Gruene Hall

It is sometimes a bit of a crap shoot as to where we end up on any given night. Of course we have had specific destinations we wanted to see but it seems on this last leg of the trip we are just making it up as we go along. Today our destination is New Braunfels, Texas. It is close to San Antonio and basically we are heading here because I read some things that sound interesting. The most interesting of these being Gruene Hall. which is a dance hall where loads of famous musicians have played. I am talking John Prine, Jerry Jeff Walker, Townes Van Zandt, Lucinda Williams and on and on. Tonight some no name group is playing and we are going to see them.

But first we need to get to New Braunfels and it is a 5 hour drive.  There is loads of road construction and then lots of traffic through Houston and the driving for a lot of the time is terrible for Rudy. Finally, however, we get through it all and arrive at our hotel. These hotels are beginning to look all the same and I get the strange feeling of coming home when we drive into a parking lot and sign in. The upholstered chair, or what I like to call Rudy’s throne, always has at least one rip and one stain. The office chair, which is mine, is firm and has wheels so that I can sometimes drive it out onto the front sidewalk area of our hotel room to get some relief from the lavender cleaning solution they use. I have my side of the bed for my stuff and Rudy gets the suitcase holder. He generally unloads the drinks and food into the fridge and I flop down on the bed.

After our set up I suggest a sightseeing expedition starting at a walking bridge in a mill district. We walk over it and back and stop at 2 boutique shops seemingly randomly situated in a desolate area of town. She shops are super neat with one have loads of crazy out there clothing that I would love to buy. But I need browsing and thinking time if that is going to happen and my compatriot is ready for our lunch/supper. We head for Vietnamese noodle bowls.

In the evening we head to the district of Gruene which we find is an actual historical village. There are loads of people enjoying the warm evening air. In the dance hall the band is playing and people are sitting at old wooden tables with benches. The whole place is made of wooden beams and plank floors and siding and screen doors. There are a number of pool tables and the bar and loads of water coolers (I guess for all the hot sweaty dancers to rehydrate). And speaking of dancing, the cowboys and cowgirls are out in full force doing the Texas two-step. It is marvellous and I am tempted to haul Rudy out into the parking lot to teach him a few steps. It is actually heartbreaking to be in Texas at a dance hall and not be dancing.

But all is not lost. We go to the General Mercantile Store which is now an antique shop and I wander for ages looking at everything.  There are dishes and dresses, coffee cans and canning jars, motorcycle gas tanks and army tanks (replicas). Rudy has his fill after a while but I continue on through the shop. It’s like a walk through memory lane. The is a Honda 50 motorcycle gas tank just like the one on my brother Wes’s first bike. I remember driving it through the ditches. There is tin enamelware from my childhood, the same Miriam now collects. There are comic books like we used to read at the Rexall Drug Store in Boissevain. I never bought any but we would  stand for hours reading them. After enjoying all the old things I wander into a clothing shop. Wow!  Gotta love all the cowboy shirts. I want one! With pearl buttons and all! Just like the lemon coloured one my mom sewed for me when I was 11 or 12 and I wore on the Prairie Dusters Horse Club trail rides in the Turtle Mountains.

I limp back to the van with Rudy at the end of the evening. This old cowgirl is having some hip trouble. Did she fall off her horse. No Siree! She’s just old. Good thing her cowboy friend doesn’t dance cause if she would have kicked up her heels tonight it might be a lot worse.