Sierra Blanca Texas

Sierra Blanca, Texas


We just pulled off the highway and took these pictures of a little dusty town in West Texas. The main road is all that is paved.

The pictures show images of a time passed and appear to capture a town that is slowly blowing away into the Texas desert. When I first took them I thought of a caption referring to a ghost town.

However, as we ate lunch at the Scratch Made Cafe a different picture appeared. Trina and I were the only customers, but the place was abuzz as several first responder vehicles screamed down “the hard road” out to a rollover accident on the “big highway”

Sierra Blanca Texas

There was no air conditioning in the restaurant but the doors were open and fans created a soft breeze that made it very comfortable. The homemade ice tea and BLT sandwiches were everything you would expect. They were awesome.

The Southern Pacific Rail Road still runs through town but the train has not stopped there in years leaving the town to shrink in population from a few thousand to less than 500.

sierra blanca texas

But it was the people that were so very real. Momma as everyone there called the lady who was the cook was beautifully animated as she bounced around the room repeating the news of the accident off the scanner you could feel her excitement. Moving back and forth to the kitchen to make sure our bacon didn’t burn she was a whirl of energy.

Then you had the young man who was maybe in his early 30’s that was waiting the tables. He was fully bearded and tattooed but he took pride as he told us how this huge region now had only 1200 people and how half of those were living off the grid.

sierra blanca texas

He told us how he grew up in St. Joseph Missouri and had to leave because “he was bound for either prison or the grave” but he spoke of how he had found opportunity here in this isolated little out of the way place.

The people there talked excitedly among themselves about Momma’s home made pie that had just come out of the oven. The pie or cobbler as momma corrected them was too hot for us to eat but I am sure it will be the highlight of the afternoon.

It was captivating to watch the simplicity of their day. They moved to an amazing rhythm that had come to be their life. And as Trina and I joined into the conversation we were openly welcomed and became a part of that rhythm.

Absorbed in the magic of it all I stood there and talked to the man sitting on a stool behind the counter. Seeing the birds on the bat on my shirt he began telling me about his younger days and of his baseball glory.

Trina finally had to pull me away telling the man I would talk all afternoon and that we still had several miles to travel.

So why do I tell this story I tell this story because this is what we miss far too often in our busy hectic lives. Far too often we condescend to simple people doing simple things. Far to often our status is determined by becoming the person who drives themselves to material achievements that are highlighted by financial and social success.

And while there is nothing wrong with striving for those successes we often forget that equal fulfillment can be found in the simple ways of life. I saw it today in what to the hurried eye appears to be a dying little town that is blowing into the West Texas Desert.

It’s there, all I had to do was look beyond the crumbling buildings that represent a past that is long gone. For if we look beyond those building and see the living breathing vibrancy of Momma and the others at The Scratch Made Cafe we will realize that life is what you make of it and how you capture the day before you.


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