“God damn tourist eatin’ up all the bagels!” screamed a white-haired old lady in line ahead of me at the Bread and Breakfast. I shrunk behind her hoping she wouldn’t turn and identify me as one of them. Because that is exactly what I was in 2004. One of those awful people from Houston who come into town going the wrong way on the one way streets, smiling at the town deer, and eatin’ up all the food before the locals can get up for their usual. I don’t remember what the old lady looked like. I probably see her all the time, but don’t recognize her because now that I’m a local(ish) she’s probably real sweet and I probably let her cut the line ahead of me at the grocery store.
I’ve actually lived in Alpine during two periods. I moved here the first time in 2006. During that initial period I stopped living in sin with my now husband, David, and I worked three jobs: one at a dollar store, one at the Alpine Avalanche, and one at the Alpine Public Library. David and I left Alpine in 2011 to attend the University of North Texas for our Masters in Library Science. It’s odd that it was during my time away from West Texas that I began illustrating George Covington’s bi-weekly column in The Big Bend Sentinel. As a bonus, this came with a gratis copy of the newspaper so I was never behind on Big Bend happenings. As luck would have it, I had the opportunity to come back to Alpine in 2015 and in many ways it feels like I never left.