On Wednesday, Jan. 21, 1998, at 6:48 p.m. did anyone else in Lake Highlands hear that “giant sucking sound” coming from White Rock Swamp? No, it wasn’t Ross Perot Jr. celebrating the arena victory. And it wasn’t the new Cowboys’ cheer, either.
In fact, it was the kick-off of the long-awaited dredging of the muck and the yuck from the bowels of a lake whose rocks haven’t been all that white for a while.
I was on hand for the very first day of dredging and was able to witness quite an assortment of treasures and trash (and a lot of creepy-crawly things) that have been hidden from sight for decades. These discoveries and recoveries have not been publicized by the local press because we have not yet found anything belonging to Monica Lewinsky. But your ace investigative reporter was there for this exclusive scoop – and what was in it.
Imagine my surprise when the very first scooper contained my very own Suburban, which was stolen from a Downtown parking lot a few years ago. At least, I thought it had been stolen, They found a note inside the glove compartment that read: “Boy, wouldn’t Bill be mad if he knew that the car wasn’t stolen but that I had really accidentally turned the wrong way at Winfrey Point! I sure hope they never dredge the lake – Liz.” Well, well!
The next interesting item unearthed was a photograph taken just before the famous photograph of Jerry Jones and Jimmy Johnson at Mia’s smiling and reaching a deal to make Johnson the new Cowboys head coach, In this photograph, though, they’re yelling at each other and playing tug-of-war with a flour tortilla.
And then there was an advertisement in a really old edition of the Dallas Morning News for a cabaret called The Rising Yeast, inviting patrons to come see Flossie Baird’s famous buns (this was apparently before she went into the baking business).
Here’s a real collector’s item: an old record album titled “Mr. Peppermint Goes Altoid: My Years with Steppenwolf.”
They also recovered quite a stash of cardboard signs rejected by panhandlers because the message was apparently determined to be ineffective: “Will Stand on Corner All Day, But Won’t Go Get a Job.”
And if it seems like Ebby Halliday has been “selling Dallas” forever, there’s a good reason. We scooped up a residential real estate contract for Ebby to sell John Neely Bryan’s cabin; on the contract, Bryan wrote to Ebby: “Nice hairdo.”
They also scooped up a book about a Dallas civic leader who, in the 1890s, advocated spending $2 billion to build a fixed rail system, even though it did not reflect the population density of the area, because the rail system would give Dallas the image of a “modern” city. The story ended when that guy was tarred and feathered and ridden out of town on his own fixed rail. Oh, for the good ol’ days.
Moviegoers are fascinated by footage of the Titanic at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. But how about looking forward to footage of the battle canoe of the mighty Cocopoa Indian tribe, which lies at the bottom of White Rock Lake, a grim reminder of the consequences of going renegade in the YMCA Indian Princesses.
Yes, there are a thousand stories in the naked city – and the bottom of the silty lake. Will one of those stories be yours?