DOWNTOWN LULING: The first two pics are of the Oil Patch
Museum (outside and in), then there's two more pictures taken downtown which can speak for
themselves. Except maybe the BILL'S DOLLAR STORE which has the "L" knocked
out of it's sign.
Luling: Watermelons, Oil & Dolls
Story & Photos by IRA KENNEDY
You must already know I'm one of those geezers who's been around long enough
to have a story for any topic. And some of them go back to the days when folks were
still thinking up names for most everything.
( I might as well let you in on a little-known fact: There
were quarrels aplenty between one faction that wanted to call earth "dirt",
and another bunch insisting that dirt was "earth". You might say those
were the first two political parties... but I ramble... )
he first time I was in
Luling was back in the 50s. I was about 12 years old at the time and took one of
the most adverturous road trips in my young life while riding along with Uncle Bud Muse in
his old Ford flatbed truck. The high point of the day came whe we arrived in Luling
to buy a load of watermelon.
I was old enough to be trusted with a pocket knife
which was a good thing as we spent most of the day sitting under the shade of trailer
trucks loaded down with melons.
There in the shade, Uncle Bud would state his
business and we'd get the privilege of slicing into a fresh melon and eating the
The finer point is this: you carve out a bite-sized
slice, fork it with your knife (which must be honed razor sharp). Then eat,
carefully. The men must have been tolerant of my youth -- or took pity on what they
might have thought was a starving child -- cause when we left the place my belly was
nearly busting, like I'd gone and swallowed a melon whole. The Black Diamonds were
Then again, back in the early 70s I
attended the Watermelon Thump with Kelvin Rueb, the 6-foot-4 Watermelon Seed Spitting
Champion of the World. If a seed fell out of his mouth it'd go further than I could
spit one; but according to Kelvin, "It is all in the wrist".
Okay. I get it. I'm still rambling.
Meanwhile, back to the recent past...
Driving around downtown Luling, Nigel the Land Rover
led me straight to the Oil Patch Museum. Now I don't know much about the oil
business, except none of my relations were in on it. But I was in a curious mood...
Once inside, the first thing I noticed was the smell
of the oil fields. It's a fragrant smell to those who have it. For the rest of us
it's -- well -- smelly. But that's okay. A field of Bluebonnets, a smoking
barbecue pit, a feed lot or an oil field are all pure Texan aromas. Fact is, there's no
aromatherapy like living next door to your own oil well.
The museum was well done and interesting. I
took a few photos then headed back outside. Once across the street I stopped in my
tracks. What happened to the smell of the oil fields? The Chamber of Commerce
was in the same building so I went back across the street.
I said to the lady behind the counter, "I have a
"There are no stupid questions," she
"Well, you ain't heard mine yet." I said,
"Listen, you got some kind of scratch-and-sniff museum next door there? "
"What do you mean?"
"Well, I couldn't smell the oil fields outdoors,
but it's real strong there in the museum."
"Oh, no. It's nothing like that.
We'd like to credit for it but it's just Luling. Around here we're used to it."
Despite my unique question, the ladies at the Chamber ( "chamber ladies"
may convey the wrong notion ) were very friendly and when I asked for a map they came up
with two -- and the schedule for the Watermelon Thump. Back outside the smell of the oil fields was
pretty strong. ( Jeez, I'm losing my hair along with my eyesight and a few
right handy teeth. And now my sniffer is getting snuffed out. What's next? )
PAGE 1: LOCKHART / PAGE 2: LOCKHART PT. 2
PAGE 3: LULING / PAGE
4: LULING PT. 2
PAGE 5: FENTRESS / PAGE 6: THE BACKROAD HOME / MAP
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