Thursday, October 26, 2006

Carl's Corner

I don't pay much attention on the drive from D/FW to Austin, but there's a place between Dallas and Waco called Carl's Corner, which is a broken down truck stop, but it was something in its day back in the 80's, with showers, hot tubs and swimming pools for truckers. Carl Cornelius, with the help of his long-time friend Willie Nelson, is reviving his truckstop with Willie's bio-diesel. There are so many choice quotes in this article that it's hard to pick, but if I must:
I met the fabulous Carl Cornelius not quite a year before the original Carl’s began its operation. We had a mutual friend, a Dallas man named Monk White, who, in his natural prime, was the most famous stockbroker in the United States. Monk and Carl were involved in a land transaction, the land where the truck stop would be. My job would be to act as the, uh, publicist for what was to come.

Carl insisted on driving up to Dallas to conduct our high-level strategic discussions. These took place at Ma Brand’s, a pressure-cooker bar somewhere around Samuell Avenue. A pressure-cooker joint is a strange genre of drinking establishment. The doors open at 9 am, and by 10:30, the place is packed. Housewives would throw a stew in a pressure cooker, drop the kids off at school, then drive to Ma Brand’s. There they would dance with a stranger, adjourn to a nearby motel for a nooner, take a shower, pick up the kids, and race home in time to serve the stew. Carl didn’t go for the nooners. He just liked to dance.
Oooh, pressure-cooker bar, huh? Is a pressure cooker like a crockpot? Name's not as sexy, I guess. (Snip)
Carl was rolling. What he did next was convince the people living in the doublewides on the unincorporated property that surrounded the truck stop to vote to turn Carl’s Corner into a town. Then Carl staged an election, and his townspeople agreed that becoming the only place on the highway between Dallas and Waco that sold alcohol was a swell idea.

Now the Corner was poised to thrive. National media seemed enthralled with the notion of a town like this. Carl was featured, for instance, on a segment of A Current Affair. I actually called my parents and insisted they tune in. “I invented this character,” I emphasized, and then watched Carl on coast-to-coast TV, standing in his parking lot, and, on camera, say to some woman, “Come on inside and I’ll give you an enema.”
Colorful character. I'll leave the rest for you to read at your leisure.

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