EXPLORE - September 2020

smvtexas

SEPTEMBER 2020



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CONTENTS

8 From The Publisher

10 Calendar

12 Music

28 Food

32 The Great American Hot Dog

34 Old Timer

16 Art Of

20 OLD

24 Art

EXPLORE magazine is published by Schooley Media Ventures in

Boerne, TX. EXPLORE Magazine and Schooley Media Ventures are not

responsible for any inaccuracies, erroneous information, or typographical

errors contained in this publication submitted by advertisers. Opinions

expressed do not necessarily reflect the opinions of EXPLORE and/or

Schooley Media Ventures. Copyright 2020 Schooley Media Ventures,

Boerne, TX 78006

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

DEVA MOORE

ART

I have been married for 38 years,

we relocated to Corpus Christi

12 years ago. Love living on the

coast with my husband, dogs,

cats, chickens and rabbits. I enjoy

art, music, reading and spending

time with my husband. We have

a married son and a married

daughter I also have 6 grand

daughters, and one married

grandson and 2 great grandsons.

MATT KERSH

MUSIC

Matt Kersh is a freelance writer

out of Boerne, Texas that

focuses on almost exclusively

on the local music scene. Kersh

is an accomplished musician

who plays hundreds of shows

throughout Texas and the

Southwest United States.

Christine Friesenhahn

FOOD

Texas born and bred. HR

Professional, Chef, cake artist,

recipe developer, writer, and

frequent insomniac. Habitual

do-gooder and chronic

optimist, living my best life in

Boerne. Be kind. Make wise

choices. Be happy. I love you!

SAMUEL SMITH

REFLECTION

Samuel holds a master

of divinity from a large

Southern Baptist seminary

in Fort Worth. He completed

coursework for a Ph.D. in New

Testament before he left, too.

He served various ministries

from 2005-2016 before

getting into something more

straightforward and honest -

selling cars.

CASEY BONHAM

SURVIVOR’S STORY

Local alumnus and advocate,

Casey Janes Bonham highlights

her talents and purpose with

insight and focus on social work.

She prides herself on having

a network focused impact on

life, struggle and victory. Casey

is a licensed social worker

with an additional Masters in

Interpersonal Communication

from Baylor Texas. As a Texas

native, she dedicates her life to her family, professional evolution,

community therapy and specialty court treatment.

Old Timer Just Old Timer

The Old Timer tells us he's

been a resident of Boerne

since about 1965. He enjoys

telling people what he doesn't

like. When not bust'n punks

he can be found feeding the

ducks just off Main St. or

wandering aimlessly in the

newly expanded HEB. Despite

his rough and sometimes

brash persona, Old Timer is

really a wise and thoughtful

individual. If you can sort

through the BS.

Publisher

Benjamin D. Schooley

ben@hillcountryexplore.com

Creative Director

Benjamin N. Weber

ben.weber@smvtexas.com

Operations Manager

Tiffany Usher

tiffany@smvtexas.vom

ADVERTISING SALES

210-507-5250

sales@hillcountryexplore.com

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DEAREST EXPLORE READER,

It’s 2:28am on a Tuesday and I’m sitting on the roof of my

house.

The world is quiet and sleeping, which is what I

should be doing as well. But my brain wouldn’t shut

off tonight, and for some strange reason, surveying

the rooftops of my neighborhood sounded like a cool

way to pass a few hours of insomnia. Plus it’s almost

tolerable in the temperatures department.

No this isn’t some strange habit of mine. I’ve actually

never done this in my life. Like most of you, I pass a

sleepless night by reading or watching mindless TV, but

for some reason, tonight I just felt the need to get away

and do something different. I have no idea why.

So here I sit on the roof working under the moonlight.

Somewhere a dog is barking. The occasional bat swoops

through. A cat is slowly prowling in the bushes across the

street. The moon is huge tonight, making the night bright.

The view is interesting from up here. These houses,

which I have driven past for the better part of the past

decade, look entirely different from up here. The rooflines,

the chimneys, the trees in their backyards that I rarely

can ever see from the road are all interesting to absorb

visually. It’s the same houses on the same boring street in

the same sleepy neighborhood, yet my vantage point is so

different and I’m enjoying it.

I was having coffee with a friend many years ago, and

I don’t really even remember what we were talking

about, but he said “Look Ben, your perspective about

this issue will either become your prison or your

passport. Choice is yours.” Man, I love that quote

because it’s pretty damn true.

After my younger brother passed, I began a very long

struggle with my entire concept of TIME and how I spend

it. My goodness have I wasted a ton of time. I try to not

do that anymore. But I had a very particular perspective

on the topic of “time”, and honestly it was my prison. I

was doomed to certain crummy situations and to shitty

relationships and a laundry list of frustrations. It simply

was what it was, and (shoulder shrug)….oh well.

But because of that traumatic loss of my brother and

some other things, I stopped one day and changed my

perspective and began to look at my situation a bit

differently. And then the strangest thing happened once

I had found my new perspective: TIME became my

passport and no longer my prison.

I quit talking to people that weren’t adding value to my

life. I cut my work hours. Dramatically. I traveled like

a crazy person and there was rarely a weekend I was at

home. I stopped thinking “Oh, I’ll get to that next year”

and instead said “I want to do this. NOW. Let’s go” and -

voila – I found that I began packing in adventures into my

life at an unprecedented rate and created quite a bit of my

own happiness.

All with a slightly different perspective.

I have found the entire topic of perspective to be such an

important one, and I’m sure you could identify countless

situations where its impact on your own life is visible and

tangible. Is your job kicking your butt? Is your marriage

in the crapper? Teenagers wearing you out? Feeling old

and fat while you read this on your couch with a beer in

your hand? Did you just realize that you haven’t gone on

a trip in 5 years? Hmm – well, what perspective are you

viewing these situations from? Probably the same one

you’ve always viewed them, and so I’ll ask you “How is

that working out for you?”

“Change” in our lives is a bloody awful process

typically. Changing our thoughts or changing our

behaviors is just a sloppy mess for most of us. We

have a perspective that we have either been taught or

learned, and we are quite comfortable with our vantage

point, even when it hurts us.

So sometimes, it’s good to just climb up on the roof your

house and take a different look at things.

I have a friend that struggles with some of her past. She

is a wonderful person and I think extremely highly of

her. She’s a great mother, is very involved, is successful

professionally, and is well liked socially. The one person

that doesn’t really like her is…herself. She doesn’t think

she deserves happiness, so she works very very hard to

remind herself frequently that she doesn’t deserve these

good things she is experiencing in her life, and will

actually work subconsciously to ruin the good things. It’s

quite odd, yet I read that it’s also rather common.

So I was thinking about her tonight, too. And I was

thinking about perspective, and change, and was thinking

about how I wish that I could help her more than I am to

see how valuable she is to those that love her.

But, no matter what I’ve done or said, she has been unable

(or refused) to see her worth. But the more I thought

about it, I began to think that perhaps sometimes we

simply can’t change our own perspective. We simply

cannot fathom a different vantage point to a situation or

we are emotionally unable to climb the ladder. Perhaps.

