By Dency McClure
I was determined to get to as many Sixman towns as I could in two days in a certain radius. I covered Strawn that morning and was set to cover Lingleville and Gorman that afternoon. Lingleville practice started and 3:00 and Gorman started at 4:00, so I felt with them only being 20 minuets apart, I could get in adequate time at both towns. I headed out on highway 16 again for Desdemona.
Desdemona is a small town that no longer has a school but has a flashing light that connects two roads that are well traveled by country standards. At the flashing light in Desdemona, I turned right to go to Lingleville and would have turned left to go to Gorman or gone straight to get to Strawn. I actually went through Desdemona four times that day. On my trips through that morning, I had spied a nice, shiny convenience store at the intersection. It was calling my name, but I wanted to get to Lingleville early.
There were no highway signs to let me know I was headed in the right direction or how much further I had to travel. I have been to Lingleville before so knew from my own instincts I was traveling the right way and about how far I had to go. Sure enough, in a few moments a little sign simply stating Lingleville appeared. I turned right at the intersection and quickly got to the school.
The school is located right next to the Baptist church. I always love seeing the outdoor tabernacles that so many churches in this area have. I am amazed how well they have survived the years of weather. I can picture the outdoor revivals and church picnics they once hosted. A center to many community activities; now standing as a beacon to the past and an era of old time revivals. I wonder how many people can testify to their Christian life beginning right there during an old time revival alter call?
I made my way to the back of the school and Baptist church and parked my little white Fiat. It always stands out next to the farm trucks and suburbans. It gets good gas mileage and, other than my Texas 1A Fan trips, it mostly bounces around the dirt roads in Paint Rock like a golf cart. I do hate dodging deer in it on the back roads, but it’s perfect the rest of the time.
I thought I was in the right location, got my gear and my cap, and just hung out. When 3:00 had come and gone, I got a bit concerned and started roaming the campus and texted Coach Boyle. He responded that in-service had run longer than expected and they would be coming out shortly. The coaches soon approached in a Gator and pointed me to the old baseball field. Coach Boyle suggested I take my Fiat through the hole in the fence and drive down to the field. I told them I didn’t mind walking and headed off behind them. I quickly realized I should have taken the Fiat off road as the walk was getting longer, the grass was tall, and the opening to the baseball field was completely on the other side. Live and learn, I guess. Probably best to take a Coaches’ advice in such matters. I needed the exercise so it wasn’t all bad.
Once at the field, I visited with Coach Boyle. He told me he had eight players; two were out injured, one had never played before, and one hadn’t played in years. I knew immediately this would be a year of heart. I watched as they ran some drills. The kid that has never played before is a quick study and has the makings of a great quarterback. The boys were communicating and enjoying their time together. Before I left, Coach Boyle was walking them through his varied plays. It was screaming hot and the breeze was not fast in coming. After getting some shots and my interview, I hiked back up the hill the great distance to the car.
As I reached the top, I could hear kids playing on the nicely covered playground. The teachers must really enjoy that. I bet the shade makes the playground equipment a much more bearable temperature in the heat. I had to do what I called “snake hunting” when I taught in Paint Rock. I’d make the kids sit in one area while I walked the playground and looked for snakes. I think snake hunting is a job lots of 1A teachers have.
Just beyond the awesome playground is a large, nice newer building that is part of the school. It’s always nice to see new additions to school campuses. To me it’s a sign that the community is involved, cares, and takes pride in their town and their children’s education. That building will take the school well into the future.
I headed out back by the Baptist church tabernacle and took a left at the intersection. The shiny convivence store in Desdemona was calling my name even more. A big cold drink would really hit the spot on my way to Gorman.
See you on the sidelines!