Wednesday, Nov. 14th, and I’m winging my way towards Medina on Texas 16 through the maze of commercial blight of Leon Valley northwest of San Antone. But soon I’m in the Hill Country with clusters of gold, yellow, and red blaring forth out of a sea of still deep green. Medina, 62 miles later, the apple capital of Texas. I can’t resist some Granny Smiths and a slice of freshly baked apple pie. ‘Merica! Get directions to Baxter Adam’s house that aunt Pattie Rose says is a must to see.
Ten miles down FM337, and it’s really rolling now (the terrain, that is). Then through the limestone portals of Love Creek Orchard along a one lane road and literally ford Love Creek (about 20 feet at one inch depth). I really liked that “break” in the road. Then up pops the house, looking like a country club, or better still, the Inn of the Hills in Kerrville. Deeper in the heart of Texas. When Mr. Baxter Adams greets me at his huge, mahogany front doors, I feel like I’ve met him before. Well, I have never enjoyed three hours with someone as much as I did with this man. He is living in harmony with nature. The fireplace heats and the lake breezes cool. Simple and sensible. The bats and barn swallows eat the flies and mosquitoes. The fire ants thrive on chiggers, ticks, and fleas. The snakes swallow up the rodents. On Earth as it is in Texas. Mr. Adams is definitely in tune with the world around him.
Baxter is a geologist by trade. Hence, he is very aware of how his house works with the terrain. The prevailing winds are from the southwest, but they sweep around the hills and come up the canyon, through the abundant trees, high grass, and Love Creek and mini-lake. The site elevation is 2000 ft. on the Edwards Plateau, so the summers are dry. No light or particle pollution. So what else does this Walden man have? A second-story deck from which he can he can observe the heavenly bodies on crystal-clear nights, as if you were in the middle of Nevada. And to top off this incredible experience, their Labrador Retriever (I called Lady Dog) had just given birth to 7 beautiful babies. I was able to witness one of nature’s oldest rituals – the nursing of her young. What more can I possibly say about this setting?
It’s like the young sportswriter, sitting in front of his typewriter after witnessing a great sporting event, struggling to find the words to describe the situation there. He turns to this old-time sportswriter, and asks how he could possibly write something about all this. Then he says, “Say, isn’t that the sun setting over there in the west?”. The old sportswriter says, “Son, if that sun ain’t settin’ in the west, you’ve got the greatest scoop of the century.” Well, that’s just about how I felt. I visit Sam Junkin at Schreiner College – just to see where more of Mom’s money is going. Another nice walking tour around another quiet Presbyterian campus in central Texas. Then a stop in Fredericksburg to see the architects who did the fine remodeling of a number of buildings on the afore mentioned school.
It really gets me. In this part of Texas, one minute you get a “si”, the next minute you get a “ya”. Curious how two completely opposite cultures settled in the same area. One wants it done “manyana”; the other wants it done yesterday. I circle back to Austin for one more Holiday Inn buffet. Can’t find Jenny Lind. Oh well. Wasn’t meant to be, as I say. I look through all these scribblings on small notepad paper, and I see all these names and phone numbers and addresses and directions in relatively unfamiliar towns.
It occurs to me that this what traveling is all about. Searching out people and fending my way around – love it! And after all the directions have been followed, I arrive at their doorstep, and it always looks just like I had pictured the scene, the houses, whatever. That’s part of the beauty of traveling – fantasizing what’s in store for me around the next corner. Or in this next case, who am I going to run into at this upcoming rest area? How about an Illinois couple in their RV, just returning from a 4 week caravan through Mexico. I couldn’t help from asking, “‘What part of Illinois are you from?” Geneva. And so it goes. Taking advantage of every last opportunity along the way until I “have to get back to Dallas”.