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From country to city, From farm to fireworks…Through marriage & children, Through employment & ownership, Life continues to be an amazing journey…

Monday, February 18

Big Spring Refinery Explosion

An icon of my childhood blew up today. The oil refinery in Big Spring, TX has been a landmark and the source of many distinct memories for as long as I can remember being alive. I was shocked to turn on my news this morning and find that there had been a large explosion there. Soon after, family members began calling to report their own experiences of the news. THERE ARE SOME GREAT PHOTOS HERE.

I had to laugh at news reporters that stated that Big Spring, TX sits between Dallas and El Paso! Well…yeah…I guess you could say that…but just about EVERYTHING in Texas sits between Dallas and El Paso! It more correctly sits between my home town of Colorado City, TX and Midland, TX, home of George Bush. Here’s A MAP so that the “foreigners” can better locate the small city. I also found it odd that I found reports of school closures and that administration personnel were asking parents to pick their children up as soon as possible. Weren’t Big Spring, TX schools CLOSED ANYWAY today like every other school is for President’s Day? What’s up with that?

My folks for YEARS were on a bowling league at the probably dilapidated and extinct bowling alley that sat at the east outskirts of Big Spring. At least once a week as a child we would travel the 36 miles to Big Spring to bowl. It was quite a treat for us children. That bowling alley had the greatest play room for kids. Way back then at least for farm children that never got to go hardly anywhere, it was like going to Disney Land once a week :)

Driving in, you could always see the billowing steam clouds coming from the massive pillars that seemed so much larger than life sitting against the flat farm landscape of that area. Leaving late at night, it was always just a beautiful amazement to see the bright lights against the night sky of West Texas. We would roll the window down and smell the pungent odors of refining oil and natural gas. There were always a few smaller pillars that would burst bright orange against the evening with a large open flame of exhaust burn. There were great noises of bustle and men at work that could be heard as you drove along the highway.

It’s amazing that only five people were injured in today’s explosion. My parents and sister that still live in Colorado City, TX said that they felt the walls and windows shake at the time of the explosion, 36 miles away. My ex-in-laws that live in Ira, TX, (Knapp) to be more specific stated that they actually heard the explosion and could still see smoke billows hours later. I’d say they are at least 20 miles away.

Besides the refinery and the bowling alley…Big Spring used to house a large military base. Upon its closing, that facility was later turned into a “country club” prison. There was also a famous nuthouse that was located in Big Spring. Not to mention that back in the days of more dry counties than still exist today, Big Spring was a place to drive to in order to purchase alcoholic beverages, or go to a rodeo or to a dance hall on the weekends.