What Has Four Wheels and
Southfork was a wide sign
over the long entry drive that led up to what was called the Ewing
Mansion on the Dallas sitcom. Dry Texas land surrounded the main house
but the area immediately around it was verdant from irrigation much like
another house in the story of Giant filmed in another part of Texas.
A wide paved parking lot
at the back of the house was where I parked. Hot winds blew across the
waters of the pool and spread a bit of cool air around it. Early years
on a windy prairie made me feel there was a sense of freedom with the
personalities of these breezes and always made me, somehow, a part of
As I walked across the
area toward the back door a number of people were already inside the
kitchen. This kitchen was a bright cheerful room done totally in shades
of a soft yellow. Counter tops, furnishing, curtains, floors, everything
was as lovely as morning sunlight. My mind went back to the kitchen at
our ranch house when I was a kid. The yellow floor proved to be a pain
to keep and I was wondering if this one was too.
I didnít know a soul
there so it was easy to get through this small crowd and go on into the
larger space which looked like a great room but was actually the dining
room. Again I remembered spacious rooms of the ranch house where I grew
up, but that was no comparison to what this room held. Tall back
comfortable chairs were even placed about for anyone who might wish to
sit away from the dining table. The furnishings were large, rich and
elegant with dark tones of highly polished wood.
Natalie Duncan, the
hostess, was the only person I knew but the conversation of the women
easily fit into a reason for getting acquainted. We all had kids,
husbands, chores and that was mostly what we discussed. Occasionally
some bits of interest might be brought up about one or another
community. The country-city women were strong people with all the
trappings of wealth upon them but they were still, just women and all
shared the same problems and hurdles.
My time was limited and
apologies were made to the hostess for my early departure. To go back
out the way seemed logical but when an attempt was made to do that she
took my arm to walk me to the front door.
"Our guests leave by the
She smiled and her
attention made me feel special.
A touch of southern
hospitality was so much enjoyed but when the hostess in the sitcom did a
guest the same way, using the same words, I had to laugh. Evidently
Natalie must have guided a number of folks out the front door after they
at first came in the back. It was fun though because a person
necessarily had to walk all around the big house to the back where their
car was parked which was sort of a silly feeling.
And these were the ways
of the friendly folks around Plano, Texas. It was true I lived in the
little rental house of the Donahoeís but never was excluded from any of
the small social activities of the women. Every lady seemed to enjoy
hosting a get together at some time or another. My only regret was that
my small house didn't allow me to reciprocate. The tiny four rooms of
our ancient country rental home could hardly fit more than three couples
in at a time.
"We drove up one evening
as our trash service workers were emptying barrels into a large truck. I
looked up to one of the men knocking on the window beside me. He didnít
say anything but pointed to the books and literature I left there after
our Bible study the night before.
"My study books?" I then
looked toward him. "We were in the Garland congregation." I told him.
"You are in the McKinney
district now and Iíll see you there?" With a wide grin he went about his
lucrative business of trash hauling.
His was one of the
families who had quite a large, clean, well-organized trash pick-up
service with numbers of trucks. They were fun people and a sign on the
back of his truck read, "Triplets Trash Pick-Up, Satisfaction Guaranteed
or Double Your Trash Back."
For years Mark loved to
tell the joke they told him. "What has four wheels and flies?" Answer:
"Tripletís Trash Trucks." He would tell the joke and laugh all over
himself. I know he was visualizing the fun loving man who owned the