Before political correctness reared its ugly head, there was a hangout on the town square for older men with too much time on their hands. Tall tales were spun, world problems resolved, politicians skewered, and lots of tobacco juice was spat. We called it the Hookworm Bench.
In later years, it became known as the Cedar Tree and lost much of its charm. The domino players, who had previously played near the outside entrance to the rest rooms under the stairs leading to the second floor of the Court House, moved to the Hookworm Bench. The dignity of many of the players, among them more than a few County Office holders, lawyers, and prominent local business men, prompted a name change. Bear in mind, this is speculation on my part, as I was somewhere overseas when the change occurred, but this is my blog and I never promised to tell the truth about everything, or anything, for that matter. The simple fact is that a charming name got replaced by an unimaginative one, and my explanation is as good as any.
Anyway, some of us young boys hung out there occasionally, and were tolerated by the old timers, who probably cranked up their tall tales for our benefit. I don’t recall ever hearing any cussing or profanity from any of the regulars, nor were we youngsters allowed to use bad language. The Hookworm Bench could reasonably be considered a positive community asset.
I’m told that the Domino players still gather, but in my several stays in Sabine County in the last 5 years, I never saw anyone there. I hope it was just coincidence, and would be delighted to see a bunch of players spinning lies, with a crowd of kids listening in, even if we do have to call it the Cedar Tree. To me, it will always be the Hookworm Bench.