Somewhere Safe

Driving through the desert, white noise of wind and radio static lulls me away. Three words suddenly break my trance. Beer, wine, ice cream.

Freezer at a Closed General Store, Terlingua, Texas                                                                                                   Photo by Heather Holland

If I were to hide chocolate in the desert, a locked walk-in freezer wouldn't have many contenders. Looking closer, faded letters in all caps read, GROC, BEER, WINE, ICE, GIFTS, & MORE. More words come to mind. Bodies? Drugs? Stereotypes. 12 miles from the U.S border with Mexico, this closed convenience store sits between Lajitas and Study Butte. Boasting a population of 58 in 2010, Terlingua grew to be home to approximately 832 people as of 2014. There are two crisis centers in close proximity. The last time I was anywhere near here, Chapo Guzman was on the run. I know not to let my guard down, but somehow I felt safe. People here are friendly and mostly keep to themselves. I camped overnight in Terlingua Ghost Town, which isn't a town, but a mining district of Brewster County trapping tourists with live music late into the night.

An attraction larger than the Ghost Town alone, is the Terlingua International Champion Chili Cook Off. November 2-5th 2016 will mark it's 50th anniversary.  People don't come here for chocolate. So long as the freezer runs, a secret stash would be safe here. If you were to hide chocolate anywhere in the world, where would it be?