Growing up, it's funny how you don't really appreciate your environment. At least I didn't.
The Hill Country was rough terrain!
It was as if everything was out to kill you or at the very least, maim you!
Every plant had a thorn and every patch of grass had stickers.
It definitely wasn't meant for the girly girl that I was (and still am).
I had nightmares of big hills and hiking and ticks and snakes.
My aunt and uncle owned some land way up on a hill in Bandera and occasionally we would drive up there to check on the land. It was up a winding hill/small mountain (to me) and I would literally be hunched down in the floorboard of the car, waiting for us to go over the side of the cliff to our death. At least that's how it felt when I was seven.
As I got older, I started to appreciate the culture a little bit more, but not as much as I should have.
Growing up in San Antonio, there was such a richness to our history there, but as a teen I just never really understood the value of it all.
There were festivals and culture related events every year. Historical landmarks, missions, and old churches that now fascinate me. But, back then, with all of that at my fingertips, it was just the scenery of my childhood.
When we went back a few weeks ago, we got to visit an old dancehall - one of the oldest in Texas, as a matter of fact.
Gruene (pronounced Green) Hall is a landmark. It was built in 1878, along with a general store and saloon. It's purpose was to service the farmers that would come bringing their cotton to the local cotton gin.
This is a "must play" location for Texas musicians and I would imagine, once you got your picture on the wall, you felt as if you had "made it" as a true artist.
I love the old dance halls. I also love to dance.
Yes, it's true......lots of beer drinking and even a fight or two might break out, but most people are here for the music and because this is where they connect. This is where they come to just "be".
On any given night, you can come and hear music coming from inside. It's the "sound of Texas" really.
One day I want to take my kids back to the Hill Country and help them to appreciate all the richness of that area.
I want them to know the place where I grew up and appreciate the fact that our great state has much to offer.
I love Texas! And, I'm starting to really appreciate growing up here.
Yeah, I know......it's about time!