EARTH, Texas – Along the backroads of Lamb County, you’ll find a place we’re farming and ranching still reign supreme.
It’s the way of life in the far outreaches of the Lone Star State, where the nearest cities of substantial size seem like they’re in a far off galaxy. That is until you land upon Earth.
Jerry Carpenter has spent 47 years of his life on….I mean in Earth and today he’s got the top title in town as mayor.
When we asked to see their leader, this former firefighter and maintenance man answered the call.
“I married a lady from here. That’s what brought me to Earth!” said Carpenter.
But he’s not the only salt of the Earth people we ran into in this town.
Helen Hulcey is a lifelong resident of Earth along with Todd Moore.
“You’d be surprised how fascinated people are by the name ‘Earth.’ You just don’t hear that,” Helen said.
In a town of just over 1,000 people, time can get away from you, which is odd when you’re a visitor, considering how it seems like the one-day Earth stood still. Even if it’s not listed on the marque of town’s abandoned theater.
Established in 1924 by Rancher William Halsell, all this space used to be part of the XIT Ranch. It’s been said that Tulsa and Fairlawn were first considered for the name of the town but for some reason or another Earth came light and the reason why is still something no one is real sure about. But if you want a hot cup of coffee and good conversation, The Wolverine is about the only place to go.
That’s where we ran into Todd and Helen. A pair of Earthlings that have known each other for literally a lifetime.
“Both good and bad. They’re always knowing what you’re getting into,” said Todd.
“You can’t get by with it, too,” added Helen.
“There was a lot of it you didn’t know about,” Todd replied.
Helen has seen her share of days in Earth.
“I am glad that I stood firm and stayed here all my life. And I’m glad I married a man that would allow that,” said Helen.
Despite her commitment and love for this town, her sons didn’t feel the same.
“My son will get on the phone for me, talking about Tennessee, or the one in Oklahoma, we’ll talk about Oklahoma, about how terrible of people. I say, see what I mean? I told you not to leave Earth. And they didn’t listen!” Helen said.
“A lot of these old people, they can’t get out of the windmill,” Todd added.
Todd Moore talks a big game, but he too has never left. He’s too busy running his restaurant which has been in the family since 1959. And unlike Helen, Todd has family to lean on – his daughter Heather.
“It’s a unique situation. I get to have my family around. My daughter went off to college, decided she liked the small town, the way she was raised, the way I was raised, so she brought her, she’s raising her daughter in this business now,” said Todd. “It doesn’t get any better than that.”
Despite being one of the friendliest places on Earth, and the only place on Earth named Earth, this lifestyle and way of life isn’t for everyone.
“One time, we were a thriving community,” said Carpenter. “But it’s just like all the small communities in this part of the state of Texas here, the kids grow up and they move off and they want to go somewhere where they can draw big money like Dallas, Houston, you know, areas like that, and they don’t ever move back home.”
And so Earth continues to spin, slowly. Striving to survive and keep its Lone Star State way of life alive knowing that one day, just maybe, people will return to Earth. So don’t waste too much time getting here so you can meet Earthling that are proud of where they come from, their way life, and have a love for each other that only a destination the size of Earth can provide.
“What does it mean to me to know that I’ve lived here in Earth all my life? I wouldn’t change it for a million dollars. I wouldn’t,” said Helen.