However, she knows that she has this dysfunctional

perspective. She’s talked about it. She knows it hurts

her. She knows it’s there. She wants to get rid of it, but

it’s hard-wired into her. So with that in mind, maybe

sometimes your own perspective honestly can’t change. So

what do we do?

Maybe all she needs to do is surround herself with people

that shower her with GOOD. And love. And light. Maybe

she just needs to find perspective not even with her own

eyes. Maybe she needs to view herself through the optics

of those that love her. Let them show her how she looks

to them. How valuable she is to them. How they love her.

Even if her own eyes won’t see it, maybe using others’

perspectives is even possible.

I don’t know. I’m not a therapist.

All I know is that, friends and neighbors, this life is not

long. I’m 44, and I was 24 like last week. It screams past

you so fast and before you know it, I’m talking about

my kids leaving for college and possible down-sizing

options. That’s insane to me. And at 44, I find myself still

struggling with some things that I might have identified

as problems in my life when I was 24. I have either failed

to find a better perspective to my struggles, or I have

refused with my endless list of excuses.

But then I think about TIME, and I shake my head at the

absurdity of it all. We all have a finite amount of TIME,

and wasting it by “kicking the can” is no way to do this

thing called LIFE.

So stop doing that. If not for you, then do it for me? I

want you to know that you have value and are loved. I

guarantee it. And I know life can be hard and exhausting,

but I also know you only get one life and I don’t want you

to waste it thinking otherwise.

And if I think highly of you, maybe you’ll think highly of

me? Maybe the next time you wake up in the middle of

the night, you’ll think of how weird I am that I’ll climb

onto the roof of my house at 2:28am and ponder life’s

great mysteries.

And you’ll remember that in that moment, I actually

thought about YOU. And maybe that’s the perspective

you’ve been looking for.

Welcome to September. Every month in 2020 I type

these I say “Boy, sure am glad to be done with THAT

month!” but man, things sure seem to be dragging

on. Here’s to a new season, a new school year, and

hopefully, a new perspective.

Smiling,

ben@hillcountryexplore.com

8 | EXPLORE


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AREA EVENTS

Get out and enjoy the great Texas Hill Country!

The most comprehensive events calendar. Send submissions to info@hillcountryexplore.com

Comfort

September 19: Fall Art Festival Hill Country-area artists

display and sell their work in historic downtown Comfort.

Browse for paintings, ceramics, and jewelry.

Cottonwood Shores

August 20-September 23: “The Savannah Sipping Society”

In this delightful, laugh-a-minute comedy, four unique

Southern women, all needing to escape the sameness of

their day-to-day routines, are drawn together by fate—

and an impromptu happy hour—and decide it’s high time

to reclaim the enthusiasm for life they’ve lost through

the years. The comedy is written by Jessie Jones, Nicholas

Hope, and Jamie Wooten, and directed by Wendy

Ferrell. Seating is now assigned, and tickets must be

purchased over the phone. Located between Marble Falls

and Horseshoe Bay at the traffic light, the Hill Country

Community Theatre is a handicapped accessible theatre.

Hill Country Community Theatre

Doss

September 5: Doss VFD Fish Fry Delicious golden fried

catfish and all the trimmings are served up every year on

the Saturday before Labor Day at the Doss Fire Station’s

annual fundraiser, which is in its 37th year.

Fredericksburg

September 4: First Friday Art Walk Tour fine art galleries

offering special exhibits, demonstrations, refreshments,

and extended viewing hours the first Friday of every

month.

September 11-13, 18-20: “Smokey Joe’s Cafe”

Fredericksburg Theater Company presents this jukebox

musical featuring nearly 40 of the greatest songs ever

recorded and a live orchestra. “Smokey Joe’s Café” isn’t

just great pop music—it’s compelling musical theater.

September 12: LuckenRod Classic Car and Rod Show Get

ready to dance at this live honky tonk music festival that

also has a classic car show, awards, food, and beer.

Johnson City

September 26: JC Art Walk Local galleries open with

current exhibitions, featuring artists highlighting their

latest projects.

Junction

September 5: BBQ Cookoff On the Saturday before

Labor Day, celebrate the holiday at this annual barbecue

cookoff and arts and crafts fair. The day includes live

music, relaxing fun, food, and entertainment for all ages.

The event is held along the banks of the Llano River

underneath the cool shade of age-old pecan trees.

Kerrville

September 1-5, 8-12: KACC Art Exhibits On view

this month at the Kerr Arts and Cultural Center:

“Photoquest,” an annual photography exhibition

featuring the members of the Hill Country Camera Club;

“James Partain Retrospective,” featuring the work of the

acclaimed photographer; and “Happy Accidents,” and

exhibit featuring KACC members.

September 1-5, 8-12, 15-19: “Robert Pummill’s Texas: The

Land and the Legacy” An art exhibit showcases more than

60 of Pummill’s masterpieces, including his iconic Texas

landscapes and Western historical works.

September 5: Run for Riverside 5K The sixth annual 5K

run and walk along the Kerrville River Trail offers live

music, door prizes, and refreshments. Strollers, leashed

pets, and all ages are welcome.

September 15-16: Carden Circus For over 50 years the

Carden family has been bringing an astonishing and

awe-inspiring show to people across the country. From

amazing feats of athleticism with aerial acrobats to

magnificent elephants and tigers, there’s entertainment for

the entire family.

September 26-27: Triathlon Festival Run, bike, or swim in

eight different distance events at this athletic festival that

also includes a free kids’ run.

September 27: Bob Wills Texas Playboys The worldfamous

Texas Playboys continue their legacy under

the direction of Jason Roberts, with a one-of-a-kind

afternoon of traditional Texas Swing.

Llano

September 4-6: Rock’N Riverfest Gather at the Llano River

for a day of fun with jet ski races, vendors, food, music,

a car show, pet parade, and children’s activities. At dark,

the city of Llano puts on a brilliant fireworks show. Bring

your blankets and chairs to claim your spot and enjoy this

patriotic holiday with the whole family.

September 12: Llano County Wild Game Dinner Enjoy

a benefit dinner hosted by the Llano County Junior

Livestock Show Association. Along with dinner, there is a

raffle with numerous items up for grabs.

September 18-19: VFD Barbecue Cookoff In order to

support the Llano Volunteer Fire Department, this

cookoff has a $10,000 payout for brisket, chicken ribs, and

ribeye steak competitions.

New Braunfels

September 4: Jim Messina Live in Concert Jim Messina has

played a pivotal role in the rock industry since first hitting

the scene in the late ’60s as the bass player in Buffalo

Springfield. Since then, Messina has formed and played

alongside bands like Poco and Kenny Loggins. Most

recently, Messina has assembled a group of musicians that

he has played side by side with over the years, touring the

country and playing sold-out shows.

September 4, 11, 18, 25; Oct. 2, 9, 16, 23, 30: Friday

Afternoon Club at Gruene Hall A Gruene Hall tradition,

now in its 22nd year, where hipsters, oldsters, suits,

locals, and drifters mix it up to start their weekend rite

(pun intended). This quintessential Friday happy hour

celebrates the warmer weather with great beer prices,

prize giveaways, and the best in Texas tunes broadcast live

by KNBT 92.1 FM Radio New Braunfels.

