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The Feed Sack, Windom City Park make for perfect evening

The Feed Sack, Windom City Park make for perfect evening
The Feed Sack

Although the city limit signs say 198, the population must have doubled tonight. Downtown Windom, Texas, is quaint and consists of an old highway that bisects the central business district and passes in front of a row of historic buildings that, despite the sad trend in many small Texas towns, are remarkably well cared for and functional. The row of buildings consists of, and not necessarily in this order, a feed store, an old bank building, city hall, and a general store. Around the downtown area, well-kept homes of various eras highlight the electricity of architecture in this small Texas town. It feels comfortable here.

On downtown proper’s western corner, the sidewalk is busy. Cars and trucks line the street while friends and strangers alike visit beneath the flat awning of the Windom Feed Sack restaurant. Even over the conversational buzz, I can hear the steadily cadenced creak of the rockers as they speed up and slow down in rhythm with the ambient conversation.

Inside the restaurant, the place is packed, which is typical for a Saturday night. Walking in, I peruse the crowd and see a few people that I recognize and wave at while I, my wife, and kids make our way to some old church pews to wait for a table to become available. The decor of the restaurant is fitting with the ambience of the building.

When I was younger, this building was Oliver’s Store. I don’t know if that was the official name but that’s what we always called it. When Windom still had a school, the kids in my class would come to Windom and take driver’s education with the kids from Windom. Individually, each school didn’t have enough students to have a class, but combined, I guess it made more sense to hire an instructor. During the break in class, we’d walk from the school to the store for snacks and drinks. Even after driver’s ed was long complete, I’d still make my way over to the store to lunch on thick-cut ham sandwiches, sweet tea, and the most incredible coconut cream pie I’ve ever had.

While the store has been closed for a few years, the Feed Sack does a good job at keeping the spirit of the store alive. The walls and ceilings, decorated with local signs and memorabilia, provide a vintage vibe in which the diners thrive.

The Feed Sack offerings are primarily catfish and seafood and is served buffet-style. Periodically, the line stalls a bit as people visit with one another but no one seems to mind. While this is a restaurant, it almost feels like a Saturday get-together with family and friends.

When I get in line, I help my kids with their supper and then load up my plate with fried catfish, boiled shrimp, onion rings, and hush puppies. I tackle each entree one by one, saving the catfish for last. I grew up in Fannin County, whose culture is decidedly a Southern one. As such, I’ve eaten plenty of catfish. The catfish at The Feed Sack is among the best I’ve ever had. So good, I ate a piece as the main course and then supplanted the blackberry cobbler for another go at more catfish. By the end of the evening, I am stuffed.

No worries, however. Across from the restaurant is the Windom City Park, which consists of some swings, slides, and an old-school merry-go-round. Modern playgrounds don’t have these staples of vintage play spaces so I tell my kids to jump aboard. After 10 minutes of pushing them in circles, I don’t feel as turgid as before and jump on with them. As the sun sets behind a couple of grain elevators, my brother and I started telling stories to our wives while my kids giggle at each other while the merry-go-round eases to a stop. The summer evening is light with humidity and a slight breeze makes the weather comfortable. It is a perfect summer evening in Windom.

Russell A. Graves is an outdoor author and top-notch photographer. Any questions or comments? Contact Graves at russell@russellgraves.com or visit his website at www.russellgraves.com.

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