Monday, November 10, 2008

Cowboy Up!

I really need to start posting on some sort of regular basis. It has been a month since I last laid down any thoughts for you to pick through. Of course, in a place like Naruna, excitement doesn't come along just every day.

There are the little minor adventures, such as Larry's blue heeler who got caught in a hog snare, and to add insult to the injury got sprