When I was ten, my dad built a fort in our backyard. He used the existing picket fence to make up two sides of the structure. My fort was “two story” and had a roof which I sometimes climbed up on and used as my “third story.” The first floor was actually a doghouse, but the second and third were all mine.
From the “third story” I had a great lookout of what was going on in and around the neighborhood. I could see about 4 or 5 dumpsters, who was coming and going, and what they were throwing away. Being a dumpster diver at ten wasn’t a bad thing. I often found useful items to keep in my fort.
The best find I ever had was one day when the man across the alley, which I later learned was getting divorced, was moving out. He threw boxes and boxes of good stuff into the dumpster. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
It was on this occasion that I found a bright yellow sign that read: Lower Turtle Creek Road. The sign hung for years near a windmill and stock pond that my family owned. Later it hung at our lake place at Oak Creek Lake near Bronte Texas. Today the sign is proudly displayed in my back yard overlooking my hot tub.
I also found a whole collection of Playboy magazines, which until right now I am sure that my parents knew nothing about. My mom often reads my blog, So mom if you are reading this now, I am sorry and I only read the articles.
The greatest treasure I found in this dive, was a record album. Jerry Jeff Walker’s “Viva Terlingua.” I would have to say, that this album was my first taste of Texas Singer- Songwriters. This is a passion that I still carry with me today, 35 years later. I still have that original album.
Viva Terlingua is a live album that Jerry Jeff Walker and the Lost Gonzo band recorded at the Luckenbach Dancehall, August 18, 1973. The album was released in November of that year by MCA Nashville Records. It’s genre is outlaw country, and it captures Walker’s laid back country base with notes of “outlaw” rock, blues and traditional Mexican norteno and Tejano styles.
Side one features Guy Clark’s “Desperados Waiting for a Train.” A song I thought for many moons actually belonged to Jerry Jeff.
Side two gave me my first taste of Ray Wylie Hubbard with “Up against the Wall Redneck Mother”.
Side two opens with Jerry Jeff Walker’s Voice.
“This song is by Ray Wylie Hubbard”Jerry Jeff Walker
The album ends with, “London Homesick Blues,” a song by another great Texas Music Pioneer, Gary P. Nunn.
I learned through a text message from my dear friend Jody this morning, that the world had lost Jerry Jeff Walker. The musician died Friday, after a battle with throat cancer.
Walker was a pioneer in the Texas music scene. He gained popularity for his 1968 song “Mr. Bojangles.”
Mr. Bojangles was inspired by a street musician Jerry Jeff Walker met in a New Orleans drunk tank.
A few years ago I built a dog run in my back yard out of pickets and I gave the dogs a window to look out into the rest of the yard.
I have been collecting signs, ever’ since I found the “Lower Turtle Creek” one. I began to proudly display these on my fence. This idea came from the Viva Terlingua album cover and of Luckenbach, Texas.
I think I accomplished the look I was after.
Jerry Jeff, Thank You for the years and the miles of giving me companionship with your words and music.
“Well, when your down on your luck /And you ain’t got a buck /In London you’re a goner/ Even London Bridge Has fallen down /And Moved to Arizona /Now I know why”
“I wanna go home with the armadillo/ Good country music from Amarillo/ And Abilene/ The friendliest people and the prettiest women you ever seen.”