|Hutto High School Mascot attacks Jill!|
BASTROP – About this time next year, Kay and I may go on an Alaskan cruise. However, this year at about this time we decided to go on a trip to Bastrop.
Bastrop is just a few miles southeast of Austin. We might’ve gone further, but we’re saving our money so we can go on an Alaskan cruise next year. I thought sure I already told you that.
We invited Jill along with us on this trip ‘cause she’s a hoot to travel with. On the way here she had us playing the mascot game. Anytime you pass a town, you have to find out it’s High School’s mascot. A lot of times you can figure it out by the names of some of the businesses on the main drag. “Bulldog Bowling Alley” or “The Bears Lair.”
But sometimes you have to search out the school. That can be a challenge, ‘cause some of the towns don’t have high schools. Chappell Hill has no high school. They’re a tricker town. That’s what you call small towns with no high schools. They have you driving around the area looking for something they don’t have.
They have no high school, but they do have a museum in a place that used to be an old schoolhouse. Kay and I had visited it on a previous trip, but Jill had never seen it. Jill likes museums. I like to looking at the faces of people in old school photos and try to imagine their futures from their expressions. I didn’t do that with all the faces on pictures in the Chappell Hill Museum, ‘cause we’d still be there..
By the time we checked into the hotel in Bastrop, it was too late for lunch and too early for supper. That’s what I call naptime. We had had a late breakfast, and during much of the trip had snacked on almond, pecan, cashew clusters from Sam’s. The third best invention in humankind. I say “humankind” ‘cause pandas don’t like ‘em at all. Not exactly a favorite among koala’s either. Sticks to their gums.
After my nap, we went to Paw Paw’s in downtown Bastrop for some fried catfish. I once read that “fried” is not the only way to prepare catfish. I consider that crazy talk. Paw Paw’s catfish was good, just not as good as Vernon’s. What is?
At the table next to us in Paw Paw’s was seated a lady who had just placed her order. I waited for her to complete her text message before asking about the big Bastrop fire, the one that destroyed much of the Lost Pine Forest.
Georgia didn’t hesitate a second. “It was September 4, 2011,” she said. She went on to tell us that the fires burned for three weeks. I remember her name was Georgia ‘cause it was the same as the state where she was born -- Delaware. No, she was born in Ty Ty, Georgia. She was probably joking with me. I could believe Ty Ty, California.
In her storytelling, Georgia included directions to some of the worst burned over sites. As soon as we left Paw Paw’s, we drove through one of the State Parks that had been undamaged by the fire. Absolutely beautiful. Then we crossed over to the west side of Hwy 71 and saw some serious fire damage. It was hill after hill of tall, barkless and limbless pine boles. Occasionally we’d see concrete foundations. Lost homes and subdivisions.
|Lost Pines 3 yrs after fire|
Tomorrow we plan to load up and visit a town where Kay and I lived back in 1991-’93. Georgetown. A beautiful place. On the drive over I plan to drive through Hutto, and let Jill see the statue of the hippo -- Hutto High’s mascot. How cool is that?
After that, we’ll probably beat this article home, but not by much And as soon as we get home, we’ll continue saving for next year’s Alaskan cruise. Of some concern about the trip is the belief that Alaskans aren’t big into catfish. They mostly eat just salmon. And get this, they’re not big into fried salmon. They’ll smoke it before they fry it. And we made ‘em a state? *
* (The comment about the Statehood of Alaska is not to be taken seriously. Mark respects the daylights out of Alaskans. And Hutto High, too. Go, Hippos!)