Monday, December 14, 2009
THROUGH NEW EYES
I went to Fredericksburg, Texas this past weekend with a friend.
We ate fine food at August E's and The Nest. We sampled spirited liquor-filled dark chocolates made in the style of the European Master Chocolatiers at Chocolat. I chose Hazelnut liqueur filled and my friend bourbon filled. If you haven't had the joy before, you place the entire thing in your mouth, bite down, close your eyes and savor the delectable liquid. You sigh with surprise and pleasure and then the SMILE.
The purpose of this spontaneous trip (if indeed we needed a purpose other than visiting my bed and breakfast) was to enjoy the beautifully decorated German streets and attend the Candlelight Tour to see some of Fredericksburg's best-known historic structures decorated in late 19th century holiday style. It was a breath of cold, crisp fresh air and a step back in time. The White Oak Schoolhouse, the original Sunday Houses and log cabins and the Arhelger Bathhouse where weary, dusty travelers frequently stopped for a haircut, shave and a hot sudsy bath, and the Kammlah Homestead (the oldest house in Fredericksburg,) all gave a feeling of what the spirit of the season is all about...or should be! Silent Night was sung under the South Texas stars by a children's choir and I do believe for a few moments I could feel Christmas in my heart.
Candles were lit in antique mason jars like fireflies along the pathways, fireplaces were cracking and trees decorated with cranberries and popcorn strung by the children. Carolers were strolling between the houses, and we found ourselves transported back to a time when Christmas wasn't all about who got the most presents or long laborious lines at department stores and exhausting traffic jams. Christmas was about love. And on this beautiful night, Christmas was once again about love.
Sunday noon a visit to Luckenbach was inevitable! A very different step back in time. Here we mingled with dozens of 'Harley' drivers with their leather jackets, had a beer, listened to a little pickin', and realized quickly why 'Everybody is Somebody in Luckenbach.' And for the finale, I kissed 'Shotgun' a genuine Texas Longhorn (that is with four legs - not two) and took lots and lots of pictures.
It is also here in Luckenbach that you find the ATM machine in the outhouse! Nowhere else but Texas! Roosters wandered around our feet, as the roar of the Harleys approaching seemed quite natural to these feathered friends. A little dog named 'Honey' posed for pictures with her heavily bearded owner while weekday lawyers, doctors, and such seemed to find escape and a very different venue for Christmas carols deep in the heart of Texas.
I won't forget the memories made this weekend and the lessons learned. The first - be spontaneous! I learned to allow special times to take form on their own and I learned that if you plan too precisely you open the possibility for disappointment. And more importantly, you miss the moment and you just might miss what Christmas is all about.
Jan Bethencourt says it perfectly, "Change is inevitable. Accept the old and embrace the new. Blend the two and that is you." This December weekend, somewhere in the Hill Country of South Texas between an old German Settlement and Luckenbach (population 3), I found me.
With a lump in my throat I decided it wasn't necessary to wait for another piece of chocolat or a shooting star to make a wish.
We'll see if it comes true.