Saturday, May 22, 2010

Rolling With Sig: Driving "Old" Houston

One of my latest ventures has been reading the columns of Houston Press writer Sigman Byrd. Over fifty years ago, he was walking parts of the city that many would avoid if they could. He made a point of getting to know the people and places that would never make history but made for interesting tales. It was in "The Stroller" that he would recount the misfortunes and good news, the sadness and small victories of people that had the deck stacked against them.

With a map of some of the places mentioned in his columns, I drove parts of the city that I never have need to visit. And it was great. A combination of lovely evening weather, only slightly rude drivers and new neighborhoods put me in a great mood.

One thing I felt closer to was why Sig wrote about a city that was so hard on so many people. I drove unfamiliar roads, and would get to a big intersection and see the towers of Downtown. The skyline was a familiar landmark that would appear in the wide streets only to be hidden by passing trees, run down cottages, abandoned storefronts, taco trucks, churches, factories, etc. Around 7pm, the golden hour took hold, and gave the city some extra warmth. I took the one good picture of the evening, and that was good enough for me. It was the cycle of getting lost and finding a familiar and comforting sight that put me a positive spin on my often terrible sense of direction. While I won't be going through a pair of shoes every couple of months, I hope to put some miles on the car getting acquainted with neighborhoods Sig strolled.

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Also see: Facebook | Sig Byrd's Houston


Bill Miller said...

Thanks, I'd never heard of this.

AM Riley said...

I'm writing a little about Houston, and so came across your blog. Thanks for the excellent link. I'd like to see this sort of thing in more cities. Though, walking in Los Angeles might only get you arrested...

Mr. Kimberly said...

Bill - My pleasure.

AM - Sig was a cynical newspaper guy, but that didn't stop him from delving into the supernatural. I particularly like the end of "Mr. Shafer and the Third Catseye".

"The Owlmen of Marble Falls, the Exploding Golf Ball and Some Other Hot Weather Items" - The Stroller - Houston Press, Pg. 5 - Saturday, June 27, 1953 on Flickr=

"Mr. Shafer and the Third Catseye" - The Stroller - Houston Press, Pg. 9 - Tuesday, July 28, 1953 on Flickr

"Cold Trail of the Phantom Lady" - The Stroller - Houston Press, Pg. 11 - Monday, Oct. 26, 1953 on Flickr