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Day Of The Beasts (Part 1)


Okay, back to Fort Worth…


The following morning, Thursday, we got up early and got ready to go to yet another of the city’s areas, the Stockyard District. This is kind of the city’s version of Albuquerque’s Old Town, the original Fort Worth, preserved and turned into a tourist attraction. There are shops and exhibits and all manner of other things--including “Billy Bob’s,” said to be “the biggest Honky Tonk in the world,” more about which later.


We had been trying to get to the Stockyards since we’d arrived, but we kept running out of time, daylight, and energy. We realized that we were going to have to focus on just two areas in the city. Downtown, the Sundance Square, had occupied our time on Wednesday. Now, we would manage the ‘Yards, but that would be it for this trip.


There was something important in that. We had known – intellectually – that we would have to ration ourselves, and pace ourselves. Somehow, though, we hadn’t really grasped it emotionally. We knew but didn’t know that we didn’t have the stamina we once did. And it was a bit of a shock. But, at least it was a shock that was instructive, and even with our new limitations, we discovered we could still enjoy ourselves immensely.


Anyway, off we went. We got to the Stockyards and, after quite a bit of circling, we even found a handicapped parking space. We got out and drifted down East Exchange Street, which is kind of the main drag of the ‘yards.



The 'Yards A Year Before


One thing that was different about the day’s stroll was that Martha used her Walker. She didn’t exactly need it to stay stable. She had, after all, spent most of the rest of the trip just walking with her cane. But the streets and walkways were crowded in the Stockyard, and one thing Martha has discovered is that people don’t always look where they’re going when they're in large groups. And it is all too likely that she would get knocked over.


But, the Walker acted as both a support and a kind of warning. As an acquaintance of Martha’s put it to her, “It tells the world you’re coming.” And so it does.


We walked along, looking at our fellow tourists and at the various attractions. The Stockyards are meant to invoke a particular time in Fort Worth’s history, as well as that of the state as a whole. Before the Civil War, a big part of Texas’ economy was based on cotton and enslaved labor. Afterwards, that had to change. So Texas became a meat producing and exporting state, and the center of the economy shifted from the south and east to the western plains.


So, all about us, now, was cowboy stuff. Cowboy-themed shops. Cowboy-themed restaurants. Cowboy-themed bars. But it wasn’t just a simulation. This wasn’t, say, Frontierland at Disneyworld. This had been a real place once, and a real stockyard, with thousands of longhorn cattle gathering here for subsequent transfer to hungry cities in the East and the North.


And, in fact, we had come to see one thing in particular at the ‘Yards, and it had a cattle-connection. We had come to see the Running Of The Bulls.


Except, they weren’t bulls. And they don’t run.


But they were still dang impressive.


More to come.


***


About the photo: As usual, this picture isn’t quite in sync with the story. It is of Martha, and it is of her in the Stockyards District, but it is actually from 2021, and was from our first trip there a while back. Still, it does give a flavor of the place. And, besides, I think it is a cool snap of Martha.


***



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