OPINION

WILDER'S WHOLE WORLD: Remembering Underwood's Barbecue, Gibson's Discount, Piggly Wiggly

By Dwayne Wilder
Special to the Herald Democrat

I get in trouble discussing local places that are no more. My memory tends to be less than reliable. And I hear from readers in such cases which is fine. I never professed to be an expert, just someone who had experiences you might have had in the Twin Cities of far North Texas over the past 50 years or so.

Three places came to mind recently as I had an episode of reminiscing: Underwood’s Barbecue, Gibson’s Discount and Piggly Wiggly. Facebook is a wonderful thing; you can get information you never knew you needed at any given time. In the past year, I have seen posts that show these long- forgotten places of Texoma alive and well in different areas.

Facebook friends have traveled and come upon such places from their childhood memories in Sherman and Denison. It is a cool thing, for sure! Of course, I can’t remember who posted or where it is, but the most amazing one to me is Underwood’s Barbecue. That restaurant on US 75 North (now Texoma Parkway) was a mainstay for many families in the 1960-70s. Our family went there regularly; and I don’t even like barbecue, but I loved Underwood’s.

I had no idea that there were other Underwood’s Barbecues in the world! Once it closed in Sherman, I simply thought that it was gone forever. I am just as amazed that I didn’t see there were others for more than 40 years! But I guess that’s the power of the Internet and Facebook…

If I can ever find out where it is; and can make plans to travel that way, there might just be some barbecue in my future someday….

Please don’t hold me to this, but I’m going with my memory on Gibson’s. I think the post said it was in Kerrville, Texas?! I don’t know why I think this, but it’s the first city that comes to mind when I think of seeing it on Facebook. Regardless of where it is, the idea of a working, open Gibson’s in this day and age just blows my mind. My childhood is full of Gibson’s memories, even from before they added the grocery part to the building on Texoma Parkway (at the corner of Broughton Street).

I bought so many 45s in the Gibson’s record department; and we got clothes there and housewares. It was such a cool place to go; a classic place to be, which gave way to the Walmarts of the world in later years. My father actually predicted Gibson’s demise as he said they were overextended in their business plan. He was right; they got too big too fast; and couldn’t support their massive infrastructure across the region (nation?). I think the ones in Sherman and Denison closed in the 1980s, but don’t quote me!

Now, the last one is more a personal incident than a FB post, but I have seen it on social media, too. We were driving through Alabama once; and lo and behold: there was an open, thriving Piggly Wiggly Grocery Store at a stoplight. We actually stopped and shopped for old times sake. It was so surreal to be in a Piggly Wiggly after working in one in Sherman during the 1970s. Yet, it looked the same; some updating, but basically the same set-up. Shur-Fine products filled the shelves along with the name brands; that brought back some memories! Wow!

Underwood’s, Gibson’s and Piggly Wiggly all hold a special place in my heart as they were among the backdrops to my most formative years. These were the places I went; where I worked my first job and where I was part of the music landscape when that was the hip place to be. These are the memories we hold dear as we age and reflect on the experiences that brought us to where we are today.

It is wonderful to know that these places still exist somewhere, even if we are unaware of them, so others can gain the memories and insights to life in general within the walls of special places you go with family and loved ones on a regular basis. You don’t know you are doing it; but when you can look back on the memories as a whole, you are touched by their power in your life. I know I am.

Now, if anyone ever finds and posts about a ‘City News’ open and ready for browsing, I will be shocked. But not for long because I’ll be getting in my car ready for a road trip…

Dwayne Wilder

Dwayne Wilder is a Sherman native who currently lives in Denison. Wilder’s Whole World is his commentary about life in Texoma and the world. Wilder can be reached at cmandad17@gmail.com. The views and opinions expressed here are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Texoma Marketing and Media Group.