Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Made a short trip to San Saba Monday.

Last year, Denise and I sent a few bags of San Saba pecans and jars of jalapeno/pecan preservers to some of her family for Christmas. They loved them, as I do. So, last week, Denise floated the idea of me makin' the drive out to San Saba and picking up a few bags for this year.

Of course, there were other reasons why I wanted to make the drive. I hadn't seen my buddy John since he'd come back from his hunting trip to Mew Mexico. I knew he'd gotten a big Mule Deer, and I wanted to get the lowdown on how he got it and how the rest of the trip went. He hunts with a black powder rifle, and that intrigues the hell out of me. And finally, of course, the thought of going back to San Saba brought images of that special hamburger to my mind. If you're a regular reader, you've heard about it before. So I called my buddy John, who lives and works in San Saba, and made arrangements to meet him at the Dairy Mart for lunch on Monday.

It was wild to be makin' that drive again, and kind of weird. Of course, the scenery hasn't changed very much. It still takes about an hour and ten minutes, barring slow-assed drivers who insist on goin' five or ten miles per hour BELOW the speed limit.

There's an old rule in Texas that says if you want or need to drive slow on one of our two lane country highways, just move over to the margin of the road briefly and let people pass you. You don't even need to slow down. Many of the road margins are as wide as a road. If you do make that move, we speed demons will show our gratitude with a friendly wave as we zip by, goin' about our bidneth.

I usually stick my cigar out the sunroof on those occasions and make the thankful gesture. But every now and then you come up behind someone who seems to be unfamiliar with that little country tradition. Those folks just poke along, as if they're oblivious to the impact their decision is having on all of the drivers behind them. Sometimes, as you're passin' 'em, you look over and they're grippin' the wheel, ten and two, with their eyes on the road ahead and their jaw set. They know they're in the way, and they know what you're thinkin', but they just don't give a damn. By God, they're gonna go as slow as they want. Those folks get cussed, and then sometimes introduced to different gestures through the sunroof as I pass them by.

Drivin' into town, it was a great feelin'. Things hadn't changed very much. For instance, they're still takin' it in the ass at the gas station. Typical small town, out-in-the-middle-of-nowhere gas prices, almost 20 cents higher than what we're payin' here in Killeen. A few construction sites that I'd seen under way for months when I was working in town were finished, the new facilities up and running. The courthouse looked like they were getting it ready to have some sort of fall market day.

I drove into town and up to the Dairy Mart, and found the lunch crowd beginning to gather. John came out to welcome me when I arrived. I briefly showed him my last knife project, and after a good greeting we walked into the diner and got in line to make our order.

The folks there knew me when I worked at the jail, and asked me why it was they hadn't seen me in so long. "You still workin' out there (at the jail)?" was the inevitable question. "Nope," was my answer. And then John saved me from havin' to say any more. "He's here visitin' me today," he said. We both ordered the same burger. It's legendary: the jalapeno, Sourdough Bacon cheeseburger. As soon as I started working at the jail, folks like John started tellin' me that I needed to try it. It's wonderful. I can't imagine why it hasn't been written up in Texas Monthly. It should be.

Sure enough, as soon as I tried it I loved it, and it became a regular part of my week. I'd look forward to visiting that place each Monday after getting out of class. But then the folks there changed their operating hours (they're only open for lunch), and I had to find somewhere else to eat on Monday afternoons. It got to where I could only get one of these wonders if I had to go into San Saba on a Friday, to make up a class, or if I managed to get out of Florence early. Ether way, it was a wonderful treat. Since leaving that job, I've needed an excuse to get back to the Dairy Mart. And this was as good a one as any.

John's hunting story was great. Made me wish I could go along. We've talked about it. Maybe one of these days. He said that he'd taken that possibles bag with him and that it went everywhere he went. I was glad to hear that it survived. A few months ago, after I handed over that bag, he told he wanted to pay me to make him a frontier rifle bag. He said he wanted to get himself a mule deer and have me use the hide to make his bag. I meant to ask him about that while we had lunch, but between the wonderful food, and the rest of our conversation, the topic totally slipped my mind.

We spent the time talking about a lot of things, including all the stuff that's been going on both here and there in the last two months, and we talked about his business at the Liquor store. But most of that will remain confidential. Suffice to say, it was a great time. In the end, after finishing our meal, we left the Dairy Mart and I followed him over to a local gun store that's recently opened in town. It's one that I'd visited before with my buddy Waters. We checked out the stuff they had on sale, including an interesting little Kalashnikov: A Russian made Saiga with a triangular military folding stock and pistol grip, in .223 caliber. Man, if I still had money to piss away...

John got himself some new percussion caps, and I walked away empty handed. He and I parted company then, planning to do it all again some time, and I went in search of pecans. My regular source turned out to be closed, as was my second choice. But those folks were just out for lunch. So, I drove around town for a while, killin' time. I couldn't resist the temptation to drive by the jail. I know that there's about a half dozen people there that I used to work with. But they were all inside, teachin' class.

In time, the pecan lady came back from lunch and I was able to pick up a few bags. Then I started the drive home. That was it. A few cigars later, I got home, grabbed the mail and a fist full of pecans and started workin' on these pictures. Eventually, when Denise got home from work, I fixed dinner and we relaxed in front of the big screen. It was a good day. Cheers.


BRUNO said...

You leavin' a gun-shop empty-handed. Well, shit---now I KNOW the world is comin' to an' end!!!

It's just as well, though, for YOU: You're now just another pretty-face in the kitchen!(sigh!)

(Well, MUSHY---we tried! He's nothin' more than a pussy-whip now! Next, he'll be shavin' his laigs, an' bitchin' about the stubble hangin' on his silk-'jammies...!)☺☺☺!!!

*Goddess* said...

My daughter just came back from several days on your South Padre Island and she LOVED it.

FHB said...

Bruno - Don't have gun store, or gun show money any more. Plus, I have stuff very similar to that one in the big safe.

Having said that, I do make this kitchen bitch stuff look good.

Goddess - South Padre is very nice. Glad she had a good time. Did she see anything else while she was here?