Contemplation & Jingly SpursMonday, July 19, 2010
Sometime on Friday afternoon Rebecca and I will deplane at at the former Bergstrom Air Force Base and now the Austin, Texas airport. We will be met by Brother Edwin Reggio, CSC (seen here a couple of years ago with Rebecca when we visited St. Edward’s University). Brother Edwin will then drive us to St. Joseph Hall on the St.Ed’s University campus. It was here, in the venerable neo-Gothic main building that I attended high school for four years in the last half of the 50s. Then St. Joseph’s Hall was the inner sanctum of my teachers. It was verboten to even attempt to enter the place.
Last year at my high school reunion (all years beginning when the school opened in the 19th century (few if any from those classes showed up!) I had a chance to go into that inner sanctum. The school closed around in 1967 and the main building was incorporated to the ancillary university which was then also run by Brothers of the Holy Cross. There are fewer brothers now but the university is a de facto secular university with a liberal Catholic approach much like its sister university in Indiana, Notre Dame University.
St. Joseph’s hall is inhabited by older Brothers of the Holy Cross. The food, cooked by a most friendly Mexican/American is very good. The company is excellent and the conversation at the dinner table is always interesting. I look forward to Rebecca interacting with my former teacher (the last one still alive) and the other brothers who were all specialists in some field.
We will be there for three days and we will explore the city, which is different to the one I left in 1961. On Monday we will fly to Harlingen where we will be picked up by a boot and jingly-spurred cowboy called Mike East who will drive us to his ranch. Today I called his partner Letty who informed me that it was 108 degrees Fahrenheit. The lingua franca at the ranch is good Mexican Spanish so I hope that the immersion into that language will profit Rebecca.
In this ranch, little cookhouses are dispersed over its large area. Cowboys have their chow there. Tortillas are made by hand ( I tried some last year and I could no stop) and the food is scrumptious. I hope that Mike will take us to one of those cookhouses. On the other hand breakfast at the ranch is a huge affair with eggs, beans, oatmeal, toast and loads of coffee.
Mike’s living room is a living museum with large stuffed heads of longhorns on the walls and with beautiful 19th century peacemaker Colts and Remington rifles on the wall. On the long corridor to the bedrooms the walls have old photographs that represent the history of Texas as lived by Mike’s ancestors.
It is my hope that some of the portraits that I take this time around might someday grace the walls of that corridor.