September 19-20: Old Gruene Market Days Held every

month except January for over 30 years, Old Gruene

Market Days features more than 100 artisans offering

handmade items made by the vendors themselves,

including uniquely crafted items and packaged Texas

foods. There is free parking and admission and free live

entertainment.

September 23-27: Comal County Fair and Rodeo As the

largest fair in Central Texas, this celebration features

numerous events to please everyone in the family. The

Comal Master Gardeners Association has a booth where

visitors learn about gardening practices for the area.

The parade down Seguin Street is on Friday, and other

festivities include the Fair Queen Contest, carnival,

antique tractor pull, a barbecue cookoff, live music, and

kids’ events such as stick-horse races, a pig-wrangler

contest, mutton bustin’, and the kids’ rodeo clown

contest.

September 26: Cody Johnson in Concert Country music

artist Cody Johnson has landed two releases in the

top 10 of Billboard’s country albums chart and earned

recognition as the only unsigned artist in history to sell

out NRG Stadium at RodeoHouston.

September 26-29: River Revival Music Festival Splice

Records collaborates with Lone Star Beer to create

an annual camping and music festival that is open

to the public—complete with live music from Texas

musicians, the surrounding Southern regions, and bands

from beyond Guadalupe River. Meals, beverages, and

campsites are all included in the ticket price and please

feel free to bring your own cooler and camping supplies.

San Marcos

September 12-16: Texas Water Safari Billed as the

“World’s Toughest Canoe Race,” the Texas Water Safari

is a 260-mile long canoe and kayak race from Spring

Lake in San Marcos to the city of Seadrift on the Texas

coastline. Teams travel day and night, nonstop, to

compete, but teams who occasionally stop for sleep must

reach mandatory checkpoint cutoff times and cross the

finish line by the 100-hour deadline. Cheer the teams on

at riverside parks as they set off on this grueling race.

Stonewall

September 5-6: Grape Stomp Celebrate the traditional

way of separating juice from skins (white wine process)

or wine from skins (red wine process). Guests can stomp

grapes for fun and put their “stomp” prints on the back

of their souvenir t-shirt.

10 | EXPLORE


1499 S. Main Street, Boerne, TX 78006 Next to Dog & Pony Grill 830-331-1391


MUSIC

MUSICIAN OF THE MONTH:

JESSE STRATTON

By Matt Kersh :: Photography by Mack Eveland

M of

Music has a truly beautiful way of bringing people together. More than anything

else in the world, the power of music holds a truly unique ability to unite all kinds

people that would not normally be able to connect with one another easily.

Let’s go back to some unknown point in 2013. I had

recently returned home to Texas, largely due to an

incredibly intense season of depression post-divorce

in California, and the other large part due to the fact

that I finally knew it was time to listen to my heart and

come back to where I came from to pursue my passion

of living and breathing music full-time. I had just met

Brent Michael Wood, whom I wrote about for the first

issue of 2020, and he and I got along well immediately.

He connected me with covering one of his regular gigs

at Sherlock’s. It was a really cool place, by the way, and

one of the actual music venues in the Hill Country that

unfortunately hasn’t survived.

That’s neither here nor there, but I was at Sherlock’s

playing that night, and there were two guys there that

were absolutely giving life to my set that night. Cheering

after every song, buying drinks and food, and just making

it all a whole lot of fun. These fellas were named Cliff

Norwood and Corey Skiles. Cliff, it turns out, was (I

suppose I should say is) one of the most supportive people

around the live music scene. And not just of live music in

general, especially of original artists/songwriters.

Cliff was good buddies with another singer songwriter

who I hadn’t yet met. There was a regular gig this guy

had at Cooter Brown’s in San Antonio on a weeknight,

and Cliff invited me to come out and meet him. After

having been out of Texas for a number of years, despite

my deep roots here, I was due to get to know more

folks in the industry.

I showed up at Cooter Brown’s that night and met Jesse

Stratton. Within an hour of meeting, he had me up on

stage to play “Amarillo by Morning” which featured Jesse

tearing up a solo on the song...on the saxophone. What a

cool way to start a musical friendship.

Jesse Stratton’s life has been about music since shortly

after the time he could walk. He’s a product of the

Texas Hill Country by way of Blanco, Texas. By the

time he was 4, his parents had bought him a drum set.

“I remember drumming along to their favorites like

Marshall Tucker Band, Creedence Clearwater Revival,

Bob Marley, Tom Petty; just to name a few. I taught

myself basic piano starting at about 10, and then dove

into the saxophone in the school band when I was 12.

Within a few years after that, my dad taught me some

chords on his old guitar. I started writing songs before

I even really knew how to play that well.”

Since then, Jesse has penned literally hundreds of songs

on a handful of different instruments about life. “I can't

really imagine a life without music. The only way I know

how to picture the world is through the lenses of music. It

has always been on my mind and in my heart.”

Stratton’s musical journey has run the gamut of genres.

“I’ve been in marching band and in a heavy metal band...

and everything in between, but I’ve always been drawn

to the heartfelt, raw, emotional side of things, no matter

the type of music.” Jesse’s band today is a predominantly

“country” band, but their sound is much more diverse

than that narrow of a label might lead some to believe.

“I truly search for the sound that I feel best portrays every

song I create, frequently running through 5 or 6 different

feels for any given song before I even present it to the rest

of my band. Then they all add their own flavors and it

becomes something we can all be proud of, packed with a

lifetime full of influences from each of us.”

Upon listening, one absolutely gets a sense of the

eclectic nature of influences upon Stratton’s musical

sensibilities. He counts both Robert Earl Keen and

Tom Petty as massive impacts on him stylistically

and as a songwriter, and they represent related but

very different breeds of the same era. In terms of

contemporary acts that have shaped him, he names The

Turnpike Troubadours and Whiskey Myers at the top of

the list, which are both fantastic bands, albeit on quite

separate strands of the Americana/Red Dirt scene. This

variation of styles makes for a really interesting and

flavorful experience for the band’s listeners.

“Among the best rewards of playing, is the sight of

someone smiling when they relate to a line I've written,

and the sound of someone singing along. Watching a

dance floor full of fans and friends, who are all able to

forget about their troubles together, if only for one show,

or if only for one song. The struggles are almost too many

to count, and are hardly worth recounting at all, because

I don't know (or want to know) any other way. I will say

that one of my biggest struggles is that I write more songs

than I have time to sing, which might seem silly, but it

really is a genuine weight on me. I love the songs I write,

and I am pulled to share them with the world. In other

words... quit requesting cover songs, people!”

Stratton is no stranger to juggling a lot of priorities and

responsibilities. He has a lovely bride and is a father

of 4 beautiful children. “I am very happy to have such

wonderful things to juggle. I do my very best to not

let any distractions get in my way when I'm at home,

because sometimes I'm gone a lot. I work 4 days a week

in the medical field, and play 2-5 shows every week. If

I'm not playing or working, I stay home. The good thing

is, my family loves coming to shows, and we play music

together at home, so the songs are a part of who we are.

The hardest part is writing new material, because I usually

do that when everyone else is in bed, which doesn't leave

much time for sleeping. I'm lucky to be a father and a

husband. I wouldn't want it any other way.”

