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Personal/related: My Pappaw (mother's father) was said to have paid off their crappy house in Galena Park (TX) with his winnings from shooting craps after hours from his truck-driving job. circa: 1930s
This was the same house where all the tree trunks were painted white on the bottom two-thirds, for reasons I never understood. Maybe a form of insect repellent?
It was in trimming the branches on these trees that my Pappaw lost his left eye when a branch came hurtling down into it.
Then in later years - my childhood (1960s/70s) - he would sit on the front porch of that house in Galena Park with a pellet gun (looked like a little shot gun), and with his one good eye, shoot at the "damn grackles."
At the end of the block was the MAGICAL place known as the high school football field, where MARCHING BANDS and TWIRLERS would perform. I loved hearing the bands start up, and running to the end of the block to peer through the chain link fence to watch.
My favorite was when historically black high schools would perform because their music and dance routines seemed so much better than the usual white bands. My mother seemed to like them better, too, but this seemed not alright say out loud.
This was that same block, from Pappaw and Big Granny's house to the football field, where in the thick, steamy, Galena Park summer, big trucks would come along, spraying DDT to clear the air of mosquitos, and my cousins and I would run behind it, relishing the cool mist.
The stretch of geography from roughly Galena Park, TX, where my mother and grandparents lived, over to where some of my uncle and other cousins lived in Slidell, LA is known as "Cancer Alley." // end of this glimpse into part of my story
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