We awoke on Sunday morning well rested and ready to enjoy what appeared to be a perfect weather day. The schedule was full of good music to spend the afternoon enjoying, and we suspected this would be a fine end to a fantastic weekend. But first, it was time to enjoy our breakfast.
We were seated in the breakfast room, but learned that another couple would join us. Our tablemates had also come in to enjoy music for the weekend. Bill and Robin were from Georgetown, and had enjoyed the Saengerhalle Saturday afternoon shows, and were heading to Gruene today. We had a nice visit with them over our beautifully set, candlelit table. Our first delights were a slice of breakfast Apple Pie and bowl of watermelon bites. But next was my favorite, biscuits and sausage gravy, with bacon and sausage on the side. It was a large, filling, wonderful breakfast, enhanced by the great service and nice folks we shared it with.
We finished breakfast, went back to our cabin, and sat in the breezeway visiting with Bill and Robin. The weather was just perfect for an activity such as that. We finally parted ways, and Andy and I decided to go on into Gruene for some shopping.
The town was bustling already, with crazy people lined up already to go into Gruene Hall nearly two hours before the doors opened! I'm all for getting a front seat, but there was too much to see and do to waste time in line this day! We wandered up and down the little streets, resisting the temptation to spend lots, until...........
Our last shopping stop was at a consignment antique shop, on the corner across the street from Gruene Hall. As we entered, we saw lots of neat stuff. But as we dug further, we found, much to our delight, an abundance of Lone Star Beer stuff! As an avid collector, I was in heaven. Looking around I found a little I didn't have, and a lot that I did. My biggest find was an old, Lone Star Beer tray that I had wanted to complete my set of trays! I also found a perfect Lone Star Beer hat pin I had been looking for to give to my dear friend, Hat! I couldn't believe my luck! We spent a good 45 minutes or so in the shop, checked out, and headed across the street.
We didn't have to wait in line, just handed over our tickets and walked in. Several folks offered us seats they had saved up near the front, but we chose to stand a little, then adjourn to picnic tables out in the beer garden. We decided the great outdoors were just too great to pass up for the majority of this day. We could still hear the music where we sat, but really wanted to visit with friends we didn't get to see often (and we kind of think it rude to yell over performers inside!), thus didn't see a lot on stage. From where we sat, all the performers were great, and we stepped in occasionally to look as we grabbed a fresh beer or two. In our outdoor world, we spent some quality time with Hat and Ted from Connecticut, whom we dearly love but rarely get to see. We had fajitas with our buddy, Donnie Courville, and had a short, but nice visit with Hayes and Jenna Carll as Eli slept in his stroller. We had numerous other friends and acquaintances stopping by our table throughout the warm, breezy Texas Sunday afternoon. Performers we heard and didn't see? Vince Bell, Warren Hood and his band, Susan Gibson, Walt Wilkins, Brandon Rhyder, and Jon Dee Graham.
As it drew time for Slaid Cleaves, it was time for me to move inside. Most who know me know I've got my "top 5" performers, and this guy is one of 'em. Before the show, I had to go say howdy to Slaid. This guy is like so many other of our favorites, in that he's not only an amazing singer/songwriter, and he not only chooses GREAT folks to co-write with and cover, and not only is a talented musician, but is the nicest guy you'd ever want to meet. He complimented me on my shirt (a Don Walser benefit shirt, in which the benefit was inspired by Slaid saying we could do it...and we gave him a shirt also! I always compliment him when he's got his on, and vice versa.) I hugged his neck, let him go, grabbed a fresh beer, stood behind and to the side of the sound board with Andy and some of our friends, and thoroughly enjoyed his set. I did my traditional "cell call/live broadcast" to HippieBobby and Juliea Wilbanks during his performance of Walser's "Texas Top Hand", in which Slaid's yodel was fantastic. It was also good to see Jeff Plankenhorn with him, Plank is also an artist in his own right.
When Slaid finished, it was time for the final Fred Eaglesmith show. I remained standing near the back, with Andy behind me and friend Pat Prestage beside me. I think Pat and I sang and danced throughout the entire show. Of the six Texas shows I saw, this one was the absolute finest. I think they decided to save the best for last. Besides the mixed choice of songs, it seemed like they all gave 110%, and it was great. My hubby brought me a couple of cold, fresh Lone Stars during the show, and the crowd around me was Fredheads this time, unlike the Sat. night show. I noticed our breakfast mate Robin at a table near me seeming to enjoy the music. It was her first Fred show, and I was glad she seemed to be really into it. But best of all, I loved seeing the Fredheads from near and far, in my vantage point, all singing along, moving to the music, without a care in the world, for a little while at least. I had another friend later tell me this show moved her almost spiritually. Wonderful and powerful stuff.
When the show ended, we stuck around long enough for a couple of Guy Forsyth's tunes, then decided to head to Adobe's for dinner. Upon our arrival, there was one large table full of Fredheads and musicians already seated, so Andy and I chose a table for four near them. Just after ordering, Joy and Mark Jungers came in and we asked them to join us. We were so glad we did, it was our first chance to really sit down, visit, and get to know them better. We laughed and chatted as a performer played covers in the background. It was the perfect way to end a great day and fantastic weekend. Adobe's decided it was time to close, and we said our farewells to all, drove back to our B&B, and settled in to sleep.
We awoke and packed most of our things, after showering we headed to breakfast. We were joined again by Robin and Bill, and spent the morning recapping the previous day, and sharing names of artists we thought one another might enjoy. Our delightful breakfast was all we could eat Swedish pancakes, strawberries, whipped cream, maple syrup, sausage, bacon and orange juice. I told Andy I'd really gotten used to this big, wonderful breakfast treatment, and would be sad to leave it. As we finished, we said our goodbyes to our new friends. We loaded the van, paid our bill, said goodbye to our wonderful hostess Bettina and the Hunter Road Stagecoach Bed and Breakfast and decided to trek into Gruene, one last time.
We stopped in at one of the shops to pick up t-shirts for our kids. It was amazing how quiet the little town is on Monday mornings! I loved it that way as well, only a few people on the sunshine filled streets. We drove out of the sleepy town and headed toward home.
Our goal now was to make it to Elm Mott in time for lunch. We did just that, arriving at Heitmillerís Family Steakhouse about 1 p.m. This is one of our favorite stops, we love this place. As you go in, you pick up a menu and pencil. Upon being seated, you mark exactly what you want to eat and drink on the menu, and when they bring your food, they bring it back and you use it when it's time to visit the cashier. The food here is wonderful, more like food you used to get in the old family run cafes. We enjoyed our dinner, then headed back home to our kiddos.
It was great to be away, but there's no place like home. The kids and pets seemed equally glad of our return. We had missed our daily hugs and smooches and storytelling from the kids, but they seem to have had a great time with Pops and B. B even had dinner for us, since I needed to attend a school board meeting the same evening.
Looking back, I couldn't have asked for a better "get away". Again, many thanks and kudos to Tracie Ferguson, Mike and Lujuan Thompson, and Fred Eaglesmith and crew for giving us a fantastic weekend, and making all of us feel right at home at every show.
See y'all next year!!
Lone Star Mama
Beginning/Thursday of the Fred in Texas Weekend
Friday of the Texas Fred Weekend
Saturday of the Texas Fred Weekend