Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Rowlett, On Purpose

Why Rowlett?
If I had a dime for every time I've heard that question the past 17 months I'd be rich.
I like to say I moved to Rowlett 'on purpose'.
You see, when I knew that I was leaving D.C. once and for all and moving to Texas, I knew I wanted to start my new life in Rowlett, a small city (population 57,000), 20 miles away from downtown Dallas.
Yes, I'd read in Forbes magazine where it was named the #1 best small city in the nation to live. I was also aware that the same year it was also voted the #1 most boring city in Texas, which after 13 years of the most hideous traffic in the nation and the fast-paced existence of the nations capitol, boring sounded so appealing.
But neither one of these was why my heart longed for Rowlett.
No, my crush on Rowlett started way before the magazine articles touted it's 'small-town' vibe and it's affordability.
 It probably started because Mr. T's cousin (and childhood best friend) Sherrye lived here. I'd met her at our wedding years ago and just fell in love with her and started a fast friendship that has spanned the decades. Mr. T promised me that if I'd stick with him as he moved me around the world that we would settle down and live out our days in Texas - within spittin' distance of Sherrye if that's what I wanted.
Enter Facebook. Sherrye and another cousin Melanie were among my first friends. Their facebook posts of happenings and daily pictures of the town opened my eyes even more to the dream life that awaited me here.
If THAT wasn't enough, much to my delight one of my other social media friends - from DC, no less - had gone to school with the current Rowlett Mayor, Todd Gottel.
I messaged him and introduced myself, explained my interest in Rowlett and asked if we could be 'friends'. His posts and updates allowed me the opportunity to really keep up close and personal with my 'dream community'.
Five years later, when my dream of moving back to Texas became a reality I knew it had to be Rowlett. But, just to make sure the 'love affair' was real , and to my humor my husband who really wanted me to be absolutely, positively sure, I did look in other surrounding areas - Dallas, Keller, Trophy Club, the Fort Worth area and other 'hot spots', but no.
The heart wants what the heart wants.
Now, if Rowlett, Texas sounds familiar to you, it should. We've made the national news every day this week.
Our community was hit hard by a tornado the day after Christmas.
The Hillbilly Hacienda escaped unscathed. Barely.
Within walking distance of my house, whole communities have been wiped out. It's devastating. My emotions run the gamut. Relief. Depression. Grateful. Guilt. I feel these on a daily basis and generally all at once.
The mayor - Todd Gottel -is no longer just someone on facebook - but an actual real-life friend, as well as Mayor Pro-Tem Michael Gallops.
I was on the library task force with City Council Robbert van Bloemendaal and City Manager Brian Funderburk. Council Member Carl Pankratz I met through the theater community.
These men care deeply about the people of Rowlett.
I would bet my firstborn and everything else I own that as the Mayor  was hunkered down under the stairs (we don't have basements here in Texas), that his first concern was not about his own safety, but that of the people he serves.
I have never, ever lived in a place where the mayor, vice-mayor, and council members cared so much about the people of their community.
I've never experienced a community that cares so much about
each other.
This week, as if I didn't already know - proved once and for all - that this is home.
I have found the place I hate to leave and can never wait to get back to.
Rowlett, Texas. My home - on purpose.


Farrah said...

I am so glad you have found your home, Miss Kathie. How devastating for those that lost their lives and homes in the storms. xoxo

Jerry E Beuterbaugh said...

Whoa, talk about name-dropping! (LOL?)

Hey there again. I am the one who has been exchanging emails with you about Inez. It was suggested that I should start paying closer attention to your content here, and I am sure glad I responded in the right way for a change.

Oh how I wish I had a name for the barbeque place I frequented when I could while I was driving in and around the Dallas area. I do not remember if it had a sign, but it was in an old gas station on the southbound access road to I-35, just north of I-20. Yeah, that must really help a lot, and to make it worse, the place may be out of business by now. For they looked like they may have been on their last breath back then (over 16 years ago now)--despite having some of best ribs I have ever had.

Of course, there are Whataburgers all over down there, and even though it is no place for good barbeque, one can flat pig-out with glee. Speaking of pigging out, if you are not already familiar with the guacamole at a Pancho's Mexican Buffet, you are missing out. It looks like the closest one to Rowlett is at 4550 Gus Thompson Road in Mesquite.

P.S.: You mentioned in your article about reading where Rowlette was ranked as one of the most boring places in Texas, which is a farce. For it might be true if the town was rather isolated, but with one being able to almost literally trip and fall into Dallas from Rowlette, I do not think anyone could be bored there unless they wanted to be.