In thinking about how challenging this time has been

for the world and how it has affected the music industry,

Jesse had these sage words to share: “I don't know what

the current state of things is going to end up doing to

the music industry, but if you want to help the musicians

you know, I think it's pretty simple. If there is a song you

enjoy, or if you hear something that resonates with you,

do whatever you can to share that with others. Because

sharing that feeling, whether it's hope or happiness,

sadness or beauty; that experience of sharing it together,

above all else, is what keeps music alive.”

Jesse and his family now reside in Wimberley. They enjoy

taking hikes and road trips together, playing Zelda on

Saturday mornings, and listening to baseball on the radio

while swinging in the backyard. “Every day we spend

together is an adventure of the best kind.”

Website: jessestrattonmusic.com

Facebook: facebook.com/jessestrattonmusic

matt@hillcountryexplore.com

12 | EXPLORE


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ART OF YOGA

By Kristine Duran

T

The popular practice of yoga has been at a steady incline since the 1970s,

but in the last five years we have seen it grow into a $27 billion industry.

Yoga is no longer associated with the stereotypical crunchy granola types.

Practitioners range from stay-at-home moms to CEO’s who are looking for

anything from stress relief to therapeutic practice or a spiritual form of

physical fitness. Instructor Rachel Villanueva is showing the Hill Country

how to do all three with the least amount of intimidation at her cozy yoga

nook, The Yoga House.

“Yoga is one of the things that helps me keep things in perspective. It helps me manage

my stress and my life. I feel like I’m a better parent, I’m a better wife, I’m a better friend,

I’m a better person.”

Rachel reluctantly began practicing yoga with her mother when she was 15 years old.

After a while, she began to enjoy the benefits and once she was old enough to drive, her

mother gifted her with a pass to practice on her own. “But after I became an adult, it was

really easy to say, ‘I want to spend my money on clothes, not yoga.’ So I went through

that phase.”

Her personal practice fell to the wayside once she started college. After graduating with a

degree in psychology, Rachel began working at the United Way on a call line for nonprofit

services.

“During that time, there was no money anywhere and all of those non-profits were dry.

Instead of telling them the truth, we’d have to give them empty referrals. So I had to give

out numbers that I knew were not going to work and that was really hard.”

She endured many angry call backs where she was called awful names, leaving her

stressed and upset about her job. “I’d look around at my coworkers and they’d be really

good on the phone, but when their family would call, they would just bite their heads

off. Their relationships were not good and they didn’t feel good because they didn’t have

a place to put those emotions. I didn’t want to feel that way.” In the midst of her stress,

she remembered something her mother used to say: “If you’re going on a date, where

comfortable shoes. No matter how nice they look, if they hurt your feet, you’re going to

be grumpy.”

Rachel says, “Sometimes people don’t realize that the way they feel translates to how you

act. A lot of times, it just takes like 20 minutes of moving and breathing and I feel like

myself again; happy, good and comfortable.” So she began practicing yoga again.

Soon after, Rachel left her job to begin working in retail at Lululemon, a high-end yogafocused

retailer. She quickly realized that this is the community she loved and wanted to

pursue a career in, so she began teacher training and became certified. She was teaching

at studios and out of clients’ homes, but her real goal was to open up her own space

where clients could receive quality with paying an arm and a leg.

“I wanted to take yoga classes other than where I taught and it was getting really expensive.

Sometimes you go and it’s $15-$20 a class. Sometimes you think, I could eat with

that money or go to a movie. A lot of gyms have yoga and it’s cheaper, but it’s not the

same. The fluorescent lights are on and people are on their cell phone and it’s hard to

connect and go to a quiet place when you’re surrounded by a bunch of distractions.”

After Rachel gave birth to her son, her motivation only grew. She shared her idea with

her parents who enthusiastically volunteered part of their home to be her new studio.

Their split-level house sits on a hillside, meaning the first story of their home is underground.

There are no neighbors on either side of the house, providing the ideal spot to

be free from distractions, save for the crickets and birds. The downstairs area had become

a storage area for her parents, so they had no problem lending it to their entrepreneurial

daughter. Rachel says, “Part of it was me selfishly not wanting to go back to work.

It kind of worked out really nicely since I had a lot of people that I taught privately.”

Rachel has made her mark in town by being completely beginner friendly and approachable.

She spends 50% of the time on her mat because she’s found that people are very

visual. The other 50% is spent walking around to adjust alignments for everyone’s safety.

At The Yoga House, only English is used instead of Sanskrit, as many people are intimidated

by the use of Sanskrit. The casual environment is completely unpretentious and

encourages questions and comments during the session. But don’t underestimate her

because she knows how to challenge those with advanced practice as well.

The intimate space only fits ten people a class where Rachel can tailor-make her practice

each time so that each person receives individualized attention. “The classes are interesting

because there’s that dynamic of a group. Sometimes it’s really not motivating by

yourself and it’s extra motivating with other people.”

She is also available for private practice if group exercise is not your thing. Many of her

clients come to her for injuries, a number of them being from motorcycle accidents.

“There’s a lot of anatomy and science involved with yoga if you’re going to teach it safely,”

Rachel says. She is skilled at getting in tune with each client, learning what feels good for

them and where they are hurting.

With very little advertising, The Yoga House is steadily growing by word of mouth. “I

was afraid that since it was out of a house that no one was going to come, but the exact

opposite is happening. People want more of a connection, which is cool,” Rachel says.

Many clients are repeat offenders who often bring their friends along who also become

regulars. Although Rachel loves to see the business growing, she doesn’t see herself ever

taking the business out of her parents’ home. She says, “I want to stay true to myself and

attract people who are looking for a more personalized and unique practice.”

For Rachel, Yoga has always been a reminder of being connected. “You start to breathe and

move right, synchronizing things together. You just start to feel better. You feel good in

your body. You don’t have any aches and pains and you can move comfortably.” There are

also the aesthetic benefits of yoga that Rachel doesn’t discount. “That’s probably as exciting

because those are things that you can see and measure. Everyone has a reason why they

start yoga, but I find that it’s always something else that keeps them coming back.”

The Yoga House

9417 Aqua Drive

Boerne, TX 78006

210-625-0280

RachelLauraYoga.com

16 | EXPLORE


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I have been sitting here in the sun thinking about old. I am thinking about it because

I am old and though kind people are always faking surprise when I tell them my

age, by almost any standard except that of Noahic flood patriarchs, I am old. The

Bible says that man has three score and ten and in some cases he may get ten more

but it is not too specific about what you have to do to get them.

All I know is that I have used up all those years and am pushing into unknown

territory as far as what God says about it. Sometimes I think Hve has let me live

this long so that I may fully understand how miserably I have failed to live up to

the standards he has set for us, but I cannot really say that is true. I believe in

His grace; in fact, I desperately rely on it. For a long time I thought that I needed

to be doing something, and that is alright for those who think that and actually go

out and do something positive in a missionary sort of way. But I think you have to

make up your mind that good is better than bad and set your sights on doing your

best to prove it. Like Patsy Yoakum used to say, “Good is better than bad because it

is nicer”. But maybe I’ll have more to say about that later because when you get old

you think about such things a lot.

