My Alexander Day and Small Town Love

I’m having an Alexander day. A terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day where nothing goes right.

I’m sure you’ve had those days too, but you may not be familiar with the term Alexander day.

If not, you HAVE to read, Judith Voirst’s Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. It’s a delightful children’s book that will warm your adult heart. Click on the cover to read more.

Like Alexander, I must decide what to do with this terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

I could grump and get nowhere with my editing or…

since I believe action can alter attitude,

I’m choosing to blog about a recent experience in a wonderful little Panhandle city called Clarendon.

For the non-Texan blog readers that would be the northernmost 26 counties in the state. The part that looks like the handle of a pan.

Panhandle counties

On our travels between Houston and Colorado, we’ve gone through Clarendon on US 287 many, many times. Not a big city. Population is under two thousand. It’s home to Clarendon College (established 1898), the oldest center of higher education in the Texas Panhandle.

On our most recent trip through, I was having another Alexander day. This time  because I had strep throat. The penicillin hadn’t fully kicked in so I was feeling pretty rotten.

We arrived in Clarendon late – 7:30 p.m. – and hungry. For all you city dwellers who think that isn’t late, small towns tend to roll up the sidewalks early.

We saw a sign for the Clarendon Steakhouse and pulled in praying it would be open. I was hoping the buffet had some soup that would soothe my very raw throat.

The building is a former grocery store converted to a restaurant with funny cowboys on the windows and friendly people inside. Very friendly and very kind people.

When we went inside, the place was about empty and the buffet was bare. My hopes sank. They were closed.

A waitress, in an apron that Vera Bradley would give her eye tooth to claim, greeted us. Turns out the waitress’ grandmother made her apron. I asked.

I explained how we were passing though, tired of driving, hungry and really wanted some soup. Okay, I admit I shared more detail than necessary, but I am a storyteller.

She walked us to a back table to check with the owner whose name was Mary. I think. Remember I was not having a good day and that affected my memory.

Mary pointed to her husband’s soup bowl filled with the most delicious looking chicken soup I’d ever seen. I know I looked a bit peaked and I must have drooled because Mary said she had enough for a couple of bowls.

She directed us to the “non-smoking” section. A booth at the store window under a ceiling fan. (to disperse cigarette smoke)

Sitting in the next booth was Fred Gray, local columnist for The Clarendon Enterprise. We shared writing stories. He even went next door to the newspaper office for old editions so we could read his “The Quick, the Dead and Fred” column. Check out some of his columns in the newspaper’s online edition you’ll enjoy them.

Naturally, I shared my business card with my website and told him all about my writing. And, I’d love for you to check out my Judythe Morgan books page. 🙂

Sarah, a lovely young Clarendon High School student, served as our waitress. She was excited and bubbly about her coming class trip to Washington, D.C.  Needless to say, we gave her a generous tip to go toward her expenses.

Suddenly our tiring, drive of 540 miles with another 145 more to go before we stopped had become a pleasant vist with friendly people and delicious down home chicken soup.

And Mary wouldn’t let us pay for our dinner! Isn’t small town America wonderful?

Sharing has helped refuel my creative juices and improved my terrible, horrible, really bad day dramatically. I’m back to editing.

YOUR TURN: What about you? How do you combat a really bad, terrible, horrible day?

4 Comments on “My Alexander Day and Small Town Love

  1. I love when things like that happen so serendipitously. I find small towns can either be so welcoming and endearing, like your experience, or so creepy that just stopping at a gas station for a few minutes gives me the heebie jeebies. (Perhaps a gas station is not the best indicator of a town’s general pulse, but sometimes you gotta go with your gut feeling.)

    I hope your day turns around and is less Alexander-ish. (Love that book, btw.)

    • I agree about some towns being welcoming and some not. Lots of little towns on our route and, sorry to say, there are some we won’t stop in.

      Alexander day is looking up. Starting another chapter of edits. There is progress.

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