On a lawn downtown

July 14, 2008 (Monday)

picture of CharlesI keep looking at this picture of part of downtown, taken from the J.P. Morgan Chase Tower, and thoughts keep running through my mind about the other buildings in the picture. One building I don’t see is the First Presbyterian Church, on McKinney bounded by Travis and Main. It was relocated years ago to a South Main location and a big Woolworth store was built in its place downtown. Now the store is long gone and another building occupies that block.

The church had a beautiful green lawn on Main Street, protected by a black wrought iron picket fence. I always thought it was such a pretty lawn. Then one day I was walking barefoot on the hot sidewalk next to the lawn and stepped on a burning cigarette butt. Wow! Ow! It was hot! I jumped the fence so that I could stand on the cool, cool grass. (I was in the Fifth Grade at the time, and had asked my grandparents' permission to walk from where we lived to the downtown area, and they let me do it). While I was standing there on the lawn, trying to cool down the burn, a well-dressed young man (in hindsight he was young; he seemed old at the time) called to me. I walked over to where he was standing by the door of the big church building. He asked, “Would you like to make a quarter?” Let’s see, I guess the year might have been 1942, and a quarter sounded like a lot of money, so I asked, “Doing what?” “All you have to do,” he answered, “is announce the entrance of the bride and groom.” Seems they were having a wedding. I looked at how he was dressed, and took a little inventory of my own appearance, and politely said, “No.” He kept trying to convince me, and I kept refusing. I didn’t want to be embarrassed. So I went my way, burned foot, old clothes and all.

I never passed that church and its beautiful lawn after that without thinking of that day on Main Street in Houston, Texas.

A side note about that property. I read in the paper when it was later sold by the church that its price was figured by value per front inch.


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