I think, though, that old has been oversold. A lot of people act as if it is some sort of

accomplishment, like getting rich, or having a fantastic set of wheels. As if, maybe,

a lot of people have died off from lack of trying. There might be a trifle of truth

in that if you consider too much eating and drinking and riding of a motorcycle

without benefit of helmet are evidence that a person has let his mind wander off

the goal a tad.

Every time I turn around I find somebody pushing some product or lifestyle that, if

carried to the implied conclusion, would have you living forever. There are plenty

of advertisements for products that will cure everything imaginable, and some that

will not. There are literally thousands of products out there from green Japanese

pond scum to the latest products from Swiss scientists, all of which, if used long

enough and in sufficient quantities will cure everything. Drug companies are

regularly on TV and in magazines, advertising prescription medicines. They want

you to go down to your doctor and ask him to put you on their junk. I suppose some

federal law is involved here, but there are pages and pages of fine print advising you

about the wonder drug and how the side effects, however dire, can be monitored by

a regular blood test to see if your liver is being wiped out. And all these medicines

which will solve all, bear the cost of all high class advertising. If the FDA had a lick

of integrity it would ban all such advertising.

Whoever thought up the phrase “golden years” to describe these latter days ought

to be taken out back and shot. There is nothing golden about levering yourself out

of bed in the morning, every muscle in your body crying out for mercy, wondering

if you can even make it to the bathroom without collapsing, checking your body

parts one by one to see if they will hold together another day. And when you look

in the mirror it is no golden boy you see, but rather you mutter, “Can that actually

be ME?”

One of my earliest memories goes back into the great depression years. There is

this color advertisement in the Saturday Evening Post, or was it Colliers, or maybe

Liberty? Who knows. There is this fine looking gray haired couple standing by the

fence in front of a brand new looking house, smiling like jack eating briers and saying

“We retired on thirty dollars a month because we bought Pie-in-the-Sky Insurance.”

They were probably growing their own pond scum, too. I am glad to still be here and

to be able to assemble my old parts in the morning, but do not give me this golden

boy malarkey. You do not see any adds like that now. Insurance companies are into

low key financial planning and stuff like that. The gray haired couple leaning on

the fence has been replaced by an old geezer and youngish looking female. He is the

one smiling and muttering something about Viagra. Old is NOT Viagra. Old is lonely

and tired, drinking coffee and reading the obits.

Old is neither a place nor a state of mind, as some think. Old is an anticipation.

Old is a waiting game in which one goes through a period of assessment. There is

nostalgia. There are regrets. There are moments of joy and moments of depression.

And there is anticipation. No one really knows what happens after death. Those

who believe in God have what might be a generalization, but they know no more

than that it is a place which Christ prepared for them. It is difficult for us with our

limited minds to get much past an idealized earth and an anthropomorphic God.

We look with various degrees of anticipation. Some of us long for it. Some look

forward to what it will really be like, but want to wait awhile more to find out. There

is a bit of trepidation, too. There are a lot of what if’s.

When I was in the Navy during WWII, I was sent to Camp Shoemaker in California

to await orders. It was called an ‘outgoing unit’. Most of us were going out into the

Pacific, but it was a big place and there were a lot of places we could be sent. While

most of us wanted to get going, there was some trepidation too. We had been told

a lot, but we did not know what it was really going to be like. Just so are we in the

‘outgoing’ unit of life. Awaiting orders. Waiting and wondering when our name will

come up. If we think about it, we will say when we get up, “Could it be today?” Or

when we go to bed, “Could this be the night?”

Old is about health. It is about pills, pills, pills. Doctor’s waiting rooms, procedures,

regimens, paperwork, insurance, and doctor’s waiting rooms. Interminable waiting.

Old is counting up the time spent going to friend’s funerals, funeral home visitations,

taking medicine, waiting in waiting rooms, doing tests and finding that to be the near

20 | EXPLORE


sum of your social life. Old is not easy. Values change. Goals change. Some of our false

faces are eaten away and we find we are not always who we think we were and we find

other people suddenly appear stripped down to the essential personality.

Old, for most people seems to be a fight to hang on as long as possible. For some

people this is okay. Some people have no hope for an eternal home. There is no

belief in a spiritual body which transcends death. This life is all there is. It may be

ending miserably but it is all they have. Sometimes I feel that Christians who make

these last ditch stands are somehow denying the hope they have in Christ. Just

last week we got a note from the wife of a friend who had recently died. She said

“Oh, he is so much better off.” Of course he is, but I do not know if he went willingly,

joyfully. A physical body wracked with pain and without hope for recovery is better

off, whether for heaven or hell, or nothing at all. Let me go when it is time. Do not

hold on to me when I am no longer able to make such decisions. I am old, yes, old,

but let me die young.

Sometimes I think about how many years I have left and wonder how I may best

use them. Of course, it would help if I knew how many they were, but I can make

an educated guess. My father lived to be 87, my mother to 102. I have a brother

who is 88 and still functioning pretty well, another brother 80, and a kid brother

71. Insurance companies will give me until about 90. So I should have a few years

yet. But what to do? I think the answer is to keep doing what I am doing. When you

get right down to it, it is not too important what you do, but rather what you are,

or maybe how you do what you do. I have known many people who are into some

helping job, a minister perhaps, or a social worker, counselor, that sort of thing, and

are doing a terrible job. Selfish, arrogant, irritating – doing more harm than good

and giving the profession a bad name. So I think I will just play it one day at a time

and try to be more caring, helpful, and compassionate. These are areas where I

have not always done too well, so I think I will work on that.

When you get old you cast back over your life and try to see what things you have

done, your successes and failures, and find that they come back to you in a series of

picture postcards. The really meaningful times are not really that many. Most of

ones life has been spent in downtime or in maintenance. When you add up the time

you have spent sleeping, eating, grooming, going to work, waiting for the light to

change, sitting in the doctor’s waiting room, etc, there is not a lot of time left to do

something really meaningful. So who you are has been demonstrated by how you

treated the people you did deal with. I don’t think God gives a hoot if you find a cure

for cancer but treat your wife with disrespect, your co-workers with condescension,

and your bank account as the end game.

I am interested in almost everything, but do not know too much about anything.

While it gives me a lot to think about it is very frustrating. I may know enough

about physics to envision a new invention, but don’t have the detailed knowledge to

put it together. I may like to write, but do not have the willingness to put in the time

and effort to do what is necessary to publish. I may love golf better than I do pie but

have not the athleticism to do it well. I may be fascinated with archaeology, but do

not have the time to properly study and practice it.

There is no good way to end this for every person is born alone and dies alone. I

can speak for no one else. I will not seek out that good and final moment, but I shall

not go with the reluctance that would signify my disbelief in that house with many

mansions that God has prepared for me.

