Trying to capture and communicate the spirit of a blogmeet is never easy, particularly because one always has to do it while suffering bone-crushing fatigue born of the marathon festivities. Stripped of detail, a blogmeet is a gathering of people who spew a steady flow of words into cyberspace and have the gall to think that other people might actually want to read their scribblings. Put a couple dozen such people in one place at one time with non-stop libations and you have a two-day blabfest, lots of snark, boatloads of laughs, new friends and a case of mental and physical fatigue that takes days to dissipate.
The Kerrville Do was no exception.
When my fellow Yankee Traveling Companion and I arrived in San Antonio, we were warmly greeted at the airport by Christina, who was not able to attend the meet, but who took the time to schlep an hour or so to the San Antonio Airport just to welcome two dazed and confused Yanks to Texas. She also provided me with a care bag, which was chock full of goodies selected by her and her husband Dash (also my buddy) to make my Jersey-Texas transition less traumatic. It sure was great to see her, even if only for a short time.
Christinaâ€™s final favor was to alert Jerry of Confabulation, who had graciously arranged to be waiting at the airport to pick us up, of our arrival and readiness to whisked away on our Kerrville Adventure. Demonstrating his Big-as-Texas hospitality, Jerry picked us up and took a detour so that we could spend a bit of time at the Alamo. I enjoyed the visit, which left me wanting to do a bit more reading about the history of the Alamo, such as, for example, why were there so many men from Ireland who died fighting there? Who knew?
On to Kerrville.
Once I got checked in and took a quick shower to wash off the travel grit and fight off the jet lag, I headed straight for the hotel saloon, knowing that I was likely to find a bunch of bloggers there. Of course, my expectations were dead on. The saloon served Shiner Bock and I was damned thirsty. That is exactly the right way to tune up for the real festivities, which began when Shoe showed up with an entire Texas Barbecue spread for the hungry travelers. GuyK contributed a pot of gumbo, which he assured me did not contain any possum or armadillo.
We drank, bullshat and laughed until damned near one a.m., and we resumed around noon on Saturday and continued through the wee hours of Sunday morning, the only difference being that on Saturday Denny and I (a/k/a the Elderly Brothers) had special fun doing a bit of pickinâ€™ and grinninâ€™.
I got to meet old friends from previous blogmeets. They included:
Denny, the Grouchy Old Cripple: I met Denny for the first time in Helen, Georgia in 2004, and I have seen him several times since, each time being a special treat. You should know that he and I are considering doing a tour playing in nursing homes all over the country. Iâ€™m thinking we could call it the â€œSoft Food Tourâ€.
Shoe: Shoe was the consummate hostess literally brining an SUV full of food (and booze) to the hotel. She also made a couple take-out food runs once we would stop blabbing long enough to express hunger and only slightly longer to stuff food in our mouths to fuel yet more blabbing. She also drove Erica, Leslie and me back to the Airport on Sunday and treated us to lunch. Leslie had an earlier flight and missed Texasâ€™s version of a Philadelphia Cheese Steak, which was damned good. (Memo to Self: In Texas, when something is served â€œwith chips,â€ those chips ainâ€™t potato chips. Themâ€™s nacho chips, which were excellent.)
Jerry from Confabulation: Jerry is a damned nice guy, who forgets more about Texas and Oklahoma on any given day than I could ever hope to know.
Leslie from Leslieâ€™s Omnibus: Leslie is great company, and she lent some dignity to the festivities by eschewing beer swilling, engaged in by most of the Vulgarians, in favor of
drinking wine in mass quantitiessipping wine poured from bottles that actually had corks!
Walrilla from Walrillaâ€™s Wonderings: It was a special treat to see Walrilla again and to see that, consistent with his blog posts, he as doing well since his accident. His temporary state of one-footedness did not slow him down in the least, and his sense of humor is alive and well. The proof: The wearing of a tee shirt on which was written, â€œItâ€™s all fun and games until someone loses a foot.â€ Ya gotta love da guy.
El Capitan of Baboon Pirates: Itâ€™s always great to see the Cap. If you ever ran into this big feller in a dark alley, youâ€™d consider kissing your ass good bye, but the truth is that his smile and sense of humor are also industrial sized. I figure his flaming Cadillac story will have everyone howling for at least a dozen more blogmeets.
