MONDAY MADNESS: Old Buckaroos


Those in the class of 1963 have turned 70 years old or soon will.

There were only about 36 graduates that year in the small south Texas town of Freer.

Many of us had started first grade together and everybody knew everybody.

Graduation would scatter us like dust in the brush country where we grew up.

We would journey into the 1960s with hopes and dreams of the young

and then emerge in a new millennium where all the dreams may not have come true.

The memories linger sweetly.

Monday Madness: CAT CONFESSIONS


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Once upon a time I had six cats and two cat doors; three were inside cats and three were outside cats.  These were their names.

SAMSON

MACAVITY

JELLICLE

SYLVESTER

CALLIE

WHITE CAT

All but Macavity are buried in the back yard. Today I am down to my last cat, Wiccan.  She is 15 years old.  I hope she goes before we do because no on else would take her. She does not like to come inside.  We bring her in only in bad weather.  Daughter, who loves cats, would not take her because Wiccan does not like her and hisses if Daughter tries to come near her.  Son would not take her as she does not play well with his two dogs when he visits.

 WICCAN RESTING IN A FLOWER POT

My beautiful picture

Lesson from “La Cage Aux Folles” – The Best of Times is Now


 

One of my favorite movies is “The Birdcage” with Robin Williams, Nathan Lane and Gene Hackman, as there are so many layers to savor.  Yet I had never seen the musical, “La Cage Aux Folles,” until I saw it last month at a local theater, Harbor Playhouse, in Corpus Christi.  Husband, Daughter and I attended a Sunday matinee performance.

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Daughter and I were delighted when Husband brought our wine in commemorative  glasses.

2015 05 31 The Bird Cage (11) The production was great fun and an outstanding last performance.  My favorite song was “The Best of Times is Now”as it reminded me (at this age) that the best times are those right now in the moment…tomorrow…who knows…CHEERS!

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Wine, Rain and a Wedding at the LBJ Ranch


The morning rain had stopped.  Our favorite wineries did not open until 10 o’clock so we decided to stop at the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park.  We had been there before but had never toured President Johnson’s Texas White House.  Checking in at the visitors’ center, we were informed that the last tour would begin at 11 o’clock  because a special event was being held there.  The pass for the window of the car was put in place, and we started on the self-guided LBJ Ranch Tour Route that follows the Pedernales River.  The park brochure describes it this way.

“President Johnson drew strength and solace from to demonstrate the cultural and conservation practices associated with ranching prompted President and Mrs. Johnson to donate a portion of the LBJ Ranch to the National Park Service in 1972.  Johnson stipulated to park planners. that the LBJ Ranch remain a working ranch, and not a ‘sterile relic of the past.’  To that end, the National Park Service maintains a herd of Hereford cattle descended from the President’s registered herd and manages the ranch lands as a living demonstration of ranching the LBJ way.”

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The road meanders along the river until it turns and crosses it via a low river crossing.  It took us past on old school where Johnson attended, his reconstructed birthplace, the Johnson family cemetery and a modest farm-house where his grandparents had lived.  Remnants of Johnson’s Herefords grazed quietly as we passed cattle guard after cattle guard seemingly accustomed to the slow movement of cars.

The first thing you see at the Texas White is Johnson’s jet.  He would fly into Austin on Air Force One from Washington and then take the smaller jet to the ranch where a small landing field was constructed.  Husband reluctantly agree to a photo.

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The building next to the jet had been an airplane hangar originally, but it had been converted into a visitors’ center.  At the entrance a huge white tent was set up with white tables and chairs and red-checkered table cloths; people were busy decorating the tables and getting things set up.  I imagined some local fundraiser for a charitable cause.  We proceeded inside to obtain our tickets at $3.00 each.

Soon a park guide gathered our small group together.  We walked to the entrance of the house that was surrounded by a low white picket fence.  A small delivery truck full of wildflowers, some in blue and white pots, was being unloaded.  I assumed they were for the special event scheduled for later.

For those of us who had lived through the Johnson administration years, being inside the Texas White House was like going back in time.  There were three television sets placed side by side so that the President could keep up with the news on CBS, NBS and ABC – no cable in those days.  Telephones were scattered all over the sprawling house; the guide told us that Johnson was constantly on the phone.

At the end of the tour our park guide casually mentioned that we had chosen to visit at a special time as Jennifer Robb was getting married that evening at the ranch.  So that was the reason for the flowers and tent!  I remembered that Lynda Bird Johnson Robb was the daughter of President and Mrs. Johnson but did not know anything about her children.