Vain dreams move on ‘til time has flown

And life has lost its vigor

The horn has blown its final tone

to call the lonely digger

So stack some stones upon my bones

to mark my trysting place

But let no groans in grievous tones

Mistake the fate I face

From Oh,so far the gates ajar

I see through joyous tears

Across the bar I ken that star

I’ve sought these sullen years

No mournful sigh, no keening cry

don’t waste a one on me

for when I die no tearful cry

Must rue my reveille’

WWW.KENDALLCOUNTYINFO.COM/EXPLORE | SEPTEMBER 2020 | 21


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ART

MOORE ON ART: NIKI BAKER

By Deva Moore

M

Magic, yes pure Magic!!! That is the feeling, the vision, the vibe and the emotion that one feels when looking at

one of Niki Baker’s art works. Niki is rather new to living in Boerne but Boerne is not new to her. Niki and her

family have been visiting Boerne for years while visiting her husband’s family in nearby Bandera and venturing

over to the lure of Boerne often. She and her husband recognized the beauty of the town and dreamt of a time

and place to settle there…Wandering the country has always been a way of life and talent. Niki and her husband,

along with their 3 beautiful children have lived in many different parts of the United States and her art is a part of

them all.

Niki cannot remember a time when art did not influence her life. As a mere child of

four, she found her love of art emerging in drawings and sketches of magical Disney

characters and every young girl’s dream---horses!!! Niki would spend hours just drawing

her favorite Disney character and when it struck her she would draw a nice horse or

two….Her work improved and she knew there would always be a place for art in her life,

art that she provided.

Niki moved seamlessly from sketching and drawing to using color, textures and tone to

develop her own style and magical art. She always had art classes and in middle school and

high school was certain of a professional art career. Under the amazing tutelage of her art

teacher, Rebecca Slaton, Niki found a satisfying future in art. Her teacher allowed Niki the

freedom to express herself in a captivating manner in any medium. She discovered that her

love for art was much more than just paint on paper, it told a story to share.

Niki moved her art career fast forward by taking classes at Kansas State University where

she obtained her Bachelor of Fine Art Degree. She realized that she could teach art to the

younger age groups in school but to teach at a higher level of students she would need

to obtain her Masters and for the moment that was not in her immediate future so she

claimed her position as a successful art teacher and settled down. Niki’s art is not settled

by any means. She found that paint and canvas was not enough and so she found that by

adding texture and metallic to her acrylic and oil paints she could create a medium that

added such dimension to her work it was astounding. Her landscapes came alive, her

stills became animated; her subjects sparkled with personality. Niki was happy with her

discovery and soon she had a collection of art enviable by all.

Niki does commission work and is planning to open a public studio in the near future.

The current world issues have slowed her but not stopped her. She teaches some classes

upon request and is currently exploring options to enlarge the public’s access to her. Niki

has a small studio at her home where she loves to go and create. Her ritual is to take her

coffee to her studio, light a candle to set a tone open the blinds to get lots of light, set up

some music of choice for the day, organize her supplies to the feel of the day and start

with a blank canvas. Niki says the hardest part for her is the first stroke. After that first

stroke her artistic talent instinct just takes over and masterpieces emerge. How does this

author know this… by seeing her work and interviewing her for her techniques. Niki

and her husband have plans to build a larger studio where she can teach classes regularly

or have painting night outs for those desiring to express themselves through art. Niki

is a supporter of painting nights with a subject for all to paint but she is more in awe

of classes that give the budding artist a direction and let them choose their own road

through color, dimension, design and texture. For time being it would be necessary for a

group to contact her and she will come to a location to mentor a class, teach some art or

give a relaxed night out of art. Her contact info will be at the end of this article.

After some years of acrylic and oil painting, Niki turned her talent to faux decorative

finishing. It was a lucrative use of her talent and she could share her abilities with

others in a day to day use with the beauty that was Niki. She enjoyed seeing what others

envisioned as artistic and she loved being a part of the process. She would consult with

her client on what their vision was for a room or space in their home and then she would

create that vision with paint, texture, design and arrangement for their home. Color

desires played a great part in the execution of Niki’s abilities and soon she was sought

after for her unique results and exceptional ability. Giving new life to walls, cabinets,

furniture and household objects was a skill to add to her skill set, and Niki had a giant

skill set. But still Niki found time to create on canvas.

Niki and her family enjoy the outdoors and frequently can be found observing nature,

hiking, or just enjoying the beauty that is the outside world. Niki will see something

that catches her eye and will snap a picture of it or borrow her husband’s phone for a

timeless pause in the moment for later reference. Then back in her studio, Niki will

sketch and then paint that exact moment on canvas. The colors, the energy, imagery,

design, light and tones will be perfectly recreated for perpetuity. Niki has found that by

adding metallic, texture and tones the art becomes a living masterpiece. It changes with

direction, lighting and position. It comes alive. Like all great artists, she knows when a

painting is completed and never another stroke to be added. Then she signs her name

and it has a life of its own. Niki says her favorite work that she has completed is called

“Over the Edge” and is a beautiful piece. Over the Edge is a stark piece illuminating a

steep cliff of mountains as a backdrop for the forest. The sheer force of the glistening

snow, the steep mountain range and the dark ominous trees take your breath away.

Niki gave this piece away as a celebration of launching her new website after moving to

Boerne. One had to register to win and she had many who entered to win hoping for a

chance to own a Niki Baker original.

Niki has found that certain art projects can be done in roughly 30 minutes but many take

up to a week to complete to her satisfaction. She has learned how to integrate venetian

plaster and marble into her textures and design and is happy with the way it all works

together to provide a work of art like no other.

Niki currently does not participate in any shows as her time is limited with her family

and the recent move but shows are on her list. She is currently exploring galleries in the

area for an outlet to showcase her art and meet and share with other artists.

Niki likes heavy paints who have body and substance. She enjoys using paints and

techniques that show movement and have movement. She is not a shallow painter but a

painter who uses depth and understands the use of her artistic ability to make the most

of each stroke of her brush, palette knife and trowel to provide a complete painting. Niki loves

24 | EXPLORE


her ability to get out of the box and the reward is her creation. She told me that her work

consists of many layers of design until she reaches the perfect finish to her project. Using her

techniques, her textures, her colors, dimensions, designs, and lighting the finished product is

stunning and the only question left is who buys it and where it will hang.

Niki, sometimes, is in a mood to paint quick and looser and sometimes it is a small

and slow painting. In any case, Niki shows off her ability to impress. She feels that no

interruption is her best space and she can lose herself in her work. Niki says “nature

is consistent, it may change a bit but it is always consistent in what it has to offer. It is

reliable but consistent. It is peaceful and enchanting.” Niki likes earth tones but loves to

explore vibrancy and contrast.

One thing about Niki Baker’s art is it is imaginative. It creates a scene and allows the

viewer to actually feel that they are in the picture smelling the smells, seeing the view

first hand and feeling the nature. Boerne has added another talented artist to its town.

Niki Baker and her family are definitely an asset to the talent that is Boerne. If you want

to set up a class, have a specific painting for your home, visit Niki Baker Art or just see

what is available for your own collection you may reach Niki at 346-232-7789, contact

her at nikibakerart@gmail.com or go to the Boerne Businesswomen page on Face book

or check out her Facebook page Niki Baker Art. Another awesome artist here in Boerne

that you should not miss!!!

deva@hillcountryexplore.com

WWW.KENDALLCOUNTYINFO.COM/EXPLORE | SEPTEMBER 2020 | 25


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25 FM 3351 South

Boerne, Texas 78006

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26 | EXPLORE


FROM THE MOST DANGEROUS PLACE ON EARTH,

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FOOD

PRAISE THE

LARD!

