Comment left by a favorite reader prompted a chain of brain waves that might be, cloyingly and cliche, referred to as train wreck of thought. Way it goes. I’m good at venturing into places that might – or might not – be good. As I noted before, therein hangs tale.
The place is in Port O’Connor, one of the last untouched and relatively unspoiled spots on the Texas coastline, and perhaps it’s a bit over-fished, but the place is gorgeous. Not that breath-taking, Hawaiian Isles paradise view, but a quiet and slightly rustic charm. Unspoiled by Wal-Mart – sized superstores and equally un-tasteful suburban subdivisions filled with Mac-Mansions. Yet.
“Well, yeah, they have MUD,” one Taurus observed.
MUD, I’m guessing Municipal Utility District, i.e., water, trash, sewage. Brief distraction, MUD used to mean Multi-User-Dungeon (domain), for really old-school gamers. The inter-web before it was inter-connected.
We ate at Cathy’s. Then Josie’s. Next stop, and place, to me, that looked most inviting, due to the marquee – that alone was a selling point: Offshore Bait. BBQ Sandwiches. Pizza delivery. Fishing and Hunting Licenses Sold Here. Guide Service. Video Rental.
Really. My kind of place. The picture does no justice at all to the scene, off-screen is a Gemini (fishing guy), Scorpio (fishing, hunting, teaching), Virgo (fishing), Cancer (fishing), Taurus (fishing), and so on. I was the quiet one. I looked. I listened. I snuck a couple of pictures. I lovingly fondled some of the fishing rods for sale. I coveted a saltwater reel in the display case.
I noted the price of silver and gold (fishing lures) spoons. I paid about a dollar more, down the street at the Speedy Mart.
There were three or four of the guys there, all called Bubba. The cook, owner, guide, something, was sitting at a card table in the “dining area,” and that’s by the loosest definition possible, as the place wasn’t too big, and that dining area also hosted a freezer for bait and a fishing tackle showroom. I think the guy was sipping on a beer, one of the fellers named Bubba asked for coffee, and the cook got up and added water to the burnt liquid in the bottom of a coffee pot, “I’ll get some fresh started in a bit.”
Eventually, we all ordered up some breakfast, bacon, eggs, sausage, pancakes, the rain briefly beat a stentorian song on the tin roof, and the chatter started. Politics. Current fishing conditions. The story about that hurricane. Weather. Green grass and high tides. The stories.
“Ken’s still talking about that trout you caught.” (Cancer)
Meal took a little longer than normal to prepare, but there was only one cook, and he had a full house. A worker from the Power Company wandered in, he pulled out a ring of keys and undid the pay box underneath an electric meter. Offshore Bait, breakfast, and pay your utility bills here.
“If momma don’t get down here, I’m going to wake her ass up, I got things to do.”
A neighbor, patron, someone everyone knew (but me), wandered in and he and the cook discussed a recent reel repair.
“Yeah, I got dyslexic for a moment, put the pin in backwards. Works now, right?”
Cooking, hunting and fishing licenses — and reel repair.
Judging by the reception, the cook’s reel repair is much better than his cooking.
Not that it matters.
I never complained about the food. Personally, I would’ve lingered all through the hurricane. I could sit in there for hours and listen to them talk.
The most common expression, like, in Austin, it’s “I used to work at Dell,” but along the South Texas Coast, “I was working at the King Ranch one summer….”
“Yes sir, they make more off the deer lease down there than they do from cattle. Even more from deer than oil.” (Scorpio)
None, absolutely none of the facts were verified by me. I just report what I heard.
“I used to have long hair, almost touched my ears,” and he looked at me, and grinned from under a big handlebar mustache, “liberal, long-hair, Democrat, dope-smoking, hippie freaks from Austin.”
I actually enjoyed the gentle ribbing as there wasn’t that malice edge some Scorpio can bury in comments.