I live at the epicenter of a Metroplex, consisting of a conglomeration of Texas cities anchored by Dallas on the east and Fort Worth on the west. These two cities sit thirty miles apart on a mostly flat plain in North Central Texas. Actually, “sit” is not a proper description, as all the cities that make up this Metroplex seem to be in perpetual motion. Traffic speeds from point A to point B and back again in an endless mechanical dance. New freeways and toll roads are being built as fast as can be constructed, but cannot keep pace with demand.
Is Metroplex a word? My spell check does not recognize it. Some one thought to lump these two major Texas cities and all connecting suburbs into one all encompassing word and Metroplex was born. Of course, it could have been born somewhere else and only moved here like so many others have done. At one time news reports said the area was growing at the rate of 1000 people a month. I’m not sure if that number has increased or declined. I’m also not sure if it means we are a complex metropolis or that we have a metropolis complex.
Esteemed writer Norman Maclean wrote: “Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it.” That’s an interesting theory and is exactly what seems to be happening with all the many cities that have sprung up here. And yes, a river, the Trinity, does run through it.
Dallas is a huge bustling many splendored city of glass skyscrapers, whose wealth is based mostly on, uh, hmmm, I guess it is based on money. Dallasites tend to think of themselves as more sophisticated and cosmopolitan than Fort Worthites which bills itself as the place where the West begins. However being sophisticated did not keep Dallas from erecting an impressive cattle herd made of bronze near city hall.
Fort Worth is the smaller of the two cities and professes to have a slower, more relaxed pace. Its wealth is based on oil, cattle and airplanes. It has a goodly number of very nice museums, for the most part designed by foreigners. I haven’t exactly figured out the reasons for that. And it is host to the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition each year, which is a pretty sophisticated event for a city that isn’t supposed be sophiscated.
Fort Worth has not forgotten it was once a stopover on the Chisholm Trail and the cowboy mystique is alive and well, especially in the Stockyards area where in recent years they added a live longhorn herd for tourism and old-times sake.
Jeans and ties are appropriate attire for men for almost any “dress-up” event in Fort Worth. But the jeans must be starched and ironed to a knife-edge crease. If a tuxedo should be required it can still be worn with cowboy boots. They can be made of patent leather if need be, but they are still cowboy boots.
Expect to be hearing more about the city of Arlington in the future. It is the largest of the cities between Dallas and Fort Worth and in the past its major claim to fame was the Texas Rangers baseball team and Six Flags over Texas amusement park. But in 2009, a new sports and entertainment arena was built in order to be the new home of the Dallas Cowboys whose previous home arena was never in Dallas but rather in Irving. A lot of people are still shaking their heads and wondering why Dallas did not roll out a red carpet and whatever tax breaks necessary to coax Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones to locate the new Dallas Cowboy stadium in Dallas but they didn’t and he didn’t and a new chapter is being written in the Metroplex book. Stay tuned, it looks like it will continue to be very interesting.
Dorothy Hamm © 2009
Previously published in Texas Escapes E-Zine