Lubbockites are called Lucky Me’s by those of us who attended college there in the 60’s and looked forward to graduating and seeing Lubbock in our rearview mirrors. The tag came from a 1960’s advertising campaign and bumper sticker that used the slogan “Lucky Me, I Live in Lubbock.”
When we reached Lubbock, we stopped at one of the unique spots in Lubbock – Prairie Dog Town. It’s a dirt field in Mackenzie Park where a large number of prairie dogs live. It used to be a favorite of high school and college kids on dates as there are no lights and lots of room to park and mess around. Mr. and Mrs. K. N. Clapp originated the town in 1932. Lubbock should get a new sign for the place, as it looks like it was made by the folks at Sponge-O-Rama.
We then drove to the home of our two favorite Lucky Me’s, Steve (aka Archibald Barasol) and Melinda (aka Berlinda) Shanklin. I met Steve and Melinda in high school, and Steve and I were pledge brothers in Delta Tau Delta fraternity. Steve was also my partner in my first business venture, a business selling fraternity and sorority clothing, party favors, jewelry, etc. I sold my 75% of the business to Steve when I graduated, and he and his parents operated the business very successfully for 20 years before they sold it. (His buyer screwed it up and went out of business shortly thereafter. Watch out Blue Swallow.) Steve was the Best Man in our wedding, and we have always considered Steve and Berlinda to be among our closest friends.
Steve is the best storyteller I have ever met. He is extremely funny, and Berlinda is extremely smart and has an incredible wit. Berlinda would be a great Erma Bombeck-like writer. We always love getting together with the Shanklins as the stories will be flying. Our all-time favorite is Steve’s story of the toe-tap drain. I won’t try to tell it here, but I will have to put it in the book. It’s a story about going to stay at a friend’s beautiful new home. Before we retired for the evening, Steve took me in the bathroom to show me the ins and outs of the bathtub and shower we would be using. After the toe-tap drain, we figured this is mandatory for any and all house guests at the Shanklin home.
We are the most unlikely of friends in some ways. Steve and Berlinda have lived in the same house their entire married life. Steve’s parents lived in only one house for all of their married lives. Steve has had the same job and same secretary for 28 years. Barbara and I, on the other hand, have lived in 18 places (soon to be 19) in 10 cities in 32 years of marriage. I’ve never been involved in any one business for over five years. It was major news when Steve and Berlinda announced that they were thinking of buying a new home, and even bigger news to learn a few days later that they have actually signed a contract. I just hope Steve can handle the stress.
Actually, Daisy has been a bigger concern than Steve. Daisy is the Shanklin’s dog. She’s deaf and blind. She gets around in their home as she knows where everything is. Moving may be traumatic, but their vet has given them a plan for how to deal with it.
Steve enjoyed a colonoscopy this morning, so we weren’t sure he would be up for dinner, but he rallied. We went to Flatlanders, a place in an alley right near where Steve and I had our first store at 2420 13th Street. We dropped by the old place and took a photo. I can remember when I rented the store in 1970. It was $75 a month. I had no money, so I actually became a real estate person before I opened the store, as I went around to other student entrepreneurs and subleased walls and parts of the store so I would be there rent-free. In addition to selling fraternity and sorority sportswear, party favors, jewelry, and mugs, I started a bail bond service for students, was the campus representative for Humble Oil (now Exxon), Playboy Magazine, and assorted others, and I got a deal selling factory outlet doubleknit slacks provided by Bozzie Jane’s sister Judy. I subleased space to Joe Little, a guy who did fraternity and sorority paddles, and to another guy, Delray Lefevre, who did party pictures. The place had more names than we had product lines. But it was profitable, a great learning experience, and our success with that little business probably kept both Steve and me from miserable lives as attorneys.
Back to the present. We had dinner at Flatlanders, and we toured the Texas Tech campus. We saw a number of fabulous new buildings, the very impressive United Spirit Arena where Bobby Knight runs the men’s basketball show, and we saw the major construction underway at the football stadium. If you can forget that Lubbock is as flat as a pancake, lacks water, and the dust often fills the sky, we believe the Texas Tech campus is very beautiful. The school has made consistent use of the same style of Spanish architecture, and it’s a huge campus – largest campus in terms of size in the USA. We made sure to get a photo of the Will Rogers statue. Rumor always had it that Will would get off his horse whenever a virgin graduated from Tech. He’s still up there.
We went by the Hi-D-Ho before we returned to the Shanklins’ home. Lubbock had three fantastic drive-in restaurants when we were in high school and college – the Char King, the White Pig, and the Hi-D-Ho. As high schoolers, we would cruise through the Char-King and park and hope someone of the opposite sex might have the courage to speak to us. A common date was a “Coke Date,” where you would pick up a girl and go to Char King and get a Coke and talk.
The White Pig was near Tech and was a college hangout with very good burgers and fries. The Hi-D-Ho was also near Texas Tech, and it was known as a wilder place. To go Ho-ing was to cruise through the Hi-D-Ho looking for a date or two. The Char King and White Pig have gone the way of the wrecking ball. As has the Hi-D-Ho, but someone built a new place and is calling it the Hi-D-Ho. It’s not the same, but it’s better than the long-forgotten Char King and White Pig.
The Shanklin kids, Whitney and Chris, came by to see us. Really fine young people. Whitney has been doing missionary work, and Chris is in medical school at Texas Tech.
We had a great time visiting all the Shanklins!
As we’ve said before, little is as much fun as getting together with old friends.