Sunday, July 26, 2015

Kid-ing Around

If you are familiar with the legendary outlaw known as "Billy the Kid" then you probably know that historians claim that he spent the majority (but not all) of his adult life in New Mexico and was killed in 1881 by lawman (and former buffalo hunter) Pat Garrett.  However...

If you've seen the movie Young Guns II you would have seen Emilio Estevez all made up as an old man claiming to be an elderly Billy the Kid who was not killed by Garrett but escaped to live out his days in the small town of Hico, TX. 

What you may not know is that the film's writers did not make this up.  "Brushy" Bill Roberts was an actual person who did live in Hico and did claim to be Billy the Kid.  And the small town has fully embraced his tall tale with no less than a statue and museum:


Just south of the town in Hamilton, TX you can pay your respects to the late Mr. Roberts, as many seem to do regularly.  His grave is adorned with mementos from fans:

Beer bottles, whiskey bottles, cigarettes, coins, stones and even bullets were left by travelers who may or may not have believed the legend.  And while we may never know the truth the town of Hico definitely believes.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Top 5 Items for Sale at the Alamo Gift Shop

When you visit the Texas Holy Land you're going to want a keepsake to take home with you.  "Remember the Alamo" isn't a request, it's an order.  And to do that you'll need to hit the gift shop.  Don't worry though, like all gift shops, the Alamo shop is easy to find.

While perusing the merchandise you might have difficulty acquiring just the right tchotchke for your mantle or cubicle.  After all, you're probably all jacked up on Texas while on the premises.  To make it easier, we've picked out a few items that stood out on a recent visit.

Top 10 lists are too hard so here are the Top 5 Items for Sale at the Alamo Gift Shop:

5.  These Metal Mug Type Things:

I don't know if there is a specific name for this type of old timey metal mugs and I'm not sure why they appeal to me so much but...just look at them!  I want to hold one by a camp fire and drink mead out of it.  Or coffee.  Or Kool Aid.  Anything really.  The only downside is that they were about $40 a pop.  For that amount of dough I'll probably take my mead in a paper cup.

4.  Frontier Rifle Pen:

If this doesn't just scream "ALAMO" then I don't know what does.  We don't like to admit that most gift shops have items that can be found in any other gift shop at any other attraction in the country.  But this pen BELONGS in the Alamo gift shop.  It just flat out belongs there!  Plus it's functional:  you can write stuff with it and whatnot. 

3.  "Come and Take It" Needlepoint

The "Come and Take It" slogan may have started with the American Revolution but it also has a strong association with the Texas Revolution.  Add in the DIY needlepoint aspect and you end up with something not just distinctly American but also uniquely Texan. 

2.  Cartridge Candy

Keeping within the firearm genre (this is Texas after all), we have what may be the only historically educational candy that I've ever seen:  Cartridge Candy!  Kids can fill their musket mouths the old fashioned way.  The only thing I'm cautious about is the ambiguity of whether you get a "gum ball" or "candy ball."  Either way, it's fine but surely you'd like to know exactly what you're getting into snack-wise.

1.  Coonskin Caps

If, after a visit to the Alamo, you don't want to buy a coonskin cap and wear it around the River Walk for the rest of the day then I don't want to know you.

Thursday, July 16, 2015


Carl's Corner is a truck stop/town located along I-35 that you've passed by on the way from Dallas to Austin or Austin to Dallas or some such other destination in that area.  It's was incorporated by trucker Carl Cornelius and a handful of his thirsty friends for the purpose of being able to sell alcohol in the primarily dry area. 

If you had driven past it several years ago you would have seen this colorful and charismatic truck stop (this picture is from 2003):

Years ago it burned down and and was ultimately replaced with this non-charismatic blasphemy:

The biggest disappointment of the new place is the absence of Carl's famous dancing frogs.  Here's what they used to look like:

Originally there were six dancing frogs.  They lived in Dallas before they hopped to Carl's.    Fortunately they were all saved from the fire.  Three of them went to Nashville and, for a while, the other three lived across the highway from Carl's.  Ultimately though, they went back home to Dallas and you can now visit them atop a Taco Cabana on Greenville Avenue:


Will this be the Frogs' final home?  Somehow I think their travels will continue in the future and I look forward to following them hop up and down the great state of Texas.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Boys Don't Cry in Greenville, TX

We showed you one small town that was used in the filming of the film "Boys Don't Cry" and now we have another. Although this town is significantly larger...Greenville, TX:

Hilary Swank's character walks around the downtown square on the way to the court house. You can see that the "Sabine Trading Post" isn't there anymore but remnants of the sign are.

And then up the stairs of the Hunt County Court House which is yet another great looking Texas courthouse and soon-to-be the topic of an upcoming "Marking Time" entry.

The camera tilts up to show off the rest of the courthouse and even though the film (which is based on a true story) doesn't take place in Hunt County they didn't make any effort to hide the giant "Hunt County Court House" carving at the top of the building:

I didn't go inside so I have no idea if the interiors were shot inside the actual court house. Guess I'll save that for my next trip to Greenville.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Hull & Oats

Thanks to Wheaties, the idea of combining cereal and athletes seems completely natural.  Doug Flutie took it up a notch with his Flutie Flakes and several years back Brett Hull, while he was still with the Dallas Stars, managed to get his very own breakfast treat:  Hull-O's!

The expiration date on this box is April of 2000 and I remember picking up the box somewhere in North Texas.  I'm not sure if they were distributed anywhere else.  Proceeds from the sales went to Camp John Marc for Special Needs Kids in Dallas.

Instead of a toy surprise inside the box you had the option to get your very own "Hull-O's" t-shirt for the low, low price price of $13.95 (plus shipping):

At the time I didn't want to cut up my super collectible box but at this point it's a minor regret that I just have to live with.