Now I wanted more details!  I walked to the front of the house outside the fence and saw a woman (dressed in shorts & boots)  placing what appeared to be horseshoes on metal rods.

“Excuse me, ” I said.  “Are those for the wedding?”

“Yes, ” she replied. “They will be married up at the house on the lawn, but she wants to cut the cake down here by the river.”  That would explain the flowers being unloaded there, I thought.

“Oh, that will be lovely!  May I take a photo – I won’t include you in it.”

“Yes, that’s fine,” she replied as she continued placing the horseshoe things firmly in the ground.

I could just imagine flowing white silk fabric being entwined in the horseshoes to guide wedding guests toward the Pedernales River and a bride’s table with a huge cake.
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On our way out we had to pass the tent.  Politely, I asked if we could take a picture.  Again, a friendly wedding planner said it was fine and volunteered that the couple had reception the night before in Austin at the LBJ Library and that she hoped it would not rain.   I joked that my invitation must have gotten lost in the mail.

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On out way out we stopped at the Johnson family cemetery where President and Mrs. Johnson are buried near the Pedernales River.  At each of the headstones was a huge bouquet of wildflowers in short blue vases identical to the ones brought for the wedding.

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Later that afternoon as we left our last winery, Texas Hills Vineyards, just outside Johnson City, it started to rain.  Oh, I thought, I wonder if it is raining back at the LBJ Ranch.

To find out how the wedding went, click the link below to a website maintained by an Austin newspaper. 

http://society.blog.austin360.com/2015/05/26/everyone-is-safe-but-rains-soak-lbj-ranch-wedding-for-johnson-family/

For those on Facebook, check out even more intimate photos of the wedding on their 5/27 post.

https://www.facebook.com/FriendsofLBJNationalPark

CONGRATULATIONS, JENNIFER AND JOSH!

Andy Warhol: Back on the Bay with Myths and Legends


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Andy Warhol is back on the bay – at least his art is back.

Warhol and his art are were here 43 years ago at the opening of the Art Museum of South Texas.  I moved to Corpus Christi that year (1972) but did not see the exhibit.

The building was designed by modern architect Philip Johnson and was built at the entrance to the Port of Corpus Christi.  At the time it was a stark contrast from the modest neighborhoods that were nearby.

The museum’s website describes it perfectly.  “Constructed entirely out of white shellcrete and plaster, it seems to radiate with the strong South Texas heat and light. This was the purpose, as stated by Philip Johnson: ‘Light is the essence, and light coming in from all sides is especially bathing and soothing.’ The floor-to-ceiling windows offer a spectacular view of Corpus Christi Bay as well as the Harbor Bridge.”

The Art Museum of South Texas in 1972

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Today we have Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History, Harbor Playhouse, Museum of Asian Culture, Whataburger FieldAmerican Bank Center , Solomon P. Ortiz International Center, and Hurricane Alley all nestled and thriving in the shadow the Harbor Bridge.

The museum as it is today.

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The original on the right is the one Philip Johnson designed.  In 2006 the space was doubled with an addition designed by Mexican architects Ricardo Legorreta and his son Victor Legorreta and features 13 distinctive pyramids.  Ricardo Legorreta died in 2011 at age 80.

A current exhibit is “Warhol:  Myths and Legends, from the Cochran Collection” and will be on display until July 19.  The museum brochure describes it this way.  “Wesley and Missy Cochran of LaGrange, Georgia, share their collection of 36 of Warhol’s signature silkscreens.  The silkscreens were created starting in 1974 to just months before Warhol’s death in 1987 and include complete sets of his Cowboys and Indians and Myths series as well as celebrity images.”

The poured white concrete and shell aggregate walls of the museum were the perfect background for these iconic pops of color images of John F. Kennedy, John Wayne,  Mickey Mouse, Santa Clause, Sitting Bull, Warhol himself and others.  My favorites were those sprinkled partially with diamond dust.

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In a small alcove off the main exhibit were black and white photos of the construction and opening of the museum that also featured works of Jasper Johns and Frank Stella. Installed was a video interview of Warhol with a camera around his neck; he often kept a camera with him.  He would have undoubtedly embraced cell phones and the other devices we have today to capture each other as we all have our “fifteen minutes of fame.”

Reflected selfie of Crone, Husband and Son outside the museum.

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