You’ve seen how much fun the Bennetts, Morgans and Miner/Rohr couples have together even through the stress of running that funfest called The Harp Guitar Gathering…
Now imagine A) taking all that stress and responsibility away, and B) removing all the witnesses from the equation…
You’re not imagining hard enough…it’s much more sophomoric and full of unprintable material than that.
Yes, as life permits, these three couples try to plan a long weekend somewhere to spend time together without the demands of the Gathering duties. We missed 2017 due to a little emergency, but were able to re-book our vacation rental a year later with no extra fee…we couldn’t miss it again!
Readers may be familiar with our previous adventures in New Orleans and Sea Rose Beach. This time we headed to Wimberly in the Texas hill country, renting a house that was big enough for the six of us. The following images all by Linda Morgan unless “miner” or “rohr” appears in the file name.
It was an odd mishmash of styles, but had multiple patios and views of the valley.
The gang had to put up with me hobbling in my therapy boot as fast as I could (bone spur/tendon thing)
Morgans were able to drive from their Irving, Texas home, so Joe brought a pile of guitars, mandolins and banjo. SB also brought his portable Kala U-Bass (a rather astounding invention). These came out the very first night, and for the next 4 days, we were treated (a word the women wouldn’t necessarily use) to the sound of banjo morning, noon and night. Yes, Stephen has taken up bluegrass banjo just for fun, and like everything he touches, is already a virtuoso.
He must be halfway through the “1001 Fiddle Tunes” book from the sound of it. Joe grew up with all these as well, and knew any tune SB began to play, comping chords non-stop. Half the time, I couldn’t tell one from another, but pretty much my only job was to learn every possible way to play the note “G” on the uke-bass (not many, it turns out).
Above, here’s a short bootleg clip of SB just noodling on the simplest pattern I heard all weekend.
We’d jam into the wee hours non-stop, while he went nuts improvising melodic banjo picking solos of every musical style.
Here, he just goofs on the U-bass (click for clip).
He doesn’t know I’m filming…
Just wanted to give y’all a little “fly on the wall” perspective of the fun we had.
After a monumental breakfast prepared by Joe, we headed over to nearby New Braunfels to see the oldest hardware store in Texas. This seems to be our thing. We visited the oldest hardware store in North Carolina after HGG13 hosted by the Sprinkles.
None of us had ever heard of this contraption – how many can possibly still be in their original condition?! The “money trolley” lines crisscrossed the entire giant store just over our heads – a hundred years ago, the salespeople would write orders right there in the aisles, clip the slips of paper to this thing, and it would zip off to the office in the back for processing.
They also had the oldest bakery in Texas and this great 1898 county courthouse
We stumbled upon a charming little indoor/outdoor train museum in their old depot building.
We tried to learn as many of the Universal Hobo Symbols as we could, in case we became separated.
A wonderful H-O train layout that the kindly docent ran for us.
During dinner in the local Italian joint, these two women came up to Stephen to have their picture taken with him. Were they Einstein fans? Mark Twain aficionados? No, they thought he was (the late) Freddy Fender!
Saturday, another leisurely morning, then we split up. I went with Joe & Linda to “Dick’s Classic Car Museum” in nearby San Marcos. Morgans are huge car museum buffs and Joe was pretty encyclopedic about this stuff.
The sign said this was the last Tucker to leave the factory (unfinished, unsold).
Meanwhile, Jaci & Nancy chose to explore local thrift and antique stores. They later reported it a total bust.
Poor Stephen tagged along, and was no better rewarded, despite the promise of “Mantiques.” Yes, this is a thing. He and Joe and I would later go “mantiquing” in shops full of manly old décor made of antlers and other bro-friendly items (this is where Gaston from Beauty and the Beast apparently shops).
Saturday night: More music and games. Quiddler (SB is not only a tunesmith but a wordsmith) and “Man Bites Dog” (avoid the latter if you value your marriage).
Sunday, we all voted to go to San Antonio to see the Alamo – I mean, how could we not? As Morgan’s warned, it was much smaller than it appears in movies (Fess Parker, we forgive you). The museum and historical signage was very nice, and I was surprised when Joe told me that Phil Collins (yes, that Phil Collins) had assembled the world’s largest collection of Alamo artifacts, which he had recently donated to the city.
SB suggested we stroll through the famous River Walk (so famous I’d never heard of it), and so we did (despite the fact that I’m hiking around in that boot!).
Incredibly lovely. They diverted the river through the city (this was decades ago) to create a huge intertwining maze of water, tunnels and bridges, and sidewalks lined with restaurants, shops and gardens.
There were multiple Mariachi band hustlers, and I couldn’t resist treating my friend to a romantic Mexican song. While the lyrics said “I love you,” his eyes say “I’ll kill you.” We’re close that way.
The boat ride was quite charming as well.
After games, another impromptu music night. We were supposed to be the “Hungry Hombres” (a running joke from previous trips), which had become “Henry Hombre” due to a Siri typo, and finally “Henry Hombre and the Recliners.”
The girls were killing themselves – this wasn’t posed; just how we eventually ended up at the end of the long weekend, with nothing moving but our fingers. A true bluegrass band!
Jaci shot this quick clip (click pic for link):
While I slept in the next morning, Linda took this photo from our balcony.
We saw a ton of deer during our drives. On this foggy morning, Jaci saw this visitor right outside our room.
A final shot. Good friends, good times!