Today is my last day in Paris, TX and I have to say I have mixed feelings on leaving. On one hand, I love visiting with my grandparents and the small farming town atmosphere has grown on me as it does every year I visit. Part of me would love to live a slower life, to have a nice farm house just out of town with an orchard, a pond, and a farm kitchen where I can use real butter for church potluck dishes. On the other hand, I am missing Michael a lot, missing my job a little, and am beginning to feel the walls of this little town closing in.
Small towns are wonderful. You always know the best places to eat and what to eat there. In Paris, my top places to go are Capezzi’s Italian Kitchen for chicken Marsala, Magel’s (pronounced MA-GLS) Grill for classic chicken fried steak, and Sandwiches, Ect. for their homemade chocolate pie. The chicken Marsala may not have any relation to real Italian food, but the sauce has enough butter, wine, and mushrooms in it to be amazing, the chicken fried steak I’ve had every time I’ve come to Paris since I was little, and the pie is so rich and creamy we often get a piece to take home. As you can imagine, I have a pressing date with a treadmill and a calorie counter when I get back to California. Each of these restaurants is unique to Paris and adored by the whole community. Sandwiches, Ect, which is only open for lunch five days a week, often has a line out the door and more trucks than can safely maneuver in its tiny parking lot. The lone pie chef comes in to bake fresh pies every morning and 5am and when the pies are gone, the shop is closed. The counter is manned my the owner and, in the summer, his daughters.
Capizzi’s Italian Restaurant– yummy Texan Italian food!
Magel’s Grill–used to be downtown before they moved to a bigger place on the loop. The old building used to be two floors with the steepest staircase I’d ever seen in a restaurant. The steak still tastes magically delicious though!
This is what Sandwiches, Ect looks like when the pies are all gone…
Paris is the kind of place that where you slip into a routine, where you run into everyone at the grocery store, and where you can drive from the good to the bad part of town in one block. I think that people from Los Angeles often forget that most of our country is made up of these small towns and the people who live in them. People who only want to be able to have their farm, go to church, and have a nice dinner on the town every now and then in peace.
My mom and I have been making a habit of driving around Paris in the afternoons to see what we can see. We’ve gone through the new large mansion homes on the outskirts of town and the old leaning wood houses on the inside of town. Today we took a spin on the loop that runs all the way around Paris. I had always thought that Paris was spilling over the loop on all sides of the town since, where my grandparents live on the east side, there are several new housing developments, but as soon as we passed the north end of town we were putting through open farm country dotted with rolled bales of hay. There is something magnificent about being so far away from a big city and in a lot of ways I can understand the pioneer’s desire to strike out for the west, or my great-great-grandfather’s choice to hop on a train from Gadsten, Alabama to Paris.
If California wasn’t so ingrained into my blood and the thought of spending all my days farming at the whim of the weather didn’t make me shudder, I would be tempted to move out to the rolling plains of eastern Texas. The land is cheap and the sky is open. Last night my mother and I watched as a dry thunderstorm swept overhead, bolts of lighting outshining any firework show as they lit up the sky only seconds apart. It was exhilirating to watch and a perfect send-off to my trip to Paris.