On Wednesday evening, we attended the unveiling of the Texas Historical Commission plaque at the corner of Cedar Springs and Throckmorton, the first such recognition in the state for the LGBTQ community. That intersection, long known as “The Crossroads,” has deep meaning for many of us in that community, both individually and collectively.
The concept of a crossroads is inherently appealing. A place where people from all directions come together to meet in the middle. I like that. To me, it’s different from the idea of a “fork in the road,” with its implication of choosing an option of which direction to take. We’ve all come to one of those forks and decided which way we wanted to go. In fact, my choice years ago to move to Dallas instead of Houston or New Orleans is the reason I was at the unveiling in first place.
To be fair, I suppose a crossroads can be seen as a place from which people go OUT in all different directions. But I don’t see them that way. Maybe because I spent so much time with Daddy driving around rural East Texas on country roads and hoping that there would be a stop at a small town café when we got to the next crossroads.
Of course, the crossroads talk these days is about the midterm elections, coming up in less than a month. As long as I can remember, news commentators and politicians at about this time in election season are on television intoning, in grave voices, that “the nation is at a crossroads.” Why so grave? Maybe there’s a Dairy Queen at the crossroads.
Usually, I think of national elections as being forks in the road. Are we going to veer left or right? And are we going to participate in choosing that direction or will we leave it to the people who do vote to decide for us?
This time around, we are being told—once again—that this may be the most important midterm of our lifetimes. Certainly there are more women running for office. Certainly there are more LGBTQ candidates this year. And there are three African American candidates for governor, which is quite remarkable considering only two black governors have ever been elected in the history of the country. So this time around, I agree this may be that most important election they keep talking about. And that’s before you throw Trump into the mix.
But I was talking about roads before I got off into politics. I remember one road in East Texas, and I wish I could remember where it was. It was a nice wide four lane road, straight, not divided—the kind of road you can do 60 on and not put your life at risk. I recall driving down that road, maybe moving up to 65, when a sign appeared that said, “Stop Ahead.” Stop ahead? I’m in the middle of nowhere. There’s not a crossroads coming up, and certainly no place to get a steak finger basket.
But sure enough, the stop sign came into view and the road I was on ended. No fork. I was sitting at an intersection, sort of a “T.” Just a right way to go, and a wrong way to go. Nothing ambiguous about it. Fortunately, I knew which way to turn, even if I hadn’t anticipated this stop sign. All I had to do was use the steering wheel to point the car in the right direction.
Oh, and give it some gas. You always have to give it some gas to get where you need to be.