Sunday, April 17, 2011

Play Time

One of the first bright spots of a good week came along on Tuesday as I was making my way home from the office. The curator of the Bastrop County Historical Museum was calling. The previous week I had responded to an email sent to their members looking for locally produced quilts from the 1950s and earlier for a quilt exhibit the museum planned for the month of May. I just happened to have 8 quilts in the closet that Grandmother Lucy Hodge had crafted and I thought they might be of interest. After two weeks with no response, I had almost forgotten the whole thing, figuring they were looking for "art" quilts and not for the everyday family quilts I had inherited.

But, on the contrary, she was very interested in the quilts and we made an appointment for me to bring them in Wednesday afternoon for her to have a closer look. We had a good time pulling out the quilts and talking about family and local history. In the end, she selected three of the quilts to be included in the display.

On Friday, friend Lana came down to spend the night and we had a choice of two events to attend on Saturday. We vacillated between the two choices while indulging ourselves in steaks and baked potatoes at Nancy's Steak House. When we finally went to bed, we still weren't sure which direction we were headed the next morning - to her UDC event or to my DAR event.

Over morning coffee, we finally realized why we had not been able to make up our minds the evening before. We really didn't want to go to either meeting. We were in the mood to run away and play. We've both had too many obligations and too many meetings and too many drains on our mental energy of late. We made the decision to play hooky.

We started with a stop at Starbuck's and then hit the back road to McDade to visit a cemetery and experiment with my new grave dowsing rods. Halfway there, I had a sudden urge to veer off toward the Oak Hill Cemetery so that Lana could see an authentic "scraped" cemetery. As we drove up, we realized that it was an official cemetery cleaning day and a dozen or so folks were busily at work. One of the first people I spotted inside the gate was distant cousin Dorothy, who was holding her own set of dowsing rods. Grabbing the opportunity, we wheedled a dowsing lesson from an expert and in short order I was having a great time witching graves. No one seems to know just how and why grave dowsing/witching works, but it took no time at all for me to become a believer. The rods would cross as soon as I approached a known grave, and the test for male or female (a lone rod swinging to the head or the foot of the grave -foot for male, head for female) was proving to be quite accurate when I would test first and check the name on the headstone afterward.

A couple of the workers decided to test me to see if I was really getting the correct results. One led me to a grave where he knew the man had been buried in reverse position, with his feet at the top of the grave. Sure enough, the rod swung in the opposite direction from what I had been told to expect, confusing me, before he explained that the rod was giving me the correct information. Another led me to a gravesite where I got no reading at all, before she explained that the headstone was a cenotaph and there was no body buried there.

Finally, they took me to a grave containing cremains in an urn mounted on the tombstone. The rods faithfully crossed when positioned directly over the urn and the gender test still proved accurate. We were having a blast, although Lana was having some difficulties with getting the rods to work for her. Dorothy explained that the rods did not work for some people, but she was sure after watching me that I did indeed have the gift for grave witching. Later in the day when we stopped at another cemetery and had another round of practice, Lana was getting better results so we are hoping that her learning curve is just a bit behind mine. After all, I had had some practice locating water lines in the yard beforehand.

From grave dowsing, we embarked on an antiques jaunt in the Round Top area. What a difference a couple of weeks makes. The craziness of the spring Antiques Fair had given way to empty fields and show barns, with only the full time antiques stores open for business. We strolled our way leisurely through the stores on the south side of Carmine before heading down to Round Top for lunch. We had decided to check out Royer's Cafe, a place renown for their pies, arriving at 1pm, not expecting to hit a crowd in the sleepy little town. We were in for a surprise. Royer's was packed with recreational bikers and tourists and we thought we would have to wait for a table. But Royer's is used to this kind of lunch crowd and was introducing customers to each other as they filled every seat at every table. We shared a table and had a nice visit with a couple of ladies from California who were in Texas to visit family. Lana and I shared a great hamburger and then a huge slab of cherry pie with Blue Bell ice cream.

We were full of great food after a morning of great fun and it became perfect when our waiter announced that the pie was on the house because it was our first visit. All I can say is, if you are ever in Round Top and in need of a pie fix, you need to head to Royer's. Yummy!

Our stomachs full and satisfied, we headed back to visit the stores on the north side of Carmine. We did not find a whole lot, but we did find a good buy on some collectible dolls of just the right size for our dollhouse activities and we each took home two.

One final round of antiquing at a coop mall in Giddings ended the day. We headed back to Bastrop, relaxed and contented. We concluded that sometimes you just need to escape your obligations and instead run free and experience the joys of spontaneous life. We had a fantastic day. I plan to make that choice a little more frequently.


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