HOWDY, buckeroos and buckerettes! Hope all is well with you city-slickers. Cowgirl Patty and I recently returned from a thrilling adventure in Bandera, Texas. (The “Cowboy Capital of Texas.”) On this occasion, we didn’t stay at some fancy-schmancy hotel, but at a Dude Ranch! (The Mayan Dude Ranch, to be exact.) I’m happy to report that, despite my outlaw background, all went well and there were no gunfights. (Just one food fight, fought with soft tortillas.) The tortilla fight was not corny. (We used flour tortillas) Fortunately, nobody added any picante sauce.
My father-in-law used to own a big ranch outside of Bandera, so this was a wonderful, memory-laden trip for me. It was made even better by my company. Risking a nervous breakdown, we decided to bring my darling grand-daughter, “Hop-a-long Goldie,” with us, and we all had a marvelous time. Miss Goldie is only 6 and 1/2 years old, but she rides a horse like a real cowgirl and has absolutely no fear of big, hairy animals. (Except for me, when I forget to shave!)
The ranch is truly charming and offers an abundance of fun activities, including 3 or 4 horseback trail rides per day. (Which has a desultory effect on one’s buttocks) I asked our guide, Toothless Tom, if I could ride bareback, but he told me that I had to keep my shirt on. Nevertheless, we rode over hills and dales, and enjoyed every moment. (Dale didn’t enjoy being rode over, but that’s another story) I shared some Grandpa wisdom with Goldie, but she seemed a little confused…. I told her that you can lead a horse to water, but it still might answer neigh.
I should like to mention that our wild west adventure was made super enjoyable by meeting some wonderful folks from New Jersey (The INCREDIBLE Engel family) and the Akers from Houston, featuring Cowboy Ben, the world’s youngest line dancing champion. The best part of travel, as I often say, is meeting new people and making new friends, and when you come to Texas you will do both.
Speaking of travel….. some of you have asked about my spring itinerary, so here we go…. First we fly to Tel Aviv and then, after 4 days there, drive down to Jerusalem for another 5 days. From there, we fly to Budapest, board a Uniworld River Cruise, and travel down (or up) the Danube for a week or so before arriving in Prague, where we spend another few days. Finally, when they run out of beer and sausage, we fly to London, chill for a spell, then home to Austin. (I know what you’re thinking….. it’s a tough life, but somebody has to do it!) I love Europe, but there are so many foreigners there!
By law, you’re supposed to turn on your headlights when it’s raining in the Czech Republic, but I have a question… How am I supposed to know when it’s raining over there? Hmmm.
Incidentally, for those of you who subscribe to the Wall Street Journal, you might have seen the announcement (last Wednesday, I think) that the winners of the 2022 LONDON BOOK FESTIVAL were recently announced. I am pleased to report that my (semi) brilliant masterpiece, GONE BEFORE GLORY, was chosen as the “Honorable Mention” (third place) recipient! I shall, of course, be going to London some time in May to pick up my loot and have some tea with the Queen. (I do hope they have iced tea in jolly old England)
Incidentally, never be overly impressed by so-called experts… Just remember that the Ark was built by amateurs and the Titanic by professionals! (I thought of that when I mentioned iced tea!)
Well, dear friends, I must leave thee now… Miss Goldie is playing in (another) soccer tournament this afternoon. (I advised her to bring a horse and play polo, but she didn’t seem to like that idea.) For those of you with sketchy cable service, I shall attach some photographs to keep you amused until dinner. Please have a safe and wonderful week!
Love to all,