BY LAURIE EZZELL BROWN
Canadian came a little bit closer to achieving ghost town status this week when the school’s week-long spring break arrived, and much of the population fled to parts hither and yon. Bucking that trend, however, were Haskell fourth-grader Joselynne Tidrow and her family, who chose Canadian, Texas, as their spring break destination place.
To be honest, Canadian was less a choice than simple fate for young Joselynne, whose teacher had each of her students draw the name of a Texas town, and instructed them to learn something about it over spring break.
Joselynne’s parents took the assignment seriously. Clarissa and Denny Tidrow packed up the car on Sunday, loaded up Joselynne and their sons—eighth-grader Brayden and first-grader Kaysen—and headed north for the 226-mile journey to Canadian.
“At first, when I drew this town,” Joselynne said, “I thought it was going to be really boring. But my teacher, Ms. Moore—her aunt owns Kim’s Cottage. She told me this is a really cool town.”
Joselynne did her homework. To prepare for her trip, she performed an internet search, which returned somewhat predictable results. “I don’t know any really big facts,” she said. “The current news I know right now is a dead boy found near Lake Marvin, named Thomas Brown. He was gone for about two years.”
Joselynne also contacted the Canadian/Hemphill County Chamber of Commerce, which responded with a packet full of information about the town, along with an Aud t-shirt that she wore proudly during her two-day visit here this weekend.
During their tour, the Tidrows enjoyed a trip to the Gene Howe WMA, where they had planned to camp out, but were deterred by rain and 25-degree overnight temperatures.
They dined Sunday at the Cattle Exchange, where they enjoyed seeing the historic Moody Building and learning a little bit of its history as a fine hotel. During lunch, the waitress suggested the Tidrows book a room at The Last Cowboys Court, where they enjoyed learning about Hemphill County’s rich ranching heritage.
Joselynne’s favorite: the room featuring the Arrington Ranch, which she learned had been one of the filming locations for the Castaway movie. Joselynne said she hadn’t seen the movie yet, but her family planned to watch it as soon as they returned home.
Other highlights in their visit: a meal at the Canadian Restaurant, a walk around Sunset Park, a drive to Black Kettle, and a junket to Marshall Drive to see the whimsical sculptures of the late Pig Cockrell, creator of the more famous Aud dinosaur that overlooks Canadian from the caprock south of town. Kaysen’s favorite? Barney, of course.
During a drive around town, they were impressed with the beautiful homes and historic buildings on Main Street. The Sacred Heart Catholic Church was a pronounced “very beautiful,” and although The Citadelle Art Museum was closed Monday, Joselynne said they enjoyed the view from the outside, and hoped to see more on their next visit.
The family also enjoyed a walk on the historic Canadian River Wagon Bridge, which they learned a bit more about Monday in a visit to The Canadian Record office, where Joselynne and publisher Laurie Ezzell Brown interviewed each other.
After Monday lunch, Joselynne was booked for a “social media interview” with Tucker Brown for The Last Cowboys Court. The Tidrows hoped to get a tour of the City Drug Soda Fountain and Antique Treasures before heading back to Haskell.
When she returns to school next week, Joselynne will present her report to classmates, accompanied by lots of pictures, she said. According to the quick review the Tidrows gave us before they left, Canadian more than met expectations. “Beautiful and very friendly,” they all agreed. “Joselynne asked if we can move here,” her mom confided to us.
We won’t be too surprised to see the Tidrows, front and center, on the courthouse lawn this summer to watch the Fourth of July parade.