My sister Micha lives in Round Rock, an Austin suburb known for downtown shootouts, ballpark shutouts, and corporate output. But the name “Round Rock” had to come from somewhere, and one day I wondered out loud about its origins.
Micha said simply that the name came from a round rock, duh. Does this rock still exist, I asked. Yep, she said. Knowing how much of a histophile I am, Micha asked if I wanted to check out this significant stone.
We hopped in her car and soon got lost down winding roads and twisted back trails. Like a little kid who saved up box tops, sent off for the propeller beanie hat, and couldn’t wait for it to arrive, I kept a keen watch, expecting the rock to pop up at anytime. Visions of El Capitan, Half Dome, and Gibraltar danced in my head.
Soon enough, we stopped on a low bridge crossing Brushy Creek. Micha parked our vehicle and hopped over to the bridge rail. I followed her, scanning my surroundings in excitement.
Dramatically, she gestured east and exclaimed, “Ta-dah!” I didn’t see anything but low water, nearby office buildings, and the buzzing line of cars known as Interstate 35.
“Where is it?” I asked.
“Over there,” she said. All I saw was water, with a small rock peeking out from its surface.
“Behind that rock?”
“No, that is the rock!”
It protruded out of the water like a pimple, flying low under the radar. Although I couldn’t argue with the “rock” portion of the name, the “round” part was still open to debate as the stone was more like an egg-shape.
I expected something akin to Enchanted Rock, Alcatraz, or even Plymouth Rock. Instead, before me stood a three-foot inconspicuous chunk of shale that no one would notice had it rained just a few inches the night before. It was completely lacking in the gravitas required of a namesake. I pointed at the rock and said, “What? That little thing?!”
“Yep!” Micha replied.
I paused for a second before barking, “Your town’s a piece of shit!”
Photo credit: Khowaga1 on Flickr