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I was born in Austin, but lived a few years in Texarkana where my mom was from when I was a kid. I was friends with a kid that was my one of Mom's best friends from high school's son, and his dad was some kind of alcoholic truck driver or something, but he had a doll, or maybe a few of them, I don't know, but that was his claim to fame, he, a boy, played with dolls, and had a couple of them and it was considered O.K. by his parents, and we are talking East Texas here.

I got to leave there around 4th grade or so, with the rest of my family, and never went back to live there for close to two decades and then, thankfully, only for a couple of hellish years. But then, there was a story I heard about that guy. He married early, 17 or 18 or so, and had a kid right afterward, apparently.

And I don't know, some kind of disagreements with the wife and so on and divorce, but he got at least partial custody of the kid and one time he was going somewhere with the kid and following some railroad tracks and got to a place where there was a railroad bridge and started across and apparently not too long after realized that there was in fact a train approaching from behind and deciding, apparently, not to turn back, but to go forward and, I suppose, outrun it. That did not wind up being physically possible, though. Not for my friend Philip. So it went. He was a very down to earth kid, I remember him as a kid, and I don't know what he was thinking, trying to outrun that train.

My own brother still lives up there, and it bothers me, sort of. I mean, it is really weighted toward the octogenarian side, on the demographics. Not really a lot to offer for younger people. The area is just a big old folk's home. He ought to be down here at some prestige job like at a coffeehouse or something and going to school or at least in a band.

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