Fort Parker through the years

Submitted by Rusty Stone

I only wish I had pictures of those days out at Fort Parker State Park.  Back when I was going to high school in Mexia, every weekend my friends and I would load up the volleyball poles (metal poles that had been concreted in a tire for the base) in our pickup and anything else we could gather together and head to Fort Parker for some long days of what we thought were some great volleyball games.  

We would usually set up behind the old CCC pavilion where we could rest a bit in the shade between games.  It was one of those deals where the first one that could get away would pick up the poles and the rest of us would get there as soon as we could. 

It was a place where we could go, have a great time playing ball and maybe slip away for a walk with one of the young ladies that came out to play with us.  At that age, you know everything and think you are pretty much invincible, so there was always plenty of testosterone strutting around, shirts off, the whole show. Looking back now, we were pretty pathetic, but at the time we thought we were it.  Some days we would swim, other days we would rent paddleboats and other times we would just lie around and do nothing.  The atmosphere was always so enjoyable and relaxing.  

Growing up close to Fort Parker State Park and the historic fort  provided many memories growing up.  When in elementary school we went out to the “Indian Fort” to look around and then traveled over to the park and had a picnic by the lake.  It was so cool to go up on the walls of the fort and look through the holes where you would shoot at the enemies that were attacking the fort.  We shot many a bad guy before we left. Then later on when we were studying Texas history in school, we took another field trip out to the fort to learn about our local history and the Parker family.  We have also taken school class pictures and graduating pictures at the fort.  

My family also would celebrate summer holidays at Fort Parker.  I remember as a little kid going early with my in-laws to the picnic area by the lake and “holding tables” until the rest of the family arrived.  You couldn’t reserve tables so we would go early and stake ‘em out for the rest of the family.  Man would we eat.  As a young boy it seemed like we had more food than we could ever eat and it was always the good stuff:  hotdogs and burgers we grilled right there on the pit with chips and desert.  I couldn’t wait until I was old enough to put the charcoal in the pit and light it by myself.  Even getting ready to go was fun. To have a picnic you had to have soft drinks, different flavors of  “cokes” and to keep them cold we had to stop by the icehouse on the way to the park.  You could get crushed or block and the worker would get which ever you wanted and put it in your chest. That was one of the coolest jobs when you were a kid; going back there where all the ice was made, where it was always cold. 

Just bringing back these old memories makes me want to head out to the nearest park, cook some burgers and maybe even play a little volleyball.

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