10 May 2009


You remember me mentioning Gruene, the place with the quaint, unique shops? The other town with the great vintage Dance Hall? My favorite T-Shirt text that I saw in Gruene was this:

Women want me. Fish fear me.

I saw my favorite T-Shirt in Luckenbach so far yesterday. It said:

Do something with your life. . . . . .Get me a beer.

The more I thought about it, the more those two T-Shirt texts seem to epitomize the two places and the difference between them.

* * * * *

I promised to tell you about the sound of the empty beer bottles at night in Luckenbach.

During the day it is extremely laid back. The music is always acoustic and outside, weather permitting. The folks wandering around during the day are more in my age category. There is no admission charged to anything.

Last Friday night, however, I got to see the young crowd invade. I came up to the gate and explained to the young lady that I had not been here before. She was obviously taking money, and I asked what I was paying for and how much. She explained that they normally don't charge anything at Luckenbach, but that night was one of those exceptions because a big name was playing in the dance hall. This was a young man named Cory Morrow. She apologized to me for having to ask for money. Did you get that? She apologized to me for having to ask for money.

In any event even I can see that this Cory Morrow is fall down handsome. He had just left his band and was playing with a different band named "Mickey and the Motorcars." Now as near as I can tell, this change of bands by young Cory Morrow was a bigger deal among the young people in this part of Texas than Arlen Spector becoming a Democrat was to the folks in Washington.

They had the flaps on the side of the Dance Hall propped up so that you did not have to wade into it. You could watch the band and the dancing from outside, which is exactly what I did all evening into the night. This is when I noticed the beer bottle thing.

Apparently, we do not recycle empty beer bottles in Texas, or maybe we do. I don't know. I do know that we do not care how many we break. There are big barrels at various locations all over here. (I am writing this at an empty table in the Dance Hall right now late on a Sunday afternoon. Luckenbach has a great wifi connection.) Everybody, and I mean men and women of all ages, make it a point to throw their empty beer bottles in these barrels with authority. Nobody "places" his or her empty beer bottles in these barrels. And of course every bottle makes quite a crash.

Envision, if you will, the sound of a popcorn popper as it pops a batch of corn. It starts off slowly, builds to a crescendo of popping, and then tapers off again. That is exactly how the the sound of these crashing empty beer bottles evolved over the course of that evening. From about 8:00 to 9:30 it was:

bang. . . . .bang. . . . . . .bang bang. . . . .bang. .bang bang. . . .bang. . . . .bang

Like that. Constantly. Then it became almost one continuance crashing roar from about 9:30 until 11:00 while the music was really rolling:


went the empty beer bottles flying into those barrels. I was in a lot of beer drinking establishments, big and small, in the bad old days, and I have never heard that noise so constant, so loud, and so sustained for so long before. These folks can flat drink some beer at night here.

Then just like the popcorn popper, it tapered off again as it got really late.

More about the two-step, the dancing with spurs on, the whole rest of this catastrophe later.

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