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HERE'S LUCKENBACH: I don't reckon these photos need any extra words...

Looking Back at Luckenbach
Story & Photos by IRA KENNEDY

I'd been here many times, beginning back in 1971. 
The place stays pretty much the same except for the new old stuff on the walls
which are pretty much filled to completion.


I.jpg (1915 bytes) remember the high pole with a mailbox on top -- for airmail; and back in the early days you could check out a little blacksmith shop with chairs hanging like pictures on the walls.  Reckon those were highchairs. 
       Then there was the double-wide outhouse. Inside the men's part, light poured through cracks between the wall slats.  Carved out about eye level was, "Pay toilet.  Put dime in slot." next to a crack that ran clean to the ground.  These days city folks will find more familiar accommodations

     Ordering a longneck at the bar I reached in my pocket... there wasn't as much as I hoped there would be, just some $23 and spare change.  With beer in hand I seated myself at a table in the bar.  
sign.jpg (21949 bytes)       To my right hung a "Please don't make us write don't signs" sign with enough business cards stuck around it so that, with a little reverse engineering, you could have a sizeable hunting cabin. 
       I liberated one business card showing off a pretty Whurlizer juke box.   Like the late Hondo Crouch (Clown Prince of Luckenbach) used to say, "You can't forget memories."  But it doesn't hurt to have a little token to jump start the brain work.   
       My fondest recollection of Luckenbach is standing outside with Hondo and James Hamm, a co-conspirator in the writing business.  Sadly, they're both gone now and it's just me left holding on to the memory.
Dottie.jpg (45733 bytes)       It was one of those crystal clear Texas nights with fireflies and stars mingling in the treetops while a full moon scratched its belly on the upper branches.   Hondo was reciting his poem, Luckenbach Moon, "...This kind of moonshine makes you crazy to sleep in it, they say.  But I think you're crazy not to try it..."
       There's no point in writing about Luckenbach without paying tribute to Hondo Crouch. His business card read: Hondo Crouch, Imagineer, Authorized Distributor, Luckenbach. Some folks might compare him to Will Rogers, except Hondo didn't hold forth twirling a lariat -- Hondo held a whole town in his hands when he showed up.  Apart from providing live entertainment he was the writer, Peter Cedarstacker, for a column in the Comfort News. Reckon he had to be two people so's he could split up the workload. 
       Founded in 1849, Luckenbach is "The oldest store in continuous operation I know of. --Moses".  About its early days Peter Cedarstacker once wrote " ...the present Principality of Luckenbach was nearly a part of the United States but when the Washington politicians and statesmen came down to look over the proposed annexation they threw a whale of a stag party with girls.   In the commotion they all signed what they thought was a deer huntin' lease and freed us.
       "John Lyles, a way off lawyer is now tryin' to get Luckenbach in the United Nations as a Thiefdom, or somethin' like that..."
 self.jpg (18874 bytes)      On another occasion Hondo was telling a crowd of us he was going to secede, declare war on the U.S. of A., lose quick-like and apply for foreign aid.
       There's a book, Hondo My Father, by Becky Crouch Patterson which is fine in every respect and does more justice to his memory than I ever could.
       Hauling a second longneck around I went over to the Feed Store for a real hamburger.  I gave up looking for Ollie and the girls and joined the crowd of folks sitting under huge live oaks listening to live music.  It must have been about four in the p.m. when, from the treetop, a rooster crowed.
       "He's running kinda late," someone said.  But -- between my imagination, memories and the present -- time was slipping and sliding all
TurnA.jpg (4971 bytes) over the place so the rooster's timing didn't seem to be off in the least. (If roosters crow, what do crows do?)


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