Robert (gurdonark) wrote,

cast into the outer paradise

"We're on a Mexican radio"--old Wall of Voodoo song

We left Sunday morning to drive to Lake Ray Roberts, one hour to our northwest. We drove by horse farms and corn fields on the way. Our destination proved to be right outside the quaint small town of Pilot Point. During our hour drive, we listened to a great jazz CD by Joe Derenzo, who had sent me the CD after I reviewed his song. It is a great CD, "serious" jazz rather than easy listening radio, with a bop that's hard without quite being hard bop.

The Lantana Resort straddles the line between really good motel, New Mexico-style informal resort, and hotel. We began our visit at the Buffalo Grill in the resort, which featured snippets of salmon and beef, well prepared. The back of the hotel faced Lake Ray Roberts, a large lake whose water glinted brightly in the sun.

The kind woman at the hotel desk directed us to the hiking trail, which ran just behind the hotel. We stopped on our way to hike to watch a giant swallowtail butterfly fluttering about the blue-ish lantana flowers.

The largely unused trail proved to be a dirt road through a hardwood forest. Many of the trees were "post oaks", which resembled their names, being long, tall, fence-post looking structures. We passed a group of feral fruit trees, which bore hundreds of a nearly ripe red fruit I believed to be plums. We left them for the birds, and soldiered on.

The temperature exceeded 95 degrees, as we began our hike at 1:30 p.m.. Although the trail provided some shade, we found the going more challenging than a dawn or evening hike. Still, we soldiered on until we reached the little loop that marked "Lost Lake". Lost Lake is a small lake, slightly separated from Lake Ray Roberts. I saw a small bass jump from the water in pursuit of a bug. We saw wildflowers I cannot identify. We made the loop back to the resort, pausing often in the shady areas.

We came upon two rabbits, who departed after failing to elude us through standing stock still. We got back to our hotel room, looking as if we had been for a swim.
After our showers, we headed into Pilot Point. Pilot Point is a town of 3,500, founded in 1854. It has an old-fashioned "square" downtown, complete with small gazebo.

One store-wall mural features "Wild in Texas" lettering over a field of stunning bluebonnet flowers. Other walls show rather more artistic innovation.
One features Lady Liberty, somewhat scantily clad, with a freedom banner serving quite strategically (the effect is mildly saucy rather than salacious, suggesting that freedom has many facets), while in another, the forefinger of God familiar from both the works of Michelangelo and the works of Monty Python's Flying Circus raises an accusing hand at a rather Rubenesque Eve, who is placed conveniently by an apple for easy metaphor identification's sake.

We browsed in a few antique stores. I purchased an action book in a 1901 first edition, as well as two kitschy astrological magazines from 1936, issued by Rose Dawn. Rose Dawn was one of a number of people who availed themselves of lax regulations just south of the Texas border in order to make high-wattage nationwide radio broadcasts from Mexico's XERA station. Ms. Rose's magazine assured us that she had known all along that Mr. Roosevelt would defeat Mr. Landon, but that Mexican anti-psychic-adio-lobbying laws prevented her from revealing her insight. Mr. McCain and Mr. Finegold would be pleased. Ms. Dawn's radio prominence in Del Rio, Texas was not doubt due in part to the success of Dr. Brinkley, whose animal gland treatments won him disfavor in the medical community but a nationwide radio listening audience. The Carter Family, arguably America's best 20th Century entertainment, expanded their audience exponentially on Mexican radio.

The proprietor of the antique store had on hand the second Schoenhut toy piano I have seen in the past few weeks. These are marvellous things! They look like "real" pianos, but they are about 24 inches high. They play like tinkly dreams. But a real musician can use one, and I am no musician. I was also quite taken with cigarette-card sized touring cards showing Belgian cathedrals and vintage 1930s unused postcards of North Carolina and Georgia dams and bridges.
But I let those treasurs go by me.

We went to Raphael's, a Mexican restaurant just south of Cross Roads, for dinner.
We each had grilled chicken breast, served simply with vegetables and salsa.
Then we went to our hotel room, where I fell asleep reading my new 1901 civil war yarn.

We stopped in a bait shop, conveniently labeled "bait shop", where I got bait.
I chose not only worms but also catfish bait, as carp, which eat similarly to catfish, are known to reside in this lake. I purchased a scratcher lottery ticket, and won 4 dollars on a 2 dollar bet.

I woke at midnight, to watch Space Ghost Coast to Coast and the Venture Brothers, which parodied both Jonny Quest and the Fantastic Four. Then I feel asleep until

At daybreak I set out to the lake, which was footsteps away. I sat on a big rock, and balanced my rod on a small stick. Carp stole a bait or two, but ultimately, I did not scare up any fish onto my hook. A man in a kayak pulled near the secluded section in which I fished, waved a silent "hi", and paddled off. I watched as the sky turned a gorgeous purple black, and the air cooled and the rain fell and it was good and it was the second day. I read my book, which is quite well written.

We forewent our Monday morning hike, and headed for home. We stopped at Mimi's cafe for breakfast, where we each had oatmeal with bananas and raisins. Our dog was glad to see us at home. I am eager to read the rest of the book.
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