenever we conversed on Facebook. She has a way of shooing away the darkness and dreariness of life.
I saw Dee from across the room and she was as beautiful as ever. The smile that I remembered from high school was as lovely as it had always been. We talked as excitedly as two teenage girls, so elated by our reunion that someone might have thought that we had been best friends forever. I felt so comfortable and free to be with Dee. None of the teenage angst that we had both once endured impeded our joy.
My intent had been to treat Dee to lunch but she quite sweetly insisted that she wanted to welcome us to her home by paying for our meal. So we sat and talked a mile a minute while Mike just smiled and let us catch up on the fifty years that had passed since we were teens. It was magical for me because somehow Dee and I had a connection that had taken us to similar ways of thinking even as we had lived almost unaware of each other for so many years. I understood that we were kindred spirits who had traveled through the vagaries of life and somehow survived with our spirits intact.
Dee gifted me with a pair of earrings that she had designed, a treasure that I will enjoy for many years to come. We hugged and said our goodbyes, but somehow I knew that our time together is not yet done. It’s a long way from Houston to Post, but I hope that we will meet again at George’s and I will have the opportunity to enjoy the company of Dee in person one more time. Our visit, though brief, was a highlight of my vacation, a time that I will always remember. Dee reminded me how so little matters other than the love we find with the people who pass through our lives. Such times are a blessing.