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Terlingua Reprise - Hasta la vez próxima

Red Bluff in the evening light

‘Why don’t we just stay?‘   was what Miss K said that morning.  I paused ;  I didn’t want to head east into the South Texas Brush Country any more than she did.   I was wishing it was September instead of almost-April.  I could entertain the thought of staying here north of Terlingua with a dwindling bank account if it was cool enough to survive without AC and the growling of a diesel generator to feed it day after day.  I repressed the irresponsible urge and said ‘One day baby, one day we will.’

It was a Sunday and we had enjoyed ourselves at a going away party for several winter residents the previous night at the Community Center.   It was a gathering of some rather unique individuals but the funny thing is that beer tends to have the same effect on folks the world over.   Everybody has an interesting story if you just take time to listen.  I was doing more listening than talking that night; enjoying the camaraderie that exists in a close knit group.   On previous visits I had gotten to know two older gentleman who drove the most decrepit and non-road worthy vehicle I had seen in some time.   You could damned near see the air in the tires and they had to strategically park it on a hill to get a rolling start.  They showed up in a still well-seasoned but new to them truck.  One of their buddies sitting on the tin shaded porch called to them ‘Did that one come with a battery?’ 

Ara and Miss K manage to ignore me completely.

One of the folks showing up that Saturday night I had been wanting to meet for quite some time.  The Oasis of My Soul  has been one of my regular reads running the traps for a few years now and I recognized him immediately when he sat down with us.   Actually, he sat down in an empty seat beside Miss Kathy for which I can’t blame him.   Ara and I may be old but we aren’t dead yet.   Well those two immediately fell into a deep discussion about food and such and I wandered off in search of another cold beer.   It was Miss K’s turn to wander off when I returned and Ara and I had a good talk.  Now, just so’s you know,  you are liable to see some pretty wild looking folks down this way  — not nasty-wild but more unconventional-wild.   Some folks dress like pirates or bikers which I have a hard time telling apart any way, some like cowboys and some get their wardrobe from the gimme-table at the Study Butte store; turistas wear those tennis visor things and flip-flops.  Nothing wrong with any of that and it is just part of what this place is.  The other thing the turistas always comment about is the unkempt look of some folks — again not dirty-unkempt but more desert rat – mountain-man-bushy-beard unkempt.   The last picture I had seen of Ara on his blog, he was sporting a free-ranging head of hair and an impressive beard.  Now not so much and I asked him about it.  Ara is a mix of biker,  consummate chef  and photographer and he said the shave and haircut was the result of an artistic experiment.  Apparently, he had shaved his beard off on one side of his face and shaved his head on the opposite side  — he had the pictures on his iPhone to prove it so it happened.   He then  proceeded to wander around Terlingua and Study Butte for the better part of a day.  The experiment involved man on the street  reactions to his odd but diametrically balanced appearance.  As expected, nobody gave him a second glance.  Such is the nature of this place.

Entrance to the Green Brute's summer home - Much more effective than a simple 'Trespassers will be shot' sign don't you think?

Driveway entrance - Much more effective than a simple 'Trespassers will be shot' sign don't you think?

Part of the departure process was finding a place to park the DTB that housed the MEP-002A military surplus aka Green Brute generator.  I was more than tired of dragging it from job to job.  The Generac propane generator that lives in the snout of the Old Girl had proved itself reliable (knocking on wood)  during our desert boondocking the past 14 days and I could see no logic in hauling the Green Brute back east.  The Green Brute found a summer home a bit of a ways from the Refuge with a new-found friend from the Community Center.  He trades fresh eggs for cold beers so he is more than just a year ’round resident with space for a trailer on his property.

Now some folks are gonna read through this series of Terlingua Reprise posts and think to themselves ‘Y’all didn’t get shit accomplished the whole time you was down there. “  I would bet a dollar to a doughnut  this feller or gal has got some shiny shoes in their closet and takes 40 gallon showers.  On the other hand, some folks are gonna nod, take a sip of a cold beer, and think ‘That Andy and Miss Kathy are workin’ at ginnin’ with the locals.’  Now to me, that first feller is about as useless as a snake with a rake.  Not being ugly or anything; I was a pleasant and sociable enough dude when I wore shiny shoes but it was a life of boredom and sometimes was worse.   These days  worrying about getting caught in traffic during my morning commute and getting through the day without offending anybody’s PC inanities are not my worries.

Better than 10 years it took me to completely mostly be shed of that yoke.  For a decade I picked up pieces of a life and either discarded them or saved ’em for later.  I was the guy crawling up the mountain to ask the beardyrishi  at the summit to reveal the meaning of life.  When Miss K and I happened on to Terlingua, the tumblers on the lock lined up and the door swung open.   I don’t want to be somewhere else or be doing anything but.

 

 

Granted,  my name will never be a knee bender on the Walk of Fame.    But then, who really cares?  Fame is a fleeting thing at best.

End Note:  Somewhere Trouble Don’t Go   from the  Best of the Hightone Years by Buddy Miller.  Julie Miller wrote this one. Robert Plant played it on his last tour. Listen to it as it was intended to be done.

Git ya some of this—- Darrell Scott on rock banjo, stand up bass, black gals whoppin’ tambourines and Buddy Miller floggin’ on an electric guitar.

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4 comments to Terlingua Reprise – Hasta la vez próxima

  • I’m so bummed that we didn’t get to meet you OR Ara when we were down there. I met a guy in Marathon who knew him from way back, but didn’t know if he was still in the area. I’ve followed his blog for a while, seems like a very interesting dude. If we ever run into you both next time we’re there, I’ll buy both of you a beer!

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    • Andrew

      Hi Rene,
      I will hold you to the offer of a free beer. Reading your blog, I would like you to know that Stillwell’s was our very FIRST stop a few years back when we went to Big Bend. We planned to stay overnight and ended up being there a week and it was there that the love affair with BIBE began. Tell me you went down to the river below Stillwells and experienced the weirdness of La Linda?

      Anyway, after spending some time in BIBE the attraction (for us) breaks down like this:
      50% people
      40% geography/land/desert
      10% the challenge/remoteness

      Truly, it is the last frontier of the American West. I hope you plan a trip back down that way again this winter. I would be more than happy for you to set up camp at our Refuge.

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  • You got to meet Ara. Lucky man, you are.

    -T

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    • Andrew

      He’s a neighbor Tony. We are very lucky all the way around.

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