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Holly Lake Effect

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Holly Lake Effect
By Lucy Germany

Getting out of getting lost-not an easy matter!

I recently took myself by car to the big city-one bigger than Hawkins, Mineola and Winnsboro combined, one full of metropolitan hazards, freeways, overpasses, underpasses, intricately twisted, over-designed freeways, constructed, I suppose, to give human beings a full understanding of what !!@#$%^&*!! stands for.
I went to Houston. Big mistake. Of all the cities in the state of Texas, Houston is the most unfinished. You know that immediately when you drive more than a mile on a Loop, Freeway, Beltway or other entanglement that classifies as a highway. You know that if you have a need to go to a grocery store, beauty salon, bank or other place of commerce or entertainment. You know before you have gone more than a block that you should never have left home. Two blocks and you're all over bruised from swearing and swerving from one lane to another to get out of range of the underage drivers, the ones who drink either before or during transit, the ones who can't see, who are holding babies on their laps, texting, or are listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for having passed the age of 115. I know all these people-they are the ones who gave me the finger when I tried to change lanes on the Southwest Freeway, the ones who wouldn't let me switch to the right so I could turn off the East Loop without creating a twelve care pile-up, or who smashed down on their horn button so hard they had to go to the emergency room when I casually slowed down to let a LOL (Little Old Lady) enter the center lane.
To top off this delicious adventure I got lost. Really Lost. Hopelessly wandering along something called Memorial Drive (probably named because so many have died on it and been buried under it). I was looking for a street called Chimney Rock so I went as far west as I could go before running into another county. No one ever told me that Chimney Rock now goes under another name. I went far, far west and then turned back and went far far east thinking I should eventually encounter this elusive street. Why did they change its name anyway? What was wrong with Chimney Rock? When I got to the farthest part of the east end (where Memorial suddenly becomes the Bolivar Peninsula Overpass (technically some 223 miles from downtown Houston) I decided to catch the attention of some citizen and share with him or her my despair. An official looking panel truck pulled up next to me at an intersection and I rolled down my window, shouted and pointed. He smiled and waved his hand while pointing in the opposite direction. By the time I looked around to verify his instructions he was gone. I pulled into the driveway of a used car lot attached to a repair shop and accosted a man in neck to toe coveralls. "Oh," he said, "You wanted to go there (accent on ‘there'as if it were the last place on earth)...well you go out that road, turn left, go one block turn right and keep on a-going." "What road?" I asked,"I don't see any road." "That over there. That's a road." He looked at me strangely as if I'd never seen a road before and he wondered what I was doing on one. "You mean where that white car is going?" "Check," he said as if he were looking at an important body part. "Just follow that car...or that car or that one." "You mean the red one?" "No I mean the van, the one with the dog hanging out the window." I didn't see the van or the dog but I gathered he was pointing to the road on the right. I decided to try it but he wasn't finished. "Go three blocks and take a right. Turn right again at the Katie's Kitchen sign and then keep on going until you see Crestview. Can't miss it!" But that time he'd lost me so completely I didn't dare say anything except thanks and goodbye.
I finally found a policeman in uniform at a convenience store who was willing to share his wisdom with me. "Just follow that white car." "Which white car, there are three of them?" "The one in the middle." Was he getting testy? Would he arrest me for insubordination? "Go about two miles and you'll see a sign that says ETEX FREEWAY or Highway 59, one or the other."
"Would that be 59 north?" I asked, suddenly feeling timid. "Oh no,no-you're going north?" he asked as if it were the first time he'd ever heard of someone going north. "Then you have to make a youwee..." and he waved his arms to describe the shape of a "U". He was still standing there smiling, his pistol and belt buckle shining in the sun, his arms in a dramatic circle as I took off. I finally yelled out my open window to a woman sitting in the passenger side of a red van. "You're doing right," she yelled, "Three miles and turn left..." I kept wondering as I drove along- did she say "You want to go left...three miles and turn right or was it the other way around?" I drove through a graveyard of mile high white pylons that looked like Greek ruins. There were orange cones all over the place. It looked as if somebody had attacked a road and left a mess. Somewhere in there was my road. My road going north and east. My road home. I suddenly remembered that somebody had told me I should buy a GPS. I immediately put it on my shopping list.