Charco Ranch welcoming committee

April ended with me clinging to a rock spire.  May began with a weekend at Charco Ranch where the sculptures arrived safely just as a big Beeville Fire Department fundraiser weekend party at Charco Ranch kicked off.  I pulled on a bright red volunteer T-shirt and jumped in to help out.  Thirty-two teams gathered with their BIG black barreled cookers to compete in a BBQ cook-off.  Yum!  The only thing better than the “no one is a stranger” genuine warmth of the Texas people, is the addition of delicious BBQ and libations to their innate hospitality.  Despite the 97 degree temps, each team hovered over hot cookers and offered heaps of succulent flesh, beans and liquor to anyone.  I couldn’t quit grinning (or sweating).  I drank my first (and 2nd) “Salted Dog,” spun to live music on a wooden dance floor in the middle of the covered riding arena, dished up and served fried fish and half chickens.

The BBQ fellas from Lufkin Texas charmed me the first evening.  Jeffery traded his camouflage and hunter orange “GAM” (Grown- Ass Men) team hat for my flame embellished Devil Women Saloon cap.  Dances were promised but forgone when the party moved into the saloon.  People are so totally taken with the custom Devil Woman Saloon Reliquary sculptures.  I must say it is fun to see and hear reactions as the sculptures hold court in their special spot in the world.  The next night brought more live music, plenty of dancing, and two auctions.   Once again the evening topped off with the intimate fun companionship and craziness in the Devil Woman Saloon where Brenda reigns as a fun-loving gracious and generous hostess.

A bigger-than-life full moon landed languid and lit on the final night.  We took one of the Kabota’s for a middle of the night spin on the 7000 acre ranch.  Spider webs lit and popped like fireworks as we bust through them, the front windshield open, hair flying.  Parked beneath a twisted knurly mesquite tree, serenaded by whippoorwills and visited by a wee little armadillo – new friendships were formed.  Stories were swapped and punctuated by an electrical storm which danced across the horizon until dawn.