My exhausting agenda for today is to blog, buy a good cowboy hat, and dance in Bandera tonight- I know, it’s almost overwhelming to think about – Duke is off to work early for an all-day tour; he picks up his clients in Austin –
I’m at the Pioneer Museum Library (or The Old Courthouse) in Fredericksburg, blogging away – it’s a strong, beautifully restored Romanesque Revival built in 1882, to replace the original 1855 courthouse (thank you, Wikipedia)
Oh for those just tuning in, you may want to go back to my earlier entries because I’m updating them on a daily basis; wouldn’t want to miss any juicy details now, would you?
In the park while eating my delicious Mexican leftovers, I meet Larry, a striking-looking Creole gentleman who tells me he has relatives in Breaux Bridge -we talk about cultural diversity, DNA and ancestry, dancing, the energy of serendipity and fate, the way the Creator has our lives planned out – very powerful encounter- he points out the statue grouping in the Marketplatz right behind where we’re sitting, symbolizing the interchange that occured here in 1847 between three Penateka Comanche Chiefs and Baron John Meusebach, founder of Fredericksburg, agreeing to live peacefully in this region – I also learn that this is the only treaty between white European settler-colonists and Native peoples that was never broken-the book I brought to read on this trip is Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz’s “An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the U.S.”- have barely started it but it’s going to be excellent, I know –
down the road from the Marketplatz, part of the National Museum of the Pacific War-
I got my hat!
The sweet clerk at Headquarters Hats and I start talking about my trip, and I mention hearing about the tragedy of Turner Dance Hall here in Fredericksburg having been burned down recently by an arsonist- she immediately turns and points to a photograph behind her of the man who did it -“Oh, yeah,he’s where he belongs now” (he got arrested)- he had also damaged part of their storefront
On my drive down to Bandera: how…ummm… comforting it would be to live in a town named:
There is a looming mountain range in the south, I wonder what that is – this Bandera Highway is stunningly pretty!
Sign in Bandera: (maybe I should invest in a pair for the Peace Corps)
The vibes I get when I check out 11th St Cowboy Bar are just a little alarming but I figure I’ll give it a try and see how it feels when the dancing starts – the crowd seems nice enough, but a little rough -I’m about an hour early so I chill out and have a picnic in the shade -it’s 7:30pm and a muggy 89 degrees- there are a lot of motorcycles coming through this town -the other dance hall I had planned to see tonight is Arkey Blue’s Silver Dollar Saloon, but it appears to be closed – I learn that George Strait goes there once in a while, and his ranch is nearby – the saloon turns 45 years old in May! The musicians who have played there (as other places I’ve been) blow my mind: Ernest Tubb, Willie, Hank Williams, Jr, Lefty Frizzell –
All is fine when I walk in, the band is great – it’s Craig the Cowboy’s 70th birthday! He gets up onstage and plays his washtub base-later on we talk, and dance -his style is smooth, a strong hand, improvisational, really feeling the music – we agree that “these young people just don’t know how to dance anymore”- he does not look 70 at all – we share remedies for arthritis discomfort – he of course has numerous broken bones, no spleen,and struggles with chronic pain from his rodeo and cowboying- we share how dancing and staying active helps as we age-he tells me he notices that I’m “at that age when you don’t care who watches you dance,and if no one comes up to you, you just dance anyway!” Amen, brother! Wish I could upload videos to this blog-think I’ll add them once I can hook up to a laptop wben I get home
Realized I no longer feel the need to ask folks about the etiquette of getting a partner around here, I just start dancing discreetly near the dance floor -it’s working good enough-
Another gentleman dances several two-steps with me- a great style with fun multiple twirling- I’m learning a critical skill in dance halls: how to maneuver my head around a partner’s cowboy hat brim without getting a lobotomy-I am showing improvement!
The band plays a Mavericks tune and I am in heaven – I’m going to see them tomorrow night!!!
And then John Henry and I dance several- he has an easy, ramblin’ kinda style, nothing fancy but very sweet -later in the night a woman holding a bouquet of different color roses comes up to me and says something which I can’t understand because the music’s so loud, till I finally get it that John Henry bought me a rose and I’m supposed to pick out which one I want! I pick a yellow one with pink blush- I am speechless and so very touched, and look around for him but don’t see him – we end up dancing again several times and I thank him profusely –