Its easy to say what Mentone, Texas, hasnt got: A hospital, a bank, a Wal-Mart, a stoplight. What it has got, in quality if not in quantity, is a wonderful assortment of local characters. They make the story. Take Lloyd Goodrich, for example. Lloyd has a masters degree in engineering but looks like he just stepped out of an old Western movie. He keeps all his junk in old dishwashers and refrigerators. Hes got them numbered and keeps an inventory of the contents on his computer. Its a gentle, harmless form of tax evasion, he confesses. Hed have to pay taxes if he actually put up a storage building.
There was really no worst about this assignment. The only downside was a little indigestion because the food tends to be on the greasy side. And you do have to drive a helluva long way to get anything because Mentone doesnt have a grocery store or a pharmacy. Theres a café, and thats itthat and the stray dogs.
I went to Mentone eight years ago when I was working on a story on the Pecos River. Who would have expected that Id ever return? The town itself has all of 15 people; its very existence is quirky. Ive been there twice; two times more than most people.