Fort Worth, TX: October, 2014
by John Delach
…And aside from that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?
Let’s get the bad news out of the way before cutting to the chase; the Dallas Cowboys won the game on Sunday, October 19, defeating the Football Giants 31 to 21.
My son, Mike, joined me for our annual Giants road game this time to visit America’s team in AT&T Stadium, (a.k.a. Cowboy Stadium and a.k.a. Jerry’s World) in Arlington, Texas. We were part of a crew of a hundred faithful traveling with the Giants Road Crew travel service. We chose their venue because they were staying in Fort Worth and not Dallas. Arlington is closer to Fort Worth and I’ve stayed many times in Big D, but never before in Cowtown.
Our first priority on arrival at the Fort Worth Hilton early Friday afternoon was to secure libations, beer for Mike and vodka for me. Beer, we discovered, was less of a challenge to find, but the Hilton’s “Journey Ambassdor” (sic) Mike Goldberg, a.k.a. Papa Mike, explained that Fort Worth was a dry town when it came to retail sales of spirits.
Papa Mike looked like an unmade bed and we learned that his advice was not always the best. After some jabbering, he managed to get us directions to a package store with the disturbing name of “Liquor-rama.” Located in a wet town several miles east of the hotel, we found it located in a seedy strip mall also featuring a pawn shop and a bail bondsman. The 1.75 liter bottle of Russian Standard Vodka turned out to be the most expensive bottle I ever bought. No, they didn’t rip me off. Nope, they only charged $26 for the vodka, it was the $35 round-trip cab ride that broke the bank.
We had a great dinner at the original Del Frisco’s that night and an early bedtime partially due to not having pay-per-view movies in the room. No porno in Cowtown!
Saturday morning, I discovered something curious about the hotel that reflected the pride that this city holds and openly presents about events related to the day JFK was assassinated. Here is how a Hilton brochure described it:
Opened in 1921, the Hilton Forth Worth is the former Hotel Texas where President John F. Kennedy and the First Lady stayed on November 21, 1963.The next morning, after a speech in the Hotel’s Crystal Ballroom, the President’s motorcade departed, taking with it the final moments of a more innocent America.
Located directly across from the main entrance of the historic Hilton Forth Worth you will find the all-new JFK Tribute Park. Opened in the fall of 2012, the park recaptures the energy and vision brought to Fort Worth 50 years ago during John F. Kennedy’s visit to our city. The tribute park provides visitors with an interactive experience, highlighted by a 9’ bronze statue (of the president.)
I understand their intentions, but, having lived through that day, it remains a shock to my system.
We spent Saturday morning walking through parts of this compact city where we encountered a fair number of Texas Christian and Oklahoma State football fans on their way to the game wearing purple (TCU) or orange (OSU) gear with banners and flags flying, horns blaring accompanying their joyous cheers. The TCU Horn Toads’ prevailed 42-9 over the OSU Cowboy faithful.
Then on to the Stockyards, the old cattle holding and shipping area now a grand tourist mecca of shops, bars and restaurants featuring rodeos, a tourist railroad, entertainment and gunfights. We attended the daily “stampede” featuring cowboys on horseback escorting a small herd of Longhorn steers as they moseyed down the main drag in slow motion. The day’s highlight happened when a diminutive woman from Connecticut gleefully found my son. Maurya Keating was an old friend from the Nutmeg State and she spotted Mike crossing a street. We continued the reunion at the White Elephant Saloon with her Dallas friends.
Mike and I were amazed at the number of folks who wished us luck after seeing Giants logos on our shirts. Some were transplanted from the Northeast, but others were Fort Worth inhabitants who just hated Dallas. It seems the Dallasens look down on the Fort Worthians in the same manner that NYC’s East Siders treat Staten Islanders, like dirt.
Billy Bob’s was crazy, huge with 10 or so bars, performers on stage, endless HD TVs and the mechanical bull (which we avoided.) And the crowd: Texas gals with big hair, big boobs covered by sequined cowgirl shirts, tight jeans with big buckles and high-heeled boots escorted by slim guys sporting authentic cowboy hats, mustaches, checkered shirts, jeans, big buckles and boots; each looking like a Texas Ranger: One riot, one Ranger!
My son came up with two extra tickets to the game so we invited his two cousins, Bill and Tom, displaced New Yorkers who remain true to Big Blue. Rose did another fabulous job with the location of our stadium tailgate, the food and drink.
AT&T Stadium is the best venue on earth for American football and Jerry Jones has enlisted Texas size entertainment. Cops on motorcycles, babes on horses, an American flag shaped like the continental USA, a half-time led with bagpipes and featuring every type of uniformed peace officer in Texas, and, of course, the Dallas Cheerleaders.
Two of us sat in Row 7 of the 100 seat level, just above the playing field behind the end zone. Several times during breaks, these lovelies performed their routine on an elevated platform stretching from sideline to sideline. The view during breaks was spectacular.
How bout dem Cowboys!