A Porch of My Own

A Porch of My Own

Friday, April 25, 2014

Dancin' In The Moonlight

The old ramshackle building had seen many happy times, good music, and some secrets, I imagine. There was a wood fire in the big fireplace on the front wall and we sat at a table next to it eating chili, glad to be out of the cold wind. Robert Earl was singing about a five pound bass on the jukebox. Old boots and cowboy hats hung from the ceiling and an armadillo held a sign telling you to order at the bar. 

There weren't many customers in the place late on a Sunday morning, just after they opened up. We wanted to get the lay of the land so we could come back and see one of the Texas singers that perform there. Many have come - Willie, Elvis, Merle, Dwight, George, BB, Lyle, Robert Earl, Ernest, Dylan, Patsy, Hank; the list goes on of all the greats, some Texans and some not. If you call yourself a Texan, you need to be sure you get by here before you die.

Rick and I were in a peaceful state of mind. We had just been transferred to San Antonio from Houston. While not quite in the state of mind that Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee must have been in when they left Mordor, it's fair to say we were in our happy place. We didn't think we would get out of Houston before we retired but the opportunity came knocking and we answered. 

We were now only an hour and a half from our little place and could go any time we wanted to check on things. We settled in Boerne for our last few years of working and were looking forward to all that offered. In San Antonio we could walk the River Walk and go to Mi Tierra and get the best cheese enchiladas. We were among the limestone hills and live oaks and cedars we love. There was a sense of having arrived near the end of our journey to get to where we wanted to be. To live out our life in charge of it, not dancing to someone else's tune.

Before two years were up the economy would collapse and we would be called back to Houston. I was to live the last 4 months before I retired in a little stone motel on the main street in Boerne, trying to finish out my job. Two weeks after I got back to Houston my mom entered the hospital, then a nursing home where she lived with Alzheimer's for a year and a half.

But we didn't know any of that at the time and we were happy to be together, eating chili by the fire at Floore's Country Store in Helotes, Texas. Life was good.

A couple of weeks ago Rick and I went to Austin to celebrate our 33rd anniversary a month early. We went to the new Austin City Limits venue downtown to see Raul Malo and The Mavericks. Raul is amazing and he and his fellow musicians put on an exciting, happy show. The floor level attendees were up and dancing on the first song and stayed that way the whole time!

Rick, Sarah, and I had seen Raul at the Backyard in Austin some years ago. Before it moved to another location so there would be room for a shopping center. (What's up with that, Austin?) I've seen lots of musicians over my lifetime, including the Beatles twice, and I can't say anyone surpassed Raul in putting on a great show. I keep Willie, who I've seen 3 times over the years, in a separate class all his own and I never consider him in comparing entertainment value. He's like going to a retreat where you replenish your soul, much as the Beatles going to see the Maharishi.

Well, of course, after the concert, I had to download a couple of Maverick songs I didn't already have. I was listening to Better Off in Texas, with its Tejano beat, and was transported to another place and time. I hope music does that for you sometimes; I think it does for most people. Like the slamming of the screen door, the smell of freshly mowed grass, or an old black and white photo. The song mentions Floore's Country Store in Helotes. 

And right back there I was, smelling the wood fire and chowing down on the chili. The great thing about it was the peaceful happy feeling I had at the time also returned. There is some kind of miracle in that. The mind making things so real you almost need a Pepcid AC for the chili burn.

The night we returned from Austin we went to drink some wine and eat some good food with our neighbors. We sat out on their porch overlooking the hills and valleys; it's a beautiful place they have. The moon was full as we drove home on the Mule, the four wheeled kind, not the four legged kind.

The caliche on the driveway reflected the moonlight back and it was as bright as day. I pulled up Dance in the Moonlight by The Mavericks on my iPhone and Rickie and I danced in the drive. 

" While the whole world is sleeping, we can start anew, I want to dance in the moonlight, only with you......"

I think we'll keep this tradition up, so if you come visit while the moon is full bring your dancin' boots!

John T Floore Country Store