The morning of Friday, June 27th began at 8:30 a.m. in the hospitality room of the courthouse. There only seemed to be one mishap from the previous evening...Miss Windthorst and Miss Vernon were barely recovered MIA's from the Vera fiasco the night before at the tune of 1:00 a.m. They laughed hysterically about their gallivant thru the Vera dirt roads, which is better than crying or ripping someone's head off! They, by the way, had to put up with me, Tammie, and Bob Rogers in our car caravan and I might add we were lead dawgs. (...till the very end, huh Dwayne)
Let's see at 9:20 a.m., our ten to fifteen car caravan headed towards Knox City on Hwy 6 and enjoyed the Brazos River Bridge. It didn't take my carlings long to crank up the enthusiasm with a Bridges Over Knox County joke or two or three. (by the way Bob, I think I made up a new word~carlings?)
9:34 am – Knox City- We parked in front of old City Hall building and Marla Hawkins and Daveine Clark hosted. We gawked and awed at the awnings, murals and tractor art. (the Flower Power tractor to be exact) The Watermelon Festival information was shared by Mrs. Clark. Barbara Rector opened the old City Hall and many enjoyed the wall mural and dreamed of what this structure could be used for.
9:55 am - We left Knox City going east on Hwy 222 and took notice of Dillon’s, Gillespie Cemetery, Johnson’s Memorial Cemetery. 10:06 am – We arrived in Munday and parked in front of school at the centennial park. We enjoyed seeing the streetscape and church renovation for a theatre. Durwood shared a little bit about Quilt Show, Ranch Rodeo and Keep Munday Beautiful efforts. Someone noted the awards and successes of this organization.
10:33 am- We left Munday, noting streetscape and the church as we drove by, and we stayed on Hwy 222. We passed the Lake Creek Golf Course which was looking good in preparation for Saturday's womans' tournament. We turned north on Hwy 266 then right on FM 1608 to Miller Creek Lake. It was a bit windy, but that kept the skitters and heat down.
10:50 am- We arrived at the lake. An awning and refreshments were set up on peninsula thanks to Caroline Garcia and Glen Blacketer of the City of Goree. The drinks were provided by Miller Creek Ranch and the snacks were from Trainham Ice & Meat. Bob Rogers & Dick Wilberforce presented “Real Simple, Real Popular”. They described the success they have experienced in their nature tourism programs. We heard how the "turtle in the bucket story" originated and we were amazed to hear the advantages of inviting 'birders' into your area. Did I mention that this was the point in time that Miss Vernon realized she was sharing the backseat with two turtles?
11:41 am- We left for Goree- we went right on FM 266 under the overpass and parked at the Memorial Building. This was our first restroom break. Bob said, "Can I wash my hands in there?" Seems the turtle couldn't wait till we arrived in Goree. We made notice of historical sites, Domino Hall & Old Jail, while waiting. Tammie Trainham presented “Rebirth of a Town” keeping it real, using what you have, and HOW? (Interesting discussion about the cause of Goree's death)
12:15 pm – On Hwy 266 we headed toward Vera passing Hefner Cemetery and then had our breath taken away as we dropped over the bluff and crossed the Brazos for yet another time. At the intersection of Hwy 82 we turned left, then right on County Rd 3185. We arrived a little late at Leake Farms (12:45 pm) and our hosts had given up, I suppose. After two gates and a little bit of a rough road we came upon - 26,000 native plants! “Real Diversification-Real Agri-Tourism”! We didn't hear about it, but we saw it with our own eyes. No electricity and yet a fully functioning nursery with an indigenous plant population. The plants are not sold unless they are two years of age and fully acclimated. A gas powered pump watered these plants from Mrs. Paris' famous catfish tank. We met one of our hosts, Dee Winn, as we were exiting the place. And she proceeded to join us at Ranger Creek Ranch to supply us with more information.
12:45 pm- Upon leaving Leake Farms we opted to forgo the drive-by the vineyards and head straight to the chow wagon. We enjoyed a wonderful lunch at Ranger Creek and a presentation by Randy Walker-“Real Story of Ranger Creek”.
2:15 pm- We turned right out of the Ranch then went left @ CBar ranch gate and out on County Rd 3150. We turned west on Hwy 82 then left on Hwy 267 to Rhineland. Upon arriving at St. Joseph’s Church, Mrs. Dot Myers was our host and she gave us a tour of this famous church and shared the story of the community, “What they had, Where they were & Who they are”. It was simply majestic.
2:45 pm- We left Rhineland on Hwy 267 going north to Hwy 82 then west back to Benjamin. We made notice of the roadside park which overlooks "The Narrows" on our way. At a later time Remelle talked about how a town is using what it has- this Hwy. I almost forgot to mention that on this stretch of highway is where Dwayne forgot who was lead dawgs...sorry Sherrif Dean. I was Cole Trickle passing that villian in the Daytona of 'Days of Thunder'. My carlings made me do it!
3:05 pm-4:15 pm Back in Benjamin, everyone enjoyed some free time shopping at Redford Ranch and Santa Fe On The Brazos. We also enjoyed site-seeing at the Museum, Veteran's Memorial and then a guided tour by Wyman Meinzer at the jail and his personal homestead. We were amazed by a story about Ernest Tubbs sisters' jail time. It finally dawned on me why Bob kept the windows cracked on my car...so we wouldn't have 'steamed' turtle for dinner!
4:15 pm Back at the courthouse we were greeted with “Welcome to Benjamin-What We Are Doing With What We Have” by Sylinda Meinzer and Pam Duke. These ladies introduced the new businesses headed their way and shared about the school system. Interestingly, the highway traffic brings a lot of business to Benjamin. A presentation was given by a town historian, also.
5:30 pm- We assigned drivers and loaded ‘em up, moved ‘em out and headed to Truscott, north on Hwy 6. As we arrived in Truscott, supper was on the agenda, first things first. The community provided us with such a memorable evening. Cowboy dinner with goat-balls, too boot! How many will ever forget that? Then, after dinner the stage coach, buggy, hay ride and chuck wagon tour ensued. We were like kids at Six Flags...just ask anyone about Miss Vernon on top of the stage coach!
8:30 pm- We were entertained with songs and stories of the Old West. Bob Rogers was the MC for the evening. Featured were Mr. Tibb Burnet, cowboy poet, of Benjamin, TX and Andy Wilkinson, Artist in Residence, The Southwest Collection and Texas Tech University. Andy shared history through song and Tibb shared history through poetry.
10:00 pm Time to get along home, lead doggy. Our car on the caravan was apparently so much fun that we had two stowaways. We laughed till we cried and all was well.
Y'll come back now, ya hear?