October 8, 2019
Kurtis grew up on the high plains of Texas and it's an integral part of who he is. He shared some memories of growing up there...
5 years ago, I spent a month in Amarillo, Texas (due to a family issue) after being gone for 20 years. It was extraordinary, like waking up one morning and having a whole new body. I recognized all the street names, but most of the landmarks had changed. It is the most insane thing to be lost, but know where you are. I sure over time this happens to everyone, so find your context. Tell us your favorite thing about your hometown, food, activities, lessons, environment: whatever makes it yours.
Image Cadillac Ranch | © Jamie/Flickr
We all have one neighborhood that we identify as our origin. It's the internalization of time and context of who we are as a group and an individual. More simply put the time of the "first," the first best friend, first ice cream, first taco, first sleepover, first group of friends, first kiss. We will forever compare our next taco to that first one asking ourselves, is this good or bad? These circumstances exist for a moment in time. All this is creating our personal definitions of "normal." My moment in time or hometown is a place I like to say if nowhere had a middle, it would be center.
I grew up in a medium-sized city (population 150k when I lived there) in West Texas. (which I have never understood why they call it West Texas because it is actually the most northern section of the state) Amarillo, TX sits almost dead center of the Texas panhandle, between Oklahoma and New Mexico. Amarillo is a unique place known for oil, tornados, farming, cattle ranching, the dust bowl, and being on historic route 66. A land that is almost desert hot in the summer, 110˚F and cold in the winter, -40˚F with the wind chill. I know for some this is going to sound crazy, but trees don't naturally grow there and the wind always blows in the spring; it gets up to a 60 mph gust with a constant 20 mph wind.
Amarillo has given me a context for my life in so many ways. It has taught me beauty, friendship, perseverance, and a love for food like BBQ (chopped beef brisket from Dougs) and tex-mex (Taco Villa). One of my fondest memories from the '80s is going to Mr. Burger (a local fast-food chain) for a Cherry Lime Coke or Dr. Pepper. Amarillo also instilled in me an appreciation and love for the earth that can only come from living in a harsh place. I think it must be similar to how people living on the cost feel about the ocean. The ocean gives them beauty, food, a way of life; but it is gloriously dangerous and must be respected as are the high plains of Texas.
5 years ago, I spent a month there (due to a family issue) after being gone for 20 years. It was extraordinary, like waking up one morning and having a whole new body. I recognized all the street names, but most of the landmarks had changed. It is the most insane thing to be lost, but know where you are. I sure over time this happens to everyone, so find your context. Tell me your favorite thing about your hometown, food, activities, lessons, environment: whatever makes it yours.
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