November seventh, Steven and I headed to Hebbronville very early in the morning. We were excited about our first Vaquero Fest experience, so we arrived before nine to await the parade on North Smith Avenue.
Afterwards, we walked over to explore what I thought had been a hotel in another lifetime. What a gem! I wondered what it would say if it could speak. Steven later asked Bill Hellen about the building and learned that a man from Fort Worth owns it now. Historical landmarks like this one come with lots of regulations attached to preserve their integrity, so maybe this is delaying its beautification.
We walked down the main street for a few blocks before heading back to the car, so we could drive around town. A really quaint barbecue place by the railroad tracks caught me eye. The small, narrow, triangular building looks like a long-ago whistle stop. Unfortunately, we were in traffic on the wrong side, so I missed the photo op. I’ll save it for next time around, I guess, though I did get another goodie instead.
The young woman, Mallorie, handed out autographed CDs afterwards. She told me she’ll be cutting an album soon, so I wished her great success.
Making the rounds, we finally found Bill and his lovely Elva and then visited briefly with Joe and Cordy on our way to Our Lady of Guadalupe Church diagonally across from the plaza. We didn’t want to miss Hernan’s cuentos viejos presentation in the church basement.
Up until then, we’d been thinking only about the tour of the Scotus College breezeway that we’d missed back in June. We’d spoken with R. J. at the parade, and he’d promised us a tour if we arrived early for Hernan’s lecture. We’d thought the church would be locked; but, much to our surprise, two ladies, Julie and Rosa Elia, were monitoring the front doors. We asked if we could enter and were graciously told that Azalia, one of the ladies whom we’ve met through the TX Tropical Trail Region (TTTR) meetings, was giving tours of the church and the chapel. Boy, oh, boy, were we excited to have our very own VIP tours!
After the tours and the presentation, we agreed we’d accomplished our goals for the day, so we decided to swing back by the plaza before heading for home. First, we spent time observing Isaac and Gabriel at their kettle korn booth.
Steven and I love making popcorn from scratch, but this looked dangerously intriguing. Isaac has to wear gloves, long sleeves, and a face mask!
Isaac told us he buys huge bags of ACT II, since it pops best; and he’s not at all concerned about stray poppers lost during the process. He and his brother travel to numerous fairs from Hebbronville to Floresville to Alice and back, and he really enjoys what he does. Next, we visited with Louie and his assistant, Mark. Louie had samples of his pan de campo, so we couldn’t resist buying some of that, too. It’s an immense glorified flour tortilla with an appealing name, cowboy bread, absolutely perfect for Vaquero Fest and just fine without butter, too.
Walking around the plaza one last time, we saw kids of all ages enjoying themselves as they listened to the music, ate, strolled around like us, bought items from the vendors, or just plain window shopped. We were glad to have joined in the day’s festivities. We’d bought delicious tacos from the Knights of Columbus, visited the fine folks we’ve befriended through TTTR, and enjoyed our time at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church.
Once again, we were taken with the friendliness of the townspeople with whom we interacted. The church parishioners this time around were as nice as Lorenzo and his co-workers were during our first visit. We felt so welcomed into their community that I’m pretty sure we’ll go back to visit, especially since Azalia told us that Father Frank intends to have murals and frescoes painted in the church.
Won’t that be an awesome sight?!!
Links of interest… Hebbronville: about / county seat / history (more) / landmarks & legacies… La Mota Ranch: Bill Hellen (agritourism: more / fishing & hunting)… Our Lady of Guadalupe Church & Scottus College (more)… South TX ranching traditions celebrated in Hebbronville… TX Tropical Trail Region… Vaquero Festival…