What I want you to know. Which is everything.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

A blog from the Big Country

I went to two of my favorite places in Abilene today. First, I had lunch at Farilitos, a Mexican food place in Abilene that has been there like, forever. My grandmother, who went to ACU in the late 40s and 50s said that it was one of her favorite places, too. It's really good. The same lady is running the place. Then when we were finished with our meals we made our way over to the famous Cajun Cone establishment. If you've ever lived in Abilene between the months of April and September then you know what I'm talking about. Cajun Cones are snow cones to the max. They are so good and wonderful, and I had been missing them. These Abilene treats were all enjoyed with my good pal Ryan English and his wife Sarah. Ryan is finishing up his degree this summer through ACU. Way to go Ryan!

I am in Abilene this weekend for a wedding. Amanda's good friend from high school is getting married tonight and so all of her friends are here to take part in the festivities. One strange thing about marrying someone from the city that you went to college: You both know the city really well, but from very different perspectives. Going to college here I know the bars and cool places to hang out do insane, crazy things that college kids do. (ACU can't take my degree away for going to bars, right?) Amanda sees Abilene from the perspective of a person who grew up here and has a little bit different take on the city, and most of all ACU. I was not Mr. ACU or anything, but I enjoyed my time here. I appreciated the education that I got and was fairly involved. While Amanda went to ACU for a couple of years before transferring to TCU in Ft. Worth, she already had a mindset about ACU before she went there. So did I, but mine was provided by my parents, mainly. Amanda saw ACU from not only her parents perspective, but how the population of Abilene views ACU. Amanda's was a much more thorough viewpoint. She heard people who had no connection with the school voice their opinions on it and saw the impact that ACU had on the community as a whole, as opposed to the very isolated ACU community, which is how I saw Abilene.

Basically, I saw Abilene as a town that revolved around ACU and Christianity in general. I knew that there were other reasons to be in Abilene, but they were inconsequential. Abilene seemed so clean and cut off. ACU was the catalyst for this state, as far as I was concerned. Before I lived here, ACU and Abilene seemed like wonderful places where everyone had fun and people were nice and no one went hungry. Of course, this was an idealistic view and was not true in the least.

I hope I'm not overstepping my bounderies, but it seems that Amanda's view of Abilene and ACU was not so optimistic. Don't get me wrong, she definitely has a soft spot for Abilene, but she was more real about the town than I going into ACU. As she should have been, having grown up here. She seems to see ACU imparticular as just another school in Abilene. Having very little affect on the city, or at least much less than I thought. ACU wasn't any different than the other schools in Abilene until she decided to go there, a decision prompted by a couple of things. She wasn't quite ready to leave home, and it was the Church of Christ school in town, the denomination that she grew up. It was not long until she decided that she did in fact need to get out of town, as I did after high school, and so she transferred to TCU.

This may be completely off. My take on Amanda's view is based on summarizations of conversations we had. To say the least, Amanda sees a trip to Abilene as a trip to see her parents and I view Abilene as a sort of homecoming in the scholastic sense.

If you were completely bored by this entry, I understand. We'll see if things will get better later.


Paul said...

Those little local eateries are the best. By now I'm sure she's dead, because she was in her eighties or nineties twenty years ago last time I went. But when I was still living in southeast New Hampshire, a half hour from the Maine coast, there was this great place on Rt. 1 - Flo's Hotdogs.

Same kind of deal, it had been there forever. Tiny little place, and you were lucky to get a seat at the counter. Most people took theirs to go. But she had some kind of sauce to go with the hotdogs that was really unique.

Hope one of her kids or grandkids took it over. If you ever find yourself on Rt. 1 headed toward Wells Beach, Maine, ask for it!

ML said...

I know what you mean about your journey back to Abilene. But not only do I have that ACU experience, I also have the experience of being there as a child to visit my relatives. I went to ACU (ACC) with my parents at lectureship time and Sing Song time. I loved that campus and I still do. Although it will be a whole different experience when we return now since we have no children at ACU anymore. We will now truly go back to just to visit the campus.
When I went to ACU (ACC) my favorite eatery was Taco Bueno. I even got out of the dorm after hours one time just to buy tacos from Taco Bueno for my friends and my dorm mother.

Jason said...

I gained a different perspective of ACU and Abilene during my time in grad school. Although I attended ACU as a student, I definitely wasn't involved in the "ACU Community". Kari, meanwhile, was working in the private sector and interacted with people who had little or no exposre to ACU or Christianity but were very involved in the Abilene community. I discovered that Abilene is a typical West Texas town with problems and successes. I think ACU does what it can to help the community, but like all entities that large, it can sometimes harm the community unknowingly. It's the nature of the beast. Overall, I think ACU is good for Abilene, but it's far from perfect. But what on earth is perfect? Not much.

(I miss Cajun Cones too.)

Anonymous Poet said...

Glad you had a good weekend!