There’s a song that I hear every once in a while on the radio, called “I ain’t never had too much fun.” I can only conclude that the songwriter has never been in the magazine business. I think I have one of the best jobs ever invented, but sometimes I get so tired that I can’t keep track of where I’m supposed to be having fun next. Maybe I’m just getting old.
Another problem in this job is that after five days of having a little more fun than I can handle, I have to work really hard for a couple of days to get everything written down. Sometimes I don’t have time to write it very well. I’m worried that this week will be one of those times.
Last week (my weeks run Wednesday to Tuesday) started with the premiere of a movie starring one of my friends, Elena Chitta of Kingsland. I attended a great concert at Fuel (Chris Jamison opened for The Reliques Thursday night). I got a lesson in beekeeping from John Caballero, during which your “intrepid reporter” got honey all over the camera (but didn’t get stung). I attended parades at Dripping Springs and Burnet (Founders Day and the Bluebonnet Festival), a wine-and-cheese party at Badu Park (complete with live music and actual artists), a Texas Ranger dedication at Valley Spring (Mariah Newell did a great job playing “Taps”), a great Llano Country Opry, two birthday parties in one at the Llano Church of Christ (Paul Lynn’s 90th and Ben McIntosh’s 75th) and held a “Free Burgers” sign for Fuel Sunday evening.
There were other things, too, but the most amazing event to me was the dedication of a historic marker on a restored log cabin behind The Antlers, in Kingsland. Willis Springfield, of Rio Frio, coordinated a major event to celebrate the installation of a plaque and some family portraits of Kingsland pioneers in the 1850s-era cabin built by his great-great grandfather, Isaac Hoover. He had invited all the Hoovers he knew (from all around Texas), the Burnet County Historical Commission, the Kingsland Genealogical Society and the Packsaddle Elementary School choir. When he got up to speak, he showed the crowd a copy of my Fall 2009 Texas Hill Country magazine, and told everyone that it was the catalyst for the historical expedition which had introduced him to his ancestors. I could feel my head getting bigger as he spoke!
Regular readers of my column will remember that just a couple of weeks ago, I was getting nervous about a couple of front-page stories from the week before. I’m even feeling good about those things, now. From what I hear, charges against the three young Llano “burglars” are being dropped; they have served their suspensions and are back at school without the undeserved criminal record. And the school board held a very helpful meeting to explain the reasoning behind the CSCOPE curriculum. It certainly has both positive and negative aspects, but apparently the board didn’t have a whole lot of viable options. I came away from the meeting convinced that the board and the administrators are trying hard to do the right thing.
One thing that I’m not feeling so good about is the problem of drug abuse. From my experience here in Llano, it seems baffling to me that anyone here would turn to drugs. I see the natural beauty, the smalltown atmosphere, the neighborliness of the people, and I am very much troubled to think that anyone here could feel so hopeless, so pressured or so alienated. Cleo Cooper, who counsels some of those affected, believes that a large majority of Llano’s young people are abusing alcohol, marijuana or prescription drugs, and that some are even addicted to heroin. I really don’t know what I can do to change that, but I’m definitely planning to be at the meeting she is organizing (with Sheriff Bill Blackburn and others) for the evening of April 29 (7 p.m. at the high school auditorium), and I’d encourage everyone else to be there, too. Maybe we can help.
I’ve often thought that American society has inadvertently distorted the growing-up process, and has made it difficult for young people to be useful or feel good about themselves. I think that’s one reason (of many) that some young people feel a need to get “high.” For the past couple of weeks, James Sanderson (the Methodist youth pastor) has been telling me about something coming up in June, where hundreds of kids actually pay for the privilege of coming to Llano to do “random acts of kindness” for widows or elderly or needy people in an event called MPACT. I think that is absolutely wonderful; I just hope that the organizers can come up with enough appropriate jobs so that the participants can really do some good (and really feel good about what they’ve done). If you know of someone who needs some work done (they’ll even have a roofing crew!), please call James; I think this could be a blessing for everyone involved.
There are a couple of other things I want to mention before I stop writing. Ann Feller is planning a Grand Opening at her outstanding little quilt shop (a couple of miles west of town, on CR 116) on April 23 and 24. Frank Rowell tells me that there will be a Traders’ Rendezvous on the square every third Saturday (starting this week). There should be something about the Crawfish Open on the front page, but I’ll remind you again; it’s this weekend. Thanks for reading The Llano News!