Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Philosophy of a Junker

Beautiful Texas Wildflowers
Last weekend my husband and I headed southwest to Fredericksburg, Texas for a day of window shopping and sightseeing.   If you're a Texan, you've heard of Fredericksburg.  Located near the infamous Luckenbach, playground to Waylon and Willy and the boys, and smack dab in the center of the Texas Hill Country, Fredericksburg is as Texas as longhorn cattle, wildflowers, and drinkin' a cold brew on a hot summer's day.  We took in some back-road sites that make day trips in the Hill Country so enjoyable, stopping many times along the way to capture images of Texas small town living and the colors of spring. 

Texas Wildflowers - Mexican Hat

Though the iconic Texas Bluebonnets have come and gone, many other wildflowers were abundant.  Indian Blanket, Mexican Hat, and Texas Thistle could be seen liberally sprinkled along the hill country roads.
And what would a drive through the Texas Hill Country be without at least one longhorn sighting?   The Texas Longhorn is a unique creature perfectly suited for life on the tough Texas terrain. Longhorn are described as being tough, rangy animals that  "...are independent, observant and cautious and can be quite fierce...With their natural immunity to many diseases and pests, easy calving and unfussy feeding habits, Longhorns are 'low cost' cattle."  We spotted this small herd just outside of Johnson City.  

Iconic Texas Longhorn
The peaceful, tranquil drive soon transformed to a bevy of activity upon driving into the town center.  It became increasingly more difficult for me to focus with its antique stores and specialty shops flanking the road. This town was going to deliver everything I'd heard rumored and more.


The walk along Main Street was a buffet for the senses.  Rustic buildings with beautiful architectural detail, shop windows full of wares -both vintage and new, whimsical displays filled storefront windows, restaurants and cafes emitted tantalizing aromas, motorcycles and vintage cars rumbled down the main drag.  

And there was beer - Texas beer.  Locally brewed beer and wine was available to thirsty shoppers, and on a hot Texas day one must never underestimate the power of good, cold beer!  This Rio Blanco Pale Ale from the Real ale Brewing Company in Blanco, Texas was our brew of choice.  With so much stimuli even the simplest of decisions  became difficult.  Only after four blocks and several menu scans were we able to decide what, and where, to eat.

I found comfort in a pavilion in the town square.  It was filled with books.  As a librarian, this I could handle.  This did not overwhelm me.  This I understood.  The town was having a sale  - used hardcover books $1.  I had recently been gifted a handbag made from an old book and had wanted to try making one myself.  This proved to be the perfect opportunity to pick up a few books for such a project.  Do not be alarmed, fellow book lovers.  Libraries cannot possibly keep every book forever.  At some point, when they no longer circulate, they have to be withdrawn in order to make room for the more contemporary.  Thankfully many of them are sold to people who will lovingly give them a new home.  Others will be re-purposed and transformed.  That is the natural cycle of a book.

So, with nothing but a few books and a six-pack of beer in hand, we headed for home.
No great tale of adventure.  No great tale of uncovered treasure.

Though clearly both adventure and treasure were well within my reach, I left with neither.  Instead  I left with a deeper understanding of what it is about junking that intrigues and delights me, and a clearer understanding of my personal beliefs relating to life, beauty, and value. I left with a renewed philosophy  - The Philosophy of a Junker.

It's the belief that there's still beauty and honor in something old and fading...  

That an old building with worn shutters or an old rusty bike can, and likely will, inspire the latest design trends.  

That nature always knows the answer to the question, "Do these colors match?"

That creativity can transform that which is old and outdated, into something new and innovative.


That despite being considered ugly, a weed will still hold it's head high as it reaches for the sun.

And that no matter when or where it shows up, a classic black Cadillac rag top convertible with whitewalls is still the coolest car on the strip.

For information about Fredericksburg, Texas visit
For information about Real Ale Brewing Company visit them on the web at
For information about Longhorn cattle visit

All photos were taken by Paulette Rodriguez in and around Fredericksburg, Texas on May 5, 2012.

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