Allyson Johnson

Pieces of my Mind

Freeway Free in Texas: Quirky

We drove three hours through the Texas Hill country to my brother’s house in Georgetown.  Along the way there were plenty of testaments to the ongoing quirkiness of the Texas character.

We passed a ranch house style building with a sign saying “Deer Dressing.”  Not a fashion center for bucks and does, but a place where you could drop off your after-the-hunt booty and have it carved into steaks, chops, hides, and heads for display in your family room. The fence was decorated with skulls of deer, wild goats, and longhorn cattle.  Atop a tower at the entrance was a human skeleton (artificial, I hope), underneath a camouflage net, dressed in camo, riding a bicycle, and flourishing a rifle.  Not sure what the message to potential customers was meant to be.

Later we passed a pasture in which a life size (I suppose) replica of Bigfoot tromped through the grass in lieu of a scarecrow.

At lunchtime we followed a Yelp recommendation to Alfredo’s in Lampasas, not the hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant we expected, but a large indoor-outdoor event venue nestled in a ben of Sulphur Creek.  The patio features thatched huts a la Baja sheltering each table, and a menagerie of life-size fiberglass or bronze  parrots, tigers, lions, and longhorn steers. In addition, a trio of larger-than-life-size mariachi bandsmen concocted from rusted metal machine parts.  The food was pretty good, too.

            To settle our lunch, we stopped off at the Hanna Springs Culture Garden, adjacent to the new but deserted Swim Center.  Here Texas quirky was fully on display.  My favorites were the basketball court painted as an homage to Mondrian, and the rusty pickup  with a giant sheet-metal catfish flopped on top.

            As we approached Austin, we began to see signs with the slogan  “Keep Austin Weird.” Looks like the surrounding environs give Austin something to draw on.

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