By Christine Friesenhahn

I

In Texas, like everywhere else, there are four main food groups. Ours

are Mexican Food, Barbecued Brisket, Chicken Fried Steak, and Chili.

Some would argue that Margaritas and Beer are their own distinct

food groups, but they should be considered as seasonings. You may

add more or less of each, to any of the others, to suit your taste.

When we want the best brisket, we know where to go.

When we want the best chicken fried steak, we know who

has it. Figuring out where to go for the best Mexican Plate

is ultimately more difficult.

Place “A” has the best flour tortillas, but their enchiladas

are weak. Place “B” has amazing refried beans, but their

rice tastes like dirty socks. Place “C” has salsa I would

drink out of a mug, but their tacos appear to be made of

canned dog food. I’m not making that up.

I find myself dreaming up the end-all be-all Mexican

Combination Plate. The corn tortillas will be homemade,

a little bit thick, and will have good corn flavor. The

picadillo will be made of actual beef, not canned

processed corned beef, and it isn’t really necessary to

provide an extra ladle-full of grease. The taco shells will

be fried on site, just before being filled and sent to the

table. The salsa will be fresh and flavorful, with some heat

to it, but it won’t melt my lips off of my face. The rice will

be fragrant, devoid of peas and carrots, and not a sticky

glob. The flour tortillas will not be thin, flavorless discs

from a plastic bag, but will be thick, soft, and chewy, and

a little bit salty. They will be made with lard. So will the

nicely browned refried beans, which should have a little

bit of a crust on them. From the lard.

I am not advocating eating lard on a regular basis. In fact,

due to the fact that it is a saturated animal fat, I advise

against it. There are some dishes though, that just aren’t

as good made with anything else. Pie crust and fried

chicken. And authentic Mexican food.

If you are going to eat Mexican food out on a regular

basis, stick with healthier choices such as grilled meats

and seafood, fresh corn tortillas, borracho beans and

grilled vegetables. Caldo and tortilla soups are good

choices, as are grilled fish or shrimp tacos.

But every once in a while, such as the morning after a

really good time that you can’t seem to remember, or on

Sunday, nothing satisfies like a plate of bona fide, cheesecovered,

made-with-lard Mexican food.

And by lard, I mean pure animal fat—Manteca–not

vegetable shortening. You just will not get the same flavor

or mouthfeel from shortening that you will get from lard.

Yes, you can substitute shortening, butter, or even olive

oil. But– and here is the really important part–you will

not get the same results.

Another thing you will notice about many Mexican

recipes, is that they call for cooking in a cast iron skillet.

This is because traditionally, many of these foods are

cooked in a large, cast iron vessel called a comal. It

resembles a giant, cast iron wok. If you want the best

approximation to that authentic flavor, then cast iron

cookware is the only way to go.

Including a recipe for every Dream Mexican Plate

favorite could easily fill a small book. Since we are giving

praise to the lard this week, I am including three classic

Mexican offerings that rely on it to be the best version

of themselves—flour tortillas, refried beans, and pan de

polvo…plus a recipe for picadillo to round out a meal.

28 | EXPLORE


BASIC PICADILLO

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 pounds lean ground beef

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 small onion, diced

2 green bell peppers, seeded and minced

1 fresh jalapeno, seeded and minced

2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons ground black pepper

3 teaspoons cumin

2 cups water

1 tablespoon beef base

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil.

Add the ground meat, cooking until no longer pink. Add

the garlic, onion, peppers and jalapeno. Cook for a few

minutes more. Stir in the salt, pepper, and cumin. Add the

water and the beef base, and reduce heat to medium low.

Simmer slowly until most of the liquid has cooked out

and the remaining juices are thick. Serve in your choice

of taco shells, nacho chips, chalupas, or whatever your

favorite method of getting it into your mouth.

THICK AND CHEWY

FLOUR TORTILLAS

6 cups all-purpose flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

4 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons lard

2 1/2 cups lukewarm water

Combine flour, salt and baking powder in a large bowl.

Add the lard, and using your fingers, cut in the lard until

the mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir the water in with

a fork until a sticky dough is formed. Using your hands,

knead the dough inside the bowl 10 or 12 times, until it

forms a well incorporated ball. Cover with a damp paper

towel and let it rest for 15 minutes. Divide the dough into

balls. Use walnut sized for snack-sized 4 inch tortillas, and

use twice that to make 8” tortillas for tacos. Allow to sit

another 15 minutes.

Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat.

To roll out your tortillas: place a ball of dough on a heavily

floured surface...Using a rolling-pin, roll the dough one

time in one direction, then turn the dough a quarter turn

and roll again. This will help ensure a uniform circle. Roll

each ball a few times until the dough is thin–it should be

a about 4 inches in diameter if you used a walnut sized

ball, and 8” if you used a larger piece. The first time or two

that you make these, you may want to roll all of the dough

out before heating your skillet, and keep the rounds

between wax paper while you wait to cook them.

Cook until large bubbles start appearing, about 30

seconds, and flip it over to cook the other side. Stack the

tortillas on a plate while you finish the batch, but do not

place them in an oven.

REFRIED BEANS

You may use your favorite borracho bean recipe for these,

but canned pinto beans will work just fine if you don’t

have the time or inclination to cook up a batch.

4 cups cooked pinto beans, including some juice

1 teaspoon salt (if using canned beans or unseasoned

beans)

1/4 cup lard

Place beans, and salt if using, in a blender or food

processor and process until smooth. Heat lard to medium

high heat in a cast iron skillet. Gently spoon the beans

into the skillet. Cook without disturbing for 5 minutes.

Stir just to turn the bottom up a little, and cook for 5 more

minutes. Continue turning and cooking in this manner,

until the beans are bubbly and have a nice brownness to

them. Often served with a sprinkling of shredded cheddar

cheese, and popular as a breakfast taco on flour tortillas.

PAN DE POLVO

Mexican Wedding Cookies

4 cinnamon sticks

4 pieces of star anise

1/2 cup boiling water

10 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

2 cups shortening

2 cups lard

1 1/2 cup sugar

Pinch salt

For finishing:

1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Pour water over cinnamon and anise, and allow to steep

for 30 minutes.

Mix the flour and baking powder together in a bowl

and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the

sugar, lard, and shortening until smooth. Add the tea

to the creamed mixture, and blend until smooth. Stir in

the salt. Add the dry mixture, a little bit at a time, until

a nice smooth, and not sticky dough is formed. Roll out

on a piece of waxed paper, to a thickness of between 1/3

and 1/2 of an inch. Use any small, 1-2 inch cookie cutter

that you’d like. Bake at 325 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Mix

together cinnamon and sugar and set aside. When cookies

are hot out of the oven, but cool enough to handle, gently

toss them in the cinnamon sugar.

christine@hillcountryexplore.com

WWW.KENDALLCOUNTYINFO.COM/EXPLORE | SEPTEMBER 2020 | 29


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BACKYARD

THE CONEY ISLAND DOG:

Steamed bun, topped with a beanless, all-meat chili,

diced yellow onion, and yellow mustard.

Just because the kids are back in

school doesn’t mean you have to

put your grill into storage. Labor Day

is one of the largest get-together

holidays of the year. Though this year

might be decidedly different. Fire up

your grill, backyard fire pit, or even

microwave and impress your friends

and family with these unexpected

twists on the typical dog.

