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On the way to Alice, Texas

Updated on April 28, 2012

On the road in Texas

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On the way to Alice, Texas

I was recovering from the totally unexpected and shocking heart attack and subsequent death of my beloved husband and my own equally unexpected diagnosis of cancer, by returning to studying. As part of our studies, students went out on clinical rotations to various medical facilities. My first port of call was in Alice, Texas. It was an hour out of town and a drive I was totally unfamiliar with. I had to put on my “big-girl pants” and get on with it and I did.

Since my arrival in the United States just over a decade ago, I have had to acculturate and re-learn a great many things. I learned English back home and American spelling and grammar is different, as are the sights, sounds and smells in this part of the world. Even the sun feels different here. Americans, as I have discovered, are very independent and by nature of their arrival in this country, hardy and rebellious. Gotta love them! I swear, I got to Texas as quickly as I could! I had to learn to reverse everything and drive on the RIGHT side of the road. I elected not to drive for my first five years here, until I felt sure I would not inadvertently turn the wrong way, an anomaly which I have to keep at the front of my consciousness at all times!

Back home...

I used to love driving in Johannesburg, South Africa. It is a big, sprawling city and it always took a fair amount of time to get anywhere. Back in the days when I was a single parent, I would drive to a destination, listening to classical music in my car, once I had dropped my son off at school or karate. That helped me to deal with big city traffic. I was confident then, knowing Johannesburg like the back of my hand. Coming to Texas became a whole new experience and a big learning curve for me. After my husband died and I faced my own mortality, I became quite nervous about travel. Texas is big. The cars are big. Many of the people are big. My fears were big. I did the only thing I could and took one day at a time. This helped me to avoid being totally overwhelmed.

Alice, TX

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Agua Dulce - Nueces County

As a new (but older) student, spic and span in my brand new scrubs with logo, short hair neat and tidy, freshly showered and taking the bull by the longhorns (so to speak), I got into my Honda CRV to drive the hour to Alice. The drive was a little hypnotic being so early in the morning (I always prefer to be early rather than late) and I was observing the speed limit using Cruise Control. There is a section of roadway where the speed limit reduces rapidly about three times in quick succession. My thumb was pressing the decelerate button. My speed was slowing, but not fast enough. Sitting and waiting patiently in a side street, was a Constable, waiting for someone to ticket - me. He got me doing fifteen miles per hour over the speed limit, (or was it twelve?) swung out of the side street, got up behind me and switched on his flashing lights. My heart nearly stopped. Up ahead was a rather derelict gas station (if you blink, you might miss the small town called Agua Dulce), so I dutifully pulled in there, switched off my engine and waited for the officer to approach. To my surprise, he yelled from his vehicle, “I need your driver’s license!” I held the card up through the open window. I was further surprised and rather nonplussed, when he said in an unfriendly tone, “Step out of your vehicle!”

Agua Dulce, TX

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My run in with the law!

Feeling rather crestfallen, this more mature woman in her new scrubs and squeaky clean shoes, with cleanly-washed face, short shampooed hair and wearing glasses, stepped out of her black Honda CRV and stood meekly beside her car door holding her driver’s license. I was not feeling trustful and decided not to approach the Constable. He got out of his vehicle and approached me with an unfriendly look on his face, eyes shielded by sunglasses. Truly, dear reader, I am not an imposing or threatening figure of a woman. I watched him through my spectacles while he sauntered over grouchily, took my driver’s license and said, “You know, you were speeding.” I replied with my rather English accent, “I had my thumb on the decelerate button.” He looked at me with some surprise, as I do look Hispanic, but as soon as I open my mouth, that notion is immediately dispelled, and the homegrown American begins to wonder where I come from. He checked the stickers on my windscreen…. errr.. windshield, to see whether they were up-to-date and found everything to be in order (I am a most law-abiding citizen), and then asked for my insurance papers. I reached into the glove compartment (cubbyhole) and handed them to him. Almost disappointed, he returned to his vehicle to write me a speeding ticket which he then handed to me. One hundred and eighty dollars!!!

Flower of Texas

Bluebonnets
Bluebonnets | Source

Defensive Driving Course

I got back into my car feeling deflated and ruffled, and I looked at the ticket, then got out again (the Constable looked rather surprised) and approached his window. I asked him about the information printed on the ticket to get my facts straight, and he grumbled a response, then I resumed my journey to the medical facility. According to my supervisor there, all “unfamiliar” vehicles that pass through that part of town, are watched closely. I don’t think I would make much of a bandit by any stretch of the imagination and when I returned home, I called the office of Justice of the Peace in Agua Dulce to object about the way I had been treated. Subsequently I took a Defensive Driving course online, a six-hour session in which you may NOT speed. Additionally, you are required to take timed breaks and cannot speed up the process at all. In the end, I paid almost as much as the fine but felt satisfied that I had done my bit to circumvent the whole affair and also dismiss my speeding ticket.