Nancy of Nancyâ€™s Garden Spot and Da Pup a/k/a Richie, a/k/a Nancy’s hub: This nice couple was also at the Austin meet. They presented everyone with their very own aloe plant, and for those of us who would be flying and therefore could end up in airline jail for transporting plants, they gave us each a jar of â€œTexas Traffic Jam,â€ which they assured me did not contain any armadillo. Good peeps.
I finally got to meet two long-time members of Mr. Blogroll:
GuyK of Charming, Just Charming (and his lovely bride of more than four decades): It was a real pleasure to finally meet GuyK. He looks exactly like his picture on his blog (including the ever-present cool lid), and he has a southern drawl that positively sings. I believe I could shoot the shit with him for hours (and I probably did). We all celebrated Guyâ€™s 65th birthday on Sunday, making him one of two peeps at the meet older than I am. Hell, Iâ€™da given him fifty bucks, if he woulda called me â€œKid.â€ He does have a bit of a mean streak in him though, in that he presented me with a toy alligator, which actually squeaks when squeezed and which now sits proudly atop this monitor. I look forward to the day when I can be in the company of him and his bride again.
Erica of Ericaâ€™s Blog: This smartass Brooklyn Joooish babe is a terrific writer who could give seminars on composing blog comments and who also is a most excellent traveling companion. I took great pleasure in knowing that she would actually have to enter the Garden State to catch the plane to San Antonio. After a few more trips she may finally realize that Jersey rules. Oh, and I learned on the way to the San Antonio Airport that she can put her hand over her mouth and make a fart sound that, in nature, might be made by a dyspeptic bull elephant. Must be a Brooklyn thing.
Then there were the peeps who heretofore were not on Mr. Blogroll and who I met for the very first time:
Jerry of Back Home Again: Jerry walked into the blogmeet when it was in full swing, and in two minutes he had a dozen new friends. Although he recently returned to his home state of Indiana, he is extremely well-traveled and has lots of great stories to tell, from being â€œoverdressed” in a Fargo eatery (he was wearing Dockers!) to actually working in Paramus, New Jersey, Heaven help him.
Hammer: Hammer is another 100% Texan, and I believe this was his first blogmeet. He too took to it like a fish takes to water. Within five minutes, he was crackinâ€™ wise as good as anyone else. Nice guy. Hope to see him again.
Becky of Tall Cool Drink of Water: Becky zoomed in on Saturday morning when a few of us were having to keep our eyes closed to keep from bleeding to death. It didnâ€™t take any time at all before she too was waist-deep in blog blabbing. Before the day was out, she even managed to shoe polish the windows on Guyâ€™s truck, as you can see on her site. Unfortunately she had to leave earlier than any of us would have liked, but she had mom stuff to attend to. I understand that she will be a regular at these events, and thatâ€™s a good thing.
Jim of Smoke on the Water: It was a particular pleasure to get to meet Jim, who is a heavy hitter in the â€˜sphere. Heâ€™s a sailboat guy; he appreciates excellent bourbon and good cigars and can tell a funny story with the best of â€˜em. He looks like he stepped out of the pages of GQ magazine, and he travels with enough firepower to overtake a mid-sized city in Iraq. When I explained that packing that kind of heat would land one in deep shit in Jersey, he smiled and said, â€œWelcome to Texas.â€ I really hope to see him again (and his most excellent significant other as well).
Running Behind (Is that an Apache name?) of A Disregard for Timekeeping: This may be a first. Running Behind came to the blogmeet as a non-blogging friend of Walrillaâ€™s and after spending a couple days with us reprobates, he fired up his own blog. Truly excellent. This is one damned good guy. Walrilla obviously picks his friends well, and Iâ€™m glad that I can now say that this guy is also a friend of mine.
Dennyâ€™s Commenter: This is also a first. As it happens, one of Dennyâ€™s regular commenters lives in the Kerrville area, and he popped in and fit right in, thereby proving that one need not be a blogger to get funky with a bunch of bloggers.
Even though these things leave you feeling as if you survived a bus plunge into a deep ravine, I had a helluva time and I look forward to the next one.