Tuesday, September 25, 2007

In Search of Times Past

I'm writing this post from the Hutchinson County Library in beautiful downtown Borger, Texas. El Jefe and I are back in his hometown for a few days so he can complete the research on a book project. The project? A sympathetic, sentimental history of the "glory days" of Borger High School football in the late 1950's to mid-1960's. He's the writer, and I've assumed the role of his editor and publisher. Well, self-publisher. I'm going to use one of the "print on demand" services for this little opus.

Portia and Babs are quite puzzled about their dad's devotion--they would use the term "obsession"-- with what they see as an obscure subject. El Jefe didn't play on that football team himself, you see.

But I think I understand it.

The project grew out of a request from a fellow BHS alumna of that era for a summary of the football seasons when their team won the state championship for her to include in a memory book she was working on. El Jefe agreed to provide it, and then decided that there was a longer story that needed to be told. So he set out to write a book. Other BHS grads have heard of the project and eagerly sent their old high school scapbooks and memorabilia to him as source material. There will evidently be a little niche market for the book when it is finished. Right now, El Jefe is across the library from me right sifting through giant bound volumes of the Borger newspaper looking in the old sports pages for the stats he needs to fill in the final blanks of his narrative.

Yes, the book will focus on a football team, but it is really a tribute to the days gone by of his growing up in this small, dusty, oilfield town in West Texas. Yesterday he said he found himself distracted by other news stories--of the prounouncements of the Eisenhower administration, of his oldest cousin's wedding announcement--that reminded him of the people and places that are so dear to him and now available only in memory. We've spent some time driving around the little city while he revisits the site of his family's oilfield trucking business, the homes where his friends grew up, the high school, the bank and the Nu-Way Cafe. At lunchtime and in the evenings, he enjoys reminiscing with his cousin and his wife who are hosting us.

Borger is Big Sky Country. As El Jefe is fond of remarking, "There's nothing here between you and the North Pole but a barbed-wire fence." The sky overwhelms the flat, rolling landscape and the people in it. The sky is infinite and vast. The sky inspires feelings of awe and possibility. For El Jefe, that meant traveling far from his roots for an Ivy League education and life in Houston as a high-powered corporate attorney in the Big Oil Patch. Now as retirement looms in the not-as-distant-a-future-as-he-would-like, he returns to his hometown to reconnect with the place that nurtured and supported him in the beginning.

The book is his vehicle for doing that. And I'm his faithful amanuensis and photographer.


SpookyRach said...

Love it.

Welcome back to the big sky.

Gannet Girl said...

This is SO cool.

j-too said...

Nostalgic smile and sigh from me...

Thinking of you.

Jan said...

This is nice. I'm glad you're both there.

Presbyterian Gal said...

El Jefe may find himself bitten with the writer's bug now. It sometimes starts with just one story needin' to be told bigger.

If you like the publish on demand outfit you find, please pass along their name to me.

Princess of Everything (and then some) said...

You are in BORGER?? Closer to the famous Rach and myself!!

Anonymous said...

dont forget to try monkeys bbq