To add insult to injury, when I relayed my experience to my Instructor at college, he had no empathy for me at all and never could appreciate the fact that I was on my own in so many ways, struggling alone to deal with a great many challenges. I will say that I persevered and completed and passed my studies with flying colors despite the many roadblocks I experienced along the way.

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    • clairemy profile image

      Claire 5 years ago

      Oh, Suelynn I am sure at the time being stopped was not amusing but the way you have related the tale has left me with a rather large and immovable grin.

      I have never been to the 'states, And i don't think I would have been as patient and calm,having had 10yrs of dealing with the "Peacock" Caribiniere here .

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Small towns are notorious for handing out speeding tickets...especially to "strangers" driving through. So sorry that you had that experience on top of all the other upheavals in your life. Not exactly the "welcome to Texas" you were perhaps expecting. Keep your chin up! At least by taking that defensive driving class you should be getting a deduction on your auto insurance for a while. Voted up and welcome to HubPages!

    • Suelynn profile image
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      Suelynn 5 years ago from Manitoba, Canada

      Clairemy, I am so glad I got that grin pasted on your face! :) Love the way you describe your "Peacock" Caribiniere! :))))

    • Suelynn profile image
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      Suelynn 5 years ago from Manitoba, Canada

      Hi Peggy W,

      I guess you're right! I appreciate your kind sentiments and the wisdom attached! :) Thanks so much for the vote up and the welcome.. this is a good place to have dropped into!

    • profile image

      MarkKislingbury7 5 years ago

      Sue-Lynn, I really enjoyed this. Very interesting and well-written! Reminds me a bit of Leon Hale's articles, and his are big shoes to fill! Keep up the great work!

    • Suelynn profile image
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      Suelynn 5 years ago from Manitoba, Canada

      Hi Mark... so good to see you here! :) That's a wonderful compliment - thank you very much! I'm thinking I should pay you a visit before I finally depart Texas.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Suelynn, as a relative newcomer to this country and all alone now, you should be proud of yourself the way that you handled things. Just be grateful that you didn't have to go home to someone like that police officer!

    • Suelynn profile image
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      Suelynn 5 years ago from Manitoba, Canada

      LOL, aviannovice... GOOD POINT! Thank you... made me laugh! :)

    • Dale Hyde profile image

      Dale Hyde 5 years ago from Tropical Paradise on Planet X

      Wonderful hub! It brought back memories of my younger days when I was living in Corpus Christi and used to take those night drives out in the country on Highway 44 to Alice as well as other places. Loved to go to Aransas Pass and ride the ferry or cruise the T-heads and L-head. :) Thanks for the memory recall! Voted up and interesting. :)

    • Suelynn profile image
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      Suelynn 5 years ago from Manitoba, Canada

      Thank you so much, Dale! I always enjoy hearing about Texas from fellow Texans. I don't know too many roadways around here, but my late husband and father-in-law would always talk about which route to take. I find it lovely. I am glad to say I have been to Aransas Pass and been on that ferry a number of times. I haven't cruised but appreciated the waterways from land. Glad to have shared the memory and appreciate your response. Thank you for the votes! :)

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 5 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      This is a delightful hub. I am so sorry that you had a bad experience with the police officer in Texas. I too think you handled it very well. I am so sorry to hear of the passing of your husband and your own medical issue. You just "hang in there" and things will smooth out for you. You are obviously a kind person and I am sure you will find many friend there in Texas as well as here on HubPages. I hope you have a wonderful day! :)

    • Suelynn profile image
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      Suelynn 5 years ago from Manitoba, Canada

      Hi again, sgbrown and thank you for taking more interest! I know... I was rather taken aback by that police officer, but shook it off after a bit! Thank you for your kind words, I keep hearing the phrase: "what doesn't kills us makes us stronger" and the other: "the strongest swords are tempered in the hottest fires." I think I must be a pretty good sword by now! LOL! I have found friends here in Texas, and here at HubPages too. My next adventure will take me to Canada. Have a fabulous day. :)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      What an incredible adventure you have had in the past few years....sad for sure but my goodness, you do wear those big girl pants nicely! :) Small town cops are the worst by far in America and not a one of them has a sense of humor. You did well and I am proud of you for maintaining your sanity and your sense of humor. You are a wonder!

    • Suelynn profile image
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      Suelynn 5 years ago from Manitoba, Canada

      Billybuc, thank you for these remarks. I am still grinning and laughed out loud to my computer! I learned to wear big girl pants in the United States (thank you, America) and it is comments such as yours which make me feel so much better. I sometimes wonder where my sense of humor goes, but you have a way of bringing it out. You made my day and I thank you. :)

    • Deborah Brooks profile image

      Deborah Brooks Langford 4 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      Sue I am so sorry all that happened to you.. the speeding ticket .. losing your husband and being sick yourself. I am so glad you are on the hub and writing for us. Bless you my friend

      sharing

      Debbie

    • Suelynn profile image
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      Suelynn 4 years ago from Manitoba, Canada

      Dear Debbie: Thank you so much for saying. I am blessed to have made wonderful new friends like you on Hub Pages. xxx

      BIG HUGS!

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