up she wore a white cowboy shirt with sleeves cut off at the shoulders and pearl snaps
down the front that strained to honor their task. She
had just about run out of places to wear silver and turquoise jewelry, and topping off the
outfit was a straw hat that blended into a long blond ponytail.
you can do with a little extra effort,?" Ollie congratulated me with a rowdy slap on
for the house, " Ollie hollered to Married Marilyn as he swung his arm out wide
taking in the whole bar. "And don't forget my sidekick, he's just getting
Quicker than thought
the place filled up with a small crowd. "Jeez,"
I thought, "who's story is this anyway."
Reaching as deep in my pockets as I
could out came a wad of bills the likes of which I'd never seen. I peeled off a
hundred dollar bill while Ollie was introducing me to Dottie and Boots. Smoother than the slightest shift in the wind,
Ollie and Boots were on the dance floor two-stepping to the Hank Williams' tune, "Hey
That left me and
Dottie to ourselves.
Now I was really on
the horns of a delima knowing this scene was at least partly my doing and anything I
pondered might transpire. I had to be extra
careful and back off from my usual train of thought around pretty womenfolk. In short, I
had to pretend to be somebody else.
Then, looking out on
the dance floor, I saw Ollie and Boots doing the Texas swing. As he spun her around an extra turn he winked at
me again as if he knew my situation.
I was slipping deep
in thought -- or to put a finer edge to it -- out of thought as I tried to keep my
imagination under control when the tune on the jukebox turned to Kitty Wells singing
"It Wasn't God Who Made Honkey Tonk Angles."
As Ollie and Boots
joined Dazzling Dottie and me at the bar he leaned over and whispered, "Relax pardner. Nobody shares your reality. Figured you'd have a handle on that by now."
whispered back, "the road trip. We're
supposed to be on a road trip."
dang!" Ollie shouted. "Ladies,
how's about going honky tonkin?"
Like a shot out of a
shovel, Ollie and Boots were in the back seat of a red and white '56 Ford Fairlaine with
white tucked and rolled leather seats, a brilliant red dashboard and Dazzling Dottie at
the wheel. We were going honky tonkin'.
The landscape was
different to a fraction. The highways were
all two-lane and the traffic was thin to the extreme.
As I was pondering this Ollie put in, "Ya know, pardner, your friend
Nigel wasn't made for these roads. Not yet."
At my best reckoning
we were tourin' Texas back in 1958. The
weather was ideal in every respect, including that little white puff of a cloud that
followed along overhead blocking the sun just right.
On the radio Hank
Williams was singing:
"If you've got the money honey, I've got the time,
We'll go honky-tonking and we're gonna have a time.
We'll make all the night spots, dance with the music fine
If you've got the money honey, I've got the time."
Dottie and Boots
were laughing at Ollie's lies, but I was still busy trying to pretend to be somebody else. The trouble was I couldn't settle on one
that didn't share the same too-familiar thoughts regarding Dazzling Dottie I was laboring
so diligently to avoid.
We must have hit
every dancehall in the Hill Country -- Gruene Hall, Devil's Backbone, Fisher Hall, Twin
Sisters, Cherry Springs, Sisterdale, Anhalt Hall and several others. As soon as someone mentioned a honkey tonk we'd be
pulling into the parking lot. As if that wasn't confusing enough, sometimes it'd be well
into the night, then afternoon, then night all over again.
I thought I heard Ollie say, "Looking back," as I was pondering parallel
universes, black holes, remote viewing, time warps, stargates and therapy. Suddenly things started looking right familiar. We were in Luckenbach.
least I was. Dottie, Boots and Ollie were
nowhere to be seen. I was sitting inside
Nigel the Land Rover and staring at a congregation of shiny motorcycles across the street. Grabbing my camera I went looking for everyone.
Approaching the General Store/Post Office end of the bar I
came across Dottie's Fairline, empty.
PAGE 1: HEADIN'
OUT / PAGE 2: HONKY TONKIN'
PAGE 3: LUCKENBACH / PAGE 4: HEADIN' HOME
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