An envisioning. . . 1965 as the earth shimmers in the August heat on the ranch near Hondo.

Oh to be here.

Texas yes but not Dallas. Lots of money and terrific ranch land. A room just for cocktail parties off the living room twice as big as the ones Mother’s friends had. Room to fit fifteen couples doing the cha cha and a man in white tie at the end behind the bar.

Life all right. Well, a husband dead and a new one found but seven children to tend instead of four. Enough money for a nurse but no. All right in the old neighborhood with all its oilmen and bankers with houses with two maids rooms apiece but not here. No, a tiny place with only two churches, a grocery store and what calls itself a department store but is nothing like Neiman Marcus and no one with more than ranch hands let alone help in the house.

But happy. Someone to dance with in the middle of the night when the work is done, and the desk and its ledgers closed for the night.

Still. The Bagdad supper club in Grand Prairie and its floor show with everything wafting towards the ceiling . . . waiters in white jackets coming out of the kitchens in a parade with silver trays held high and someone endlessly refreshing the champagne flutes out of the biggest bottle of Moët and Chandon that they have in New York . . .first husband proposing during dessert . . . gone in not too many years and much of the joy gone and not come back . . . but a memory forever and a picture to kiss. . .

Interior of the Bagdad supper club, Grand Prairie, Texas outside Dallas. Undated.
Interior of the Bagdad supper club, Grand Prairie, Texas outside Dallas. Undated. Public domain. via

This is not my story. It is the story, rather, of my old friend Michael M. whose Dallas big house reared mother, left a widow with four children on a cattle ranch in rural East Texas, remarried and made a dazzling success out of it all.