THE SEATTLE DOG:

Cream cheese and grilled onions on a toasted bun.

THE CHICAGO DOG

Chopped onions, sliced/diced/wedged tomatoes, both a

dill pickle spear and sweet pickle relish, yellow mustard,

pickled sport peppers, celery salt, and a steamed poppy

seed bun.

THE CINCINNATI DOG

Chili topped with cheese mustard and a small amount of

diced onion.

THE KANSAS CITY DOG

A Kansas City-style hot dog includes

sauerkraut and melted Swiss cheese.

THE MICHIGAN DOG

Steamed bun, topped with a runny beanless, all-meat

chili.

THE NEW YORK DOG

Mustard and sauerkraut. Often cooked in a warm water

bath by street vendors - they have also been given the

semi-affectionate moniker "the dirty water dog."

THE JERSEY DOG

Diced stewed potatoes, roasted peppers and brown mustard

32 | EXPLORE


EXHIBITING TOYS FROM THE 1950’S TO THE PRESENT

$7.00 for Adults • $5.00 for Children

1020 N. Main St., Boerne Texas, 78006

830-388-8326

www.theturnpiketoymuseum.com

Thursday - Friday 10 - 5

Saturday 10 - 5 • Sunday 12 - 5

WWW.KENDALLCOUNTYINFO.COM/EXPLORE | SEPTEMBER 2020 | 33


JUST OLD TIMER

OLD TIMER

W

We’ve made it to September and the shit continues.

Sigh.

I can’t remember the last time I’ve been this pissed

off at the universe, and that’s saying something. The

collective stupidity of our society is almost too much

to process. This is coming from an 80-something year

old man that would surely be taken out by Kung Flu.

But this endless paranoia and madness has aged me

horribly and I’m aggressively ready for it to end.

The thing is – it’s already over. Our infection rates for

this stupid virus are already back to the levels that they

were BEFORE it was even a national discussion, yet we

continue with this mask insanity and schools closed and

businesses being destroyed everywhere. A bunch of you

are going to try to spout your media paranoia talking

points at me, so save your breath. I assure you I don’t care.

Numbers are numbers.

All this said, I’m struggling this month because I’m

royally pissed off and I can’t seem to shake it. I typically

enjoy this little column and have fun with it, but this

month I just want to yell at all of you. I want to grab both

sides of your face and scream and rant and be angry…but

I know that’s not probably what you want. So I won’t do

that.

Instead…this took me a while…because I’m pissy and

didn’t want to come up with something “fun”…but after 3

Jack Daniels...I finally figured that I should get over myself

for a minute and ponder other local issues to discuss.

So with that in mind, we’re going to think about 5 things

that would make this fall so much better. We’re going to

erase the first 9 months of 2020, and I’m going to find a

happy thought in my heart as we envision how amazing

the ending for 2020 could be with just a few minor

adjustments.

fellow residents without a packed and trashed Boerne

Lake. Oh, and the County Commissioners are going to

close all river access to non-residents, too. Sorry not sorry.

BERGES FEST IS ON. AT THE TOWN SQUARE.

If you’re scared of people right now, you can stay home.

The rest of us are going to load up our crew and hit

the Town Square on a Saturday night. That’s right, the

Square. Our favorite City Manager is gone, so whatever

beef exists between the City and the Berges Fest people is

officially squashed. We’re going to two-step in the Square

with a beer and the carnival lights with our favorite girl,

and we’re going to have us one hell of a time. We might

even ruin their precious grass in the Square (the original

reason for Berges Fest getting the boot). We’re going

to enjoy some rides, eat a candied apple, and win that

favorite girl a giant teddy bear. That’s what we’re going

to do. We’re going to get back to living, and I believe

that should begin with Berges Fest. In the Square. Like it

should be. Dammit.

With that in mind, here we go:

CLOSE THE DAMN LAKE TO NON-COUNTY

RESIDENTS

Have you seen the lake lately? Good LORD. Government

officials, in their infinite wisdom, close damn near

everything that’s fun to do in the world. So people look

for cheap things to do in the area. And then they open

Google Maps and say “Honey, what the hell is Boerne,

and did you know they have a lake?” So they load up their

19 relatives in a beater truck, roll out to our lake with 3

dogs and a BBQ pit, and proceed to beat the hell out of

our lake, leave dirty diapers everywhere, and then wave

BYE as they cruise back down I-10.

Yeah, that’s over now. On September 1, 2020, Mayor

Handren is going to sign an Executive Order closing

Boerne Lake to all but county residents. Don’t like it?

Then move here. But we must protect our recreational

areas, and we’ve all seen the destruction lately, so prepare

to enjoy some great fall afternoons at the lake with your

34 | EXPLORE


WE’RE GOING TO STOP FREAKING OUT OUR KIDS

Masks for schoolchildren is over, effective the minute

you read this. Taking 7 year old kids and strapping masks

across them might be the most insane thing I’ve ever

seen. Kids will be allowed to be kids. That’s an Old Timer

mandate.

DICKENS ON MAIN – ALSO HAPPENING

We’re going to forgive our favorite Mayor Handren for

his decision to shut down Dickens on Main this year.

We’re going to forgive him because he’s going to undo

that silly decision. He’s going to remember that our

local retailers have been absolutely smashed to pieces by

the government over-reach into their ability to earn an

income, and he’s going to remember that he needs those

retailers more than they need him. We’re going to pack

out Main Street, listen to some great music, have a hot

toddy while we stroll, and we’re going to replenish these

good people’s bank accounts that have patiently stood

around waiting for their customers to return.

It’s going to be the best Dickens on Main EVER. Why?

Because we’re really, really going to appreciate being able

to attend this year. Why aren’t we scared at home under

our couches? Because we know that every year we attend

Dickens with countless people spreading flu germs and

yet we take that risk. Why? Because we like LIVING.

THE CITY IS GOING TO STOP TAX COLLECTIONS

FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR AND IMMEDIATELY

REFUND ANY PAID 2020 PROPERTY TAX

The City is going to recognize a few things: they’re

going to understand that the government took away the

incomes for the vast majority of people. They’re going

to realize that while people could not earn money, the

government demanded their tax money. That’s evil shit no

matter how you look at it. So the City is going to sit down

and say “You know what? How about if we give everyone

a 90-day break from property taxes?” And they will

discover that this is a good idea. People will have some

free cash right as they enter the holiday season, they’ll be

able to have a bit more for Christmas and travels, they’ll

be able to spread some of that money around locally,

and the City will understand and remember that it is the

LEAST important spoke on the wheel. It serves US. And

it should be reminded of that from time to time.

There you have it. Damn, that was hard for me to get

through. I’m on my 4th Jack Daniels so it’s bedtime now,

but maybe you at least smirked imagining what a fun

fall and holiday season we COULD have. Now, what are

the odds that any of my great ideas come to fruition?

Remember, the answer is always ZERO. But don’t worry –

I’ll not stop trying.

Hang in there – 2020 is almost over. Here’s to better days.

oldtimer@hillcountryexplore.com

WWW.KENDALLCOUNTYINFO.COM/EXPLORE | SEPTEMBER 2020 | 35


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