Thirty or so early morning travelers, some tailgating their breakfast, others standing in small groups with hushed voices. We met our guide, Don and his wife, Jocelyn, just prior to boarding what would be our comfy, rolling transport into our shared past. “Don, would we be able to bring aboard a walker?“, for the short jaunts to get a closer look at two of our stops. “Well, we’ve an almost full bus this trip, but we’ll find the space. Come aboard!”
Thus began our participation in the Hidden History Tour, a three hour excursion into the past of the City of Dallas and the people who make up part of her history. These people are the oft overlooked. The neighborhoods most of us had never traveled to, and had never heard their stories. There were stories of joy, community and faith. Stories of triumph and tragedy, perseverance in the face of great odds.
When asked of our group how many of us were native Dallasites, I was astounded to see more than half our hands raised. We were mostly PHPC folks but I had not thought this outing would have attracted such. But of course, those whose roots are deeply intertwined with this city would have an interest in knowing what they yet did not know. We learned of stories of neighbors, much like ourselves, who love this city and want the best for everyone in it, who find our common experience linked by some unknown love. We found connections to people we worship alongside and to other Presbyterians. We found connections with prominent families whose names were known to everyone and to names whom no one previously knew but were the object of quick Google searches seeking more information.
In the end, those of us who had the time, broke bread together (actually, BBQ and what our hosts called soul food, but wasn’t any more mysterious than entrees such as meatloaf and collard greens) at a locally owned restaurant. We laughed and learned more from each other and then headed for home or other destinations, a bit more invested in the health of our city and each other, the importance of our common human destiny recognized more fully.