Archive for February 11th, 2009
I was born in St. Louis and moved to Dallas when I was 11. In 1996, I went to school in Columbia, MO. So, for about 11 years, from the age of 11 until I graduated college at 22, I drove from Dallas to Missouri and back 2 or 3 times a year to either visit family or to go back and forth from school. I got to know the trip well. From St. Louis, you head southwest on I-44. You will pass through Springfield and Joplin and then under the big McDonald’s that stretches across the highway. When you get to the big truck stop in Big Cabin, OK, you head south on US 69. After passing through Muskogee and McAlester, you will get to Durant. Just outside of Durant is the famous Choctaw Bingo. There are almost as many billboards for Choctaw Bingo as there are for Meramec Caverns, Walnut Bowls and Vasectomy Reversals.
So imagine my surprise one day six years ago when I was driving down Clayton Road to the Amoco in the middle of the Road at Big Bend, listening to either Bob’s Scratchy Records or Fishin’ With Dynamite on KDHX, when I heard a song in the great Texas storytelling tradition describing that exact same route I was so familiar with. I was totally sucked into it and sat listening in my car for a good 5 minutes until I got out to put gas in the tank.
The song was “Choctaw Bingo” by James McMurtry.
Here’s a live clip of it: