||[Oct. 9th, 2003|10:41 pm]
We rolled into Mason, Texas, population 2,134 with high hopes and great expectations for the weekend ahead. Someone must have forgotten to inform the band because the usual fanfare that surrounds a homecomin’ seemed to be lacking; instead of a ticker-tape parade we settled for BBQ at the Frey’s ranch. |
Amber’s family served as a welcome change from the surly Austinites that I’ve become accustomed to. Her mother, the quintessential small town Texas woman dripped with a contrived sense of modesty as she spoke about their “simple life” in fair Mason. Daddy Frey stood in stark contrast of his wife. His weathered features reflected the arduous labour that accompanied his life as a cattle rancher. His words were few but I suppose that stolidity was just a trick of the cattleman trade.
After dinner we chewed the fat with Mamma Frey and by 11:30 that night we found ourselves on The Loop.
“Beer me,” was the phrase of the evening as we traversed, The Loop. We talked about Amber’s relationship and mine and Nessa’s apparent lack of one. We talked about life, college, and the little mutinies that have manifested themselves within our social circle. Amber and I had about seven or eight beers each and with all my drunken insight I convinced her and Nessa that we should do The Loop again.
We did the return trip at seven times the Ronald Stockbridge Recommended Loop Speed. Perhaps it was my chemically induced altered state of mind, but under the influence, Amber becomes a substantially better driver. However, sometime between taking drags off of Amber and Nessa’s cigarettes, going over cattle guards at 60 m.p.h. and drinking more beer, I passed out.
Around 3:30 Saturday morning, Nessa woke up in the backseat to find that Amber had passed out in the middle of an intersection. Nessa got out of the car and tried to rouse Amber so that she could drive us home. Little did Nessa know that Amber did not have the car in park but rather had her foot on the brake so when Amber awoke she began to drive away. Nessa chased after the car and in a daring act of heroism dove into the front seat and stopped the car.
Somehow we made it back to the Frey’s in one piece and drifted off into an alcohol induced sleep.
On Saturday, after a morning of sticky buns and working off the ill effects of the night before, we had lunch at Santos and sauntered about the square. It was apparent from the awkward stares and subtle glances people shot our way that our presence in their tiny Hill Country Shangri-la had been noted.
Saturday was also the day we fell in love on the side of Underwood Antiques. I saw them out of the corner of my eye as we bolted across 29. Their yellow textile facades had been weathered by time and now they had been left by the side of the road to fade into obscurity. Knowing articles of furniture, unlike dogs and humans do not go to Heaven but rather they end up in the landfill, I took it upon myself to save these two poor chairs. My altruism and Christian charity was soon rewarded by the gracious chairs when I plopped myself down into one of them.
After a minute or two of sitting there waving at the motorist passing by, Nessa pulled the car around and we took off with the chairs. Elated with our find, we dove back to the Frey Ranch, crawled into Amber’s bed, and watched Romeo and Juliet.
That night we had chicken ‘n dumplings for dinner and saw Pirates of the Caribbean at The Odeon. After the movie we dropped Hunter off at the house and did Loop Trip No. 2.
For some reason or another we decided to steal every sign on The Loop, and those that we couldn’t get away with were subjected to our boot kickin’ wrath. Conversation was often interrupted by, “OH LOOK SIGN,” at which point everyone would jump out of the car and do whatever was necessary to obtain the sign.
Some ways down the road, after destroying “Keep Gate Closed” and possibly getting tetanus, we ran into some Mason kids. We danced in the back of someone’s pickup, I downed a few more beers, and then after a while of sharing drunken stories and learnin’ that someone had kin in Leander, we hopped back in the Aztek and kept on with our course down The Loop. Past the wishing well we ran into Little Ashley who gave us chicken strips. After a brief exchange of words and being introduced to more Masonites, we continued on our course and neared the end of The Loop.
It was on the highway at the mouth of The Loop that I saw what I had been searching for all night, a mailbox. I ran across the street as fast I as could in a pair of boots and tried to do a high kick on the mailbox. In my drunkenness I hadn’t accounted for something -probably distance or height- and when I kicked I totally missed the mailbox and fell flat on my ass. With my ego bruised, I sprang to my feet and punched the mailbox. I quickly learned that picking fights with inanimate objects, especially made out of metal will often result in the trashing of a lifetime. Defeated, I pulled myself back into the Aztek and we made our way down the highway back towards Mason.
We attacked another mailbox on the way home as retribution for what one of his brethren had done but I gained no solace from the random act of violence.
As we made our return trip down 29 away from Mason, away from the Hill Country, back to the dreariness of the city, we all sat quietly reflecting on the events that took place during the weekend. Once again Amber was without a right side view mirror. Nessa gained insight on life in a small Texas town and I gained a plethora of new cuts, scrapes, and bruises.
We realised, as we frantically patted out the “bush fire” that Amber started on her crotch, that we had reached a new level of closeness in our friendship.