With Waylon and Willie and the Californians


Texas Type


Even though I’ll forever be an ausländer to genuine locals, after nearly seven years here, it is interesting to see the visitors’ perspective of Fredericksburg.

My wife, Christine, an El Paso native, invited her family to Fredericksburg for the first week of July. We had been to California’s Bay Area to see them the past two summer vacations. So, some slower, small-town Texan experience was on the agenda.

Christine’s mother and sister arrived early and got to know a bit about the town and their way around H-E-B.

Her brother, his wife and three children rented a B&B which I noted was “all the way across town,” a laughable thought to these Northern Californians who fight awful traffic daily. Brother-in-law’s children include two adult daughters and a soon-to-be high school sophomore son. Abel’s wife, Genny, also invited her sister and brother-in-law, who live in one of the Los Angeles area cities.

Abel and Genny’s children are finding their way in life. Niece Ayla is a professional distance runner (you may have seen her blazing up the high school track or Cherry Street on a near-impossible pace — she missed the last Olympics in the 1,500 meter run by about one second). She’ll shoot for it again in 2020, so training is a part of her daily routine. Our other niece, Alyssa, is a free-spirited and kind-hearted musician who now lives in Boise, Idaho and pursues her passion. She shared her considerable talents with us, serenading our back porch sessions a few times. Their son, Christian, is the same age as our Will, both tall, skinny teens that remind the entire family of their late patriarch.

Needless to say, the pace of their lives slowed considerably even though we packed in a lot during the week. We shopped on Main Street, we took in the Fourth of July parade, visited museums, took in Wildseed Farms and spent a lot of time relaxing on our back porch with cold beverages. We bought some great peaches.

I indulged them some California time and treated them to a session at Lizard Dreaming Yoga.

We ate at Hondo’s, Tubby’s and several other downtown establishments. We tasted local wines and sipped tasty bourbons at Garrison Brothers. I told them about the pro-Union German settlers, and LBJ’s ranch down the road.

Fredericksburg, of course, offers experiences for which people make pilgrimages. My niece’s boyfriend is a twenty-something competitive MMA fighter, but he has an old soul. He likes 1970s soul music, but we played him the classic song “Luckenbach, Texas (Back to the Basics of Love)” and he seemed transformed. So on Saturday, we took the backroads over to the storied “town” made legendary by Hondo Crouch, Waylon and Willie.

“This is it?” he said as he walked up to the Post Office building. “This is it,” I said, pointing out that, actually, new bathrooms had recently been added. We grabbed beers at the bar and found a spot at a table under the Live Oaks. And Northern California hustle and bustle melted away.

The genius of the song is in getting away from it all, the feudin’, the keeping up with the Joneses, and putting on “some boots and faded jeans and go away.” In today’s constantly connected society, we all need more Luckenbach moments in our lives.

Their vacation, and our “staycation,” wasn’t fancy. It was about spending time with family and getting back to “the basics of love.”