The ride from Houston to Austin is through the familiar wide open Texan country from made famous from western movies, if one chooses to stay off the expressways that is. Not much to see save for a windmill every now and again, along with an oil drilling station, and a cattle herd every now and again, with distant mesas of all different shades of gray in the far, far horizon.
In Austin the plan was to reunite with Melissa, a friend I met while in Brazil two years earlier. She is a beautiful and big-hearted gal, a University of Texas student who was living in a cooperative near campus which is where I was invited to spend a day or two at. A cooperative is basically an old house that students in rather large numbers own and operate. The rent is usually cheaper, the furnishing proletarian, and food, rooms and utilities are shared, but it is a great thing to have so many young minds in one place, learning and growing together.
“Das Deutsches Haus” – The German House coop was my home for no less then 5 unforgettable days. There were only about 12 people there being that it was summer, and the few welcomed me whole heatedly. The first day a small group invited me to go tubing down the Guadalupe river in New Braunfels, a very German-influenced township just outside of San Antonio. Tubing consists of floating in a large inner tube of a truck tire down a slow moving river, preferably with a full cooler of beer floating an arm-lengths behind you.
So that was a great experience. Max and Mark showed Natalie and myself how to catch baby turtles as the hours passed lazily. After this we were invited by a girl we met there to a barbecue at her typical Texan ranch. She is the daughter of Doug and Patty Toney, our gracious hosts for the evening. Doug is the editor and publisher of the local Herald-Zeitung and Patty is the Vice President and Chief Nursing Executive (CNE) for CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Health System. We had a great time that evening feasting, Texas style, enjoying the smell of medium rare steak o n the grill and enjoying a conversation about all the hunting exploits our gracious hosts regularly enjoys. It was a long and wonderful evening with new friends, deep into the fresh summer Texan night, on their gorgeous 25 acre ranch perfectly representative of the wild west.