Lost at the Corner of Tough Luck Lane

 In bygone years, street names shed considerable light on the economic status of residents abiding there, particularly if the streets had lights.

One shabby neighborhood – called “Billy Goat Hill” for decades – became “Angora Knoll” overnight when vast oil reserves were discovered. Within hours, some West Texas landowners who previously shopped mostly at thrift shops showed up at Neiman-Marcus.

Dallas sportswriter Barry Horn wrote a recent piece about a boxing Olympic hopeful who lives on the corner of Raspberry and Vanilla Streets in DeSoto. He suggested that “Tough Luck Lane and Street of Broken Dreams is the more likely intersection.”

Tree names are commonly spotted on street signs in many communities. If there’s considerable population growth, the list of available tree names can grow short, what with garden variety tree names such as Pine, Willow, Spruce and Mulberry already taken.

Maybe that’s what framed the story about the policeman who called the station to report that he’d found a body on a dimly-lit street. “The location is 425 Bois d’arc,” the patrolman stated.

“How do you spell Bois d’arc?” the captain asked. Dumbfounded, the caller didn’t have a clue. “Lemme drag him over to Oak and call you back.”

Some towns and cities have honored U.S. Presidents with street names. Names of birds, flowers and animals also have gotten their due. The whole issue becomes convoluted, since so many names are synonymous with “streets.”  Some municipalities have boulevards, avenues, drives, lanes, thruways, circles, courts, and cul-de-sacs, to name a few. (Our landlord during early marriage vowed she’d live only on boulevards. During her final years, she resided in a care center several blocks away from her home–still on a boulevard.)

Tyler, with one street named “Easy,” chose a name already in use for its main drag. If Broadway is good enough for the Great White Way, it’s A-OK for the Rose Capital, too.

Lake Jackson, an hour’s drive from Houston, has great vitality, growing in tandem with Dow and other chemical companies. They “will” to find “ways” for their street names. Fact is, there are at least ten streets with “Way” in the names.

Included are Parking Way, Park Way, Center Way, Circle Way, Winding Way, His Way (and Sinatra never lived on it), West Way, Any Way, That Way and This Way. It should be noted that This Way and That Way intersect.

Locals figure that as Lake Jackson grows, there could be a No Way, Safe Way, In Way and Out Way. They may consider Every Way and Right Way, too. And Narrow Is the Way might be favored by the clergy.

One Lake Jackson favorite with footprints all over town is Charles Castleberry, a Realtor there for some fifty years.

A proud graduate of Baylor University, he returned to his alma mater four years ago for a banquet commemorating the 50th anniversary of the class of 1958. (They also hand out pledge cards at such events, I am told.)

He welcomed the invitation, eager to tell his old college buddies that he was healthy enough to attend the banquet, or any other event for that matter. Never to be confused with a man of few words, he proceeded to “lay it on ‘em” about his 2005 heart transplant that restored his health.

In a cluster with a half-dozen other “75-ish” graduates, he opined that he should get the prize for being the youngest one there, since he “has the heart of a 47-year-old.” A cohort responded, “Too bad your heart didn’t tell your face.”

He voiced the opening prayer at the Realtors’ luncheon recently, seeking blessings for the speaker and much else. I thanked him, admitting that I need the prayer and he needs the practice.

At the same luncheon, President Kim Caldwell led in the Pledge of Allegiance. Hands over hearts, we turned toward the outer wall of plate glass that framed a striking view of the civic center entrance.

The beautiful entry features a giant U.S. flag. It was rippling in the breeze, filling our view to the outdoors. I’ve “pledged” a few thousand times, but never in this manner. Looking back, it was a good “way” to start the program in a thriving community where prayers and pledges still kick off most meetings.

Dr. Newbury is a speaker in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.   Email: newbury@speakerdoc.com. Phone: 817-447-3872. Twitter: @donnewbury   Web site: www.speakerdoc.com.

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