10 May 2009

Tony's Birthday Party

May 9, 2009, 7:30 p.m.

Yes, God spoke to me with the tongue of John, the proprietor of Maricopa River Rides, and God told me to go to Luckenbach.

I am back at the Armadillo Farm Campground cooling off in the camper. The little air conditioner is fighting a valiant battle. A few minutes ago I returned from spending the afternoon outdoors in Luckenbach celebrating Tony's birthday with musician after musician in turn playing great music of all sorts on the outdoor stage—blues, Texas swing, jazz, power country, traditional country, and other--and a to-die-for meal featuring one's choice of barbecued beef or barbecued chicken over bake beans with slaw and bread and other stuff and a monstrous birthday cake catered from somewhere and served in the Dance Hall by a lot of truly handsome hispanic men and women in white coats.

Before I write one more word about Luckenbach, I must make my confession, which is also important as context for what I would like to tell you about Luckenbach. If these folks knew even a few of the things that I have said about Texas and Texans through the years, I would not make it out of here alive. In fact I was somewhat notorious for this. I am sure there are people back in Iowa who, when word trickles to them that I am holed up in Texas, will say, “He's where?”

It had always seemed to me that Texas provided such telling examples of those things that were wrong in our American culture generally. It appeared to me that Texans looked upon every bit of grossness, tackiness, excessiveness, and greediness in America, declared it all good and flat-assed embraced every bit of it. I had the feeling that if we could just get rid of Texas, America would be so much improved, but I had grave doubts as to whether Mexico would ever accept the place back.

Sweet Jesus, I feel badly about having said those things now. But that was the bad old Steve. I am going to stop feeling badly about the things that bastard said or did. I myself am the good Steve—the new and improved Steve. And the new and improved Steve loves listening to music with Texans on a brutally hot Saturday afternoon in central Texas at a catered barbecue in Luckenbach. . . . . . .with iced tea.

Who is Tony? I am not sure who Tony is. Based upon the scant evidence available to me, I strongly suspect that he is a respected fabricator of western hats. I could not pick him out of a crowd though. More than that, he must be adored. All of that entertainment and all that food was perfectly free, no admission at the gate, no ticket of any sort. Just walk up and talk and listen and eat. Somebody sure as hell put up some serious money for that catered food. I spent $2.00 American on iced tea.

There is so much I need to tell you about Luckenbach, let me just make some quick notes of subject matters for future entries here.

1.My new belt buckle.
2.My necessary purchase, probably on credit, of Wrangler jeans to replace my Levi Strauss jeans, probaby in Fredericksburg, Texas.
3.The ubiquitous chickens.

4.The absolute love of adults for playing dess-up here.
5.Spurs on the dance floor.
6.The current practice of the two-step.
7.Cleavage and extraordinary female rear ends and the fine art of exhibiting these things Texas style.
8.The interesting ambience created by expensive perfume mixed with sweat.
9.Wearing cowboy boots with dresses—I am talking about the women here of course.

10.Wearing spurs on the dance floor—I am talking about the men and I am having trouble getting over that one.
11.Drunks getting their picture taken sitting on an immense, saddled longhorn steer.
12.The security personnel at Luckenbach.
13.Cigar Box Steve. (Not me.)
14.The pollution of the cowboy culture by the motorcycle culture.
15.The amazing sound of the empty beer bottles flying into those garbage cans full of empty beer bottles as that sound develops and evolves over the course of a Friday night in Luckenbach.

There. That should get us started.

Let's take care of one of the items on the list right now. Here is my new belt buckle:

It's not silver. It's only steel, but I am on a budget.


Ruth said...

I hope you're saving this stuff, Steve. Keep it up, collect 'em, and give Steinbeck and Least Heat Moon a run for their money.

Steve said...

Okay, Ruthie. On your say so, I will do a little better job of saving the text into files.

I do enjoy writing about this. The place is wearing out the smile muscles in my face.