If someone asks if I live in Dallas, I’m always quick to say, “No, Fort Worth.” Even though most people think of Dallas and Fort Worth as being one big city, those of us in Fort Worth strive to maintain our separate identity. We live near I-35 “W” rather than I-35 “E” and are convinced there are obvious advantages to being on this side of the Metroplex. Many times I have told folks that Fort Worth has all the amenities of a big city while maintaining a small town feel.
It just hit me this morning – that is no longer true.
The annual Main Street Art Festival is downtown this weekend. Sharon and I used to go to the festival. It was a treat viewing all the unique art and discovering the creativity of people around us. We will not be attending this year. In fact, it has been several years since we went. It is way too crowded. The same is also true for the Thanksgiving Parade each November and the fireworks display on Independence Day. It takes hours to get there and hours to get back home.
We still go downtown occasionally, a place voted the “Best Downtown” in America recently by some website, but seldom on Friday evening or Saturday – just too many people.
It is equally bad near our home on the north side of town. When we built our house we had a great view of the Fort Worth skyscrapers from our back porch. Now all you can see behind our house is a three-story green apartment complex, a Seven-Eleven, and twenty thousand cars a day. A few miles further north is a huge racing complex where nearly one-hundred thousand folks gathered last weekend. If you still doubt the economy has made a comeback come and drive around my neighborhood.
It just dawned on me that I can no longer boast about the small-town feel of my hometown. Things have changed. I have watched it happen. I noticed everything as it was happening, but it seems like all of a sudden we have lost what made us unique.
I was excited when they built a Razoo’s five minutes up the road, but now if we go there to eat on the weekend it will probably be an hour and a half wait. The more neat stuff we get the more difficult life becomes.
That seems to be the way it is with most of life. The more we have the more difficult life becomes. Life was pretty simple when Sharon and I could pack all our earthly belongs in the smallest U-Haul trailer. Now we have a full two thousand square foot house with a storage shed in the backyard, I still rent an extra storage garage. Life is much more complex because of all my stuff.
I loved thinking about having all the neat things in my neighborhood – great restaurants, abundant shopping just down the road, amazing entertainment venues, and just about any kind of service you can imagine. We now have all that, but we no longer have the small town feel.
Fort Worth is still better than Dallas, but we have lost one important distinction that will never come back. I guess I could get rid of a bunch of my stuff and move to a small town. It probably won’t happen. After all, I am looking forward to dinner tonight at Razoo’s, even if we have to wait in line.