Thursday, March 01, 2007

The Lone Star State

We spent a couple of quality days in the vans after leaving New Mexico. We hit I-40 and zoomed across the Panhandle of Texas toward Wichita Falls and then on to Crockett, our next venue. I was able to fulfill a personal mission during that first drive day.

I spent about half of my formative growing up years on a ranch 9 miles north of Amarillo and I was determined to see it again. I came close during the Steel Magnolias tour but it didn't work out, but this time nothing would stop me. Not even construction. The road to my house was blocked so we meandered around the neighborhoods nearby until we came out on the other side of construction and drove on to the house. We parked at the top of the hill and I got to see that the ranch is prospering! Old buildings that I remember from my childhood were replaced with new; big bales of hay were set everywhere and whoever owns it now has named it the Bended Knee Ranch. It was gratifying to see it still going strong.
I'm not sure what the need is to Go Home. I also saw my old house in Albuquerque a couple of years ago. There is something about going back to a place that we've known, that meant something and helped to form us. Maybe it's just wanting to remember or.. be able to see it with our grown up eyes. I'm not sure, but the pull is very strong.

After my reunion with the Ranch I took Marie and Lauren to the experience of a lifetime...eating at the Big Texan steak house. The restaurant is painting in garrish yellow and blue and adorned with stuffed animal heads and other trophies. There's a souvenier shop and a little 'shooting gallery' where you can try your hand at shooting targets on various animatronic creatures to make them do amusing things. If you can eat their 72oz. steak and meal in an hour you get it for free! ...I had chicken fried chicken, myself.

The next drive day our adventures centered around trying to meet up with a friend and actor from the Bigfork season who's in Dallas... but it turned out his acting class was headed to Fort Worth to go to the zoo and study animal movements. Rather than give up, we took ourselves on down to the zoo! It was an excellent, sunny afternoon spent with the wildlife, we got our hugs from Jon and drove on to Crockett, where the rest of the company had been playing in the court yard of the hotel all afternoon near the pool and were having beers and playing guitar by the time we arrived.

A lovely fountain in the courtyard of our hotel.

But anyway, back to work...

As you can see by the photo, Crockett was an interesting day. The space was originally built for events like the tractor pull, but they eventually put up a stage area and seating and called it a theatre. We fit our set in with the help of a big invisible shoe horn threw a few lights on it and called it a day. It's the adventerous venues like this one that make you feel the most accomplished about getting it and making it work, but sometimes it makes for a long day. I do love to see all the smaller theatres out there working and striving with every ounce of resources that they have to get shows together and bring in companies like the Rep.

Next stop.. Galveston

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