Photo Friday

Snaps and stories from the past few weeks
Photo: Grainy black and white photo of a double rainbow

It was exactly a week ago, a few minutes before 6:00 p.m., that Debbie glanced out a window from our living room and exitedly called my attention to a beautiful atmospheric phenomenon. I grabbed my phone and hurried into the back yard and snapped a few photos of a rare (for us) double rainbow.

Because of all the darned trees and hills around us, we rarely get an almost unobstructed view of things like this, and it was truly a blessing to experience it. I felt doubly privileged because it disappeared completely within five minutes of taking these photos.

I mentioned the beauty of the scene, and that’s unmistakable, but nothing beats black-and-white for drama. I converted the preceding photo, removed the offending satellite dish, and jacked up the shadows a bit to create the following one.

We recently spent some time in San Antonio, the second of two consecutive weekend trips to catch special musical performances. We stayed in the Hotel Emma both times. The view from our room on the first trip was primarily of a large tree, but the second trip provided a view of the San Antonio River, as well as some not-so-scenic buildings. But the rising sun cast a glow on said buildings such that they actually provided their own kind of unique beauty.

We ambled along the Riverwalk one bright morning, and spotted this sentry goose providing protection and security. He’s not the hero we deserve right now, but he is the hero we need.

The primary reason for this trip was the Los Texmaniac concert taking place on Saturday night in the newly opened Stable Hall in the Pearl District. Stable Hall was constructed in 1894 as housing for the draft horses for the Pearl Brewery. It’s been converted into a state-of-the-art event venue…and a very cool one, at that. It seats up to 1,000 people, so every seat is a good one.

We made our reservations early and had third row, center stage seats. In fact, if you look closely at the following photo (and follow the yellow arrow) you can make out Debbie’s smiling face as viewed from behind the performers.

This was the band’s view during its final song of the night.

Los Texmaniacs is one of our favorite bands, and they put on a terrific show. This night was to be even more special, as it featured the appearance of rocker Augie Meyers and legendary accordionist Flaco Jiménez. Unfortunately, Flaco (who is in his mid-80s) suffered a fall and had been hospitalized and not able to attend. However, a surprise appearance by Texas bluesman Johnny Nicholas (former member of Asleep At The Wheel and owner of the Hilltop Cafe outside of Fredericksburg) helped to make up for Flaco’s absence.

[l-r, front row] Augie Meyers, Johnny Nicholas, Max Baca, Josh Baca

In case you’re too young, or were into different musical genres at the time, Augie Meyers was one of the founding members, along with Doug Sahm (San Antonio), of the Sir Douglas Quintet, which started in the mid-60s in San Antonio. The best-known songs by SDQ are She’s About A Mover (more about that in a minute) and Mendocino. Meyers and Sahm later teamed up with Freddy Fender (San Benito, TX) and the aforementioned Flaco Jiménez (San Antonio) to form one of the first so-called supergroups, the Texas Tornados. Their music is a fusion of conjunto, country, and a little bit rock n’roll, with their biggest hit entitled (Hey Baby) Que Pasó?, still a favorite around the dance halls of Texas.

Augie and his Vox Continental

Los Texmaniacs put on a straight-on musical show — not much talking, just a lot of astounding music. Augie, on the other hand, was as much about the storytelling as the music, and he shared a lot of occasionally hilarious stories, some of which I can’t repeat here due to their, um, mature content. He did tell about the time he was bucked off a horse, caught his foot in the stirrup, and the horse ran with him until the Walmart employee came out and unplugged it. *rimshot*

If you’re interested in knowing more of the history surrounding Augie, here’s a transcript of a great interview with him from 2009.

Anyway…I referred above to She’s About A Mover, and that was the closing song of the night. It brought the crowd to its feet — the demographic skewed to the more chronologically advanced end of the spectrum — and a singalong broke out (although, really, the only lyrics most of us knew were the chorus, which aren’t exactly complicated). Here’s a short video to give you a taste.

Augie Meyers and Los Texmaniacs pay tribute to the Sir Douglas Quintet

Stable Hall is a beautiful and fairly intimate venue, and a great addition to the Pearl District. It’s also a three minute stroll from the Hotel Emma (about the same distance as Jazz Texas, another venue I recommended highly), so you don’t have to worry about parking or driving.

Most of you Texans will recognize the mass of typically quinquefoliac plants with palmately compound leaves shown below as the early stages of bluebonnets. Judging by the thick carpet of these plants across our neighborhood, this is going to be an excellent year for wildflowers.

Here’s a fun exercise in time-killing. According to some, bluebonnets can have up to seven leaves. However, like the four-leaf clover, such variations seem to very rare. Feel free to share a photo if you run across a bluebonnet with more than five leaves.

Debbie and I were excited to find one or two early flowers among the aforementioned fields. We thought about submitting the following photo to the local newspaper in hopes that it would be the first sighting, but when we opened the current edition the same day we took this photo, someone had beat us to it.

That “someone” is our pal Joe Farley, who we knew from our time in Midland and who has also retired in Horseshoe Bay. Joe is typically the guy who submits the first bluebonnet photo of the year. I would accuse him of submitting the same photo year after year because no one would think to check…but, unfortunately, he’s too nice to do something like that (unlike me).

A foretaste of great things to come, unless a lawn mower comes first

I ran across the following photo on Facebook yesterday, and it took me a few minutes to figure out how this Escher-like contraption works. If you’re equally challenged, here’s a hint: once you figure out the function of the shortest chain, the rest of the assembly will make sense.

More than one person commented that their cat would wreak havoc on this table in a matter of seconds.

How do it do dat?

Parting Shot

I trust that I won’t have to explain this to you.