“Come outside! There’s music!”
Rick has poked his head through the door to lure me out. I am skeptical. There’s a muddy dog waiting to pounce, and I’m doubtful of the prospects of a concert. But Older Brother Subservience kicks in, and I mosey out. As it turns out, you only need a few days in San Angelo to regain your mosey.
As I plop down in a patio chair, I am instantly overwhelmed by the full moon, one Hondo Crouch would have approved of. “This kind of moonshine makes you crazy if you sleep in it, they say. But I think you’re crazy not to try it,” Hondo said. Rick introduced me to Luckenbach. Rick introduced me to everything.
The moon illuminates the backyard, the quirky environment bathed in shadows and mystery. And sure enough, in the distance, music.
A band is playing at the river stage down the road. They’re good. ’90s alternative. Not exactly what I picture when I think of West Texas music, but I guess Doak Snead is in Nashville these days, so this will suffice.
They’re playing STP’s “Interstate Love Song.” I close my eyes and think about the endless ribbon of I-10 that awaits me tomorrow. When I open them, something magical happens.
As the band launches into Petty’s “Last Dance,” Rick, who had been standing near the garage looking up at the moon, begins to dance.
It strikes me that I’ve known him 61 years and I’ve NEVER seen him dance. But he’s great, in an old Southern Baptist white guy kinda way. He’s swaying and bobbing in a style that would fit right in with the spinners at a Grateful Dead show. He mentioned yesterday that we still need to make it to Burning Man one day. It’s winding down this weekend. Is he channeling?
He asks Belle, his dog, if she’d like to dance. She responds enthusiastically, jumping up and down and running circles around him. Luckenbach has nothing on our yard. Two souls dancing in the moonlight as summer bows out in West Texas. This might be a dream. I’m good with that.
As the song ends, he fetches a camping chair from the garage and sits down. I ask: Why that chair rather than the patio furniture?
“The seat cushions on those chairs are soaked from the rain,” he says. “Your bottom must be really wet.”
I leap up. He has known for 10 minutes I was sitting in this chair. Sure enough, my butt is totally soaked. It’s dark. I can’t see if he’s smiling. I don’t need to.
We drive to the airport to pick up June. My soggy bottom shivers on the plastic chair in the waiting area. We drive home, and I pack up the memories for the long drive ahead.
“They won’t believe that we have such a big moon for such a small town,” Hondo said of Luckenbach.
I guess that’s us. Such a big love for such a small family.
And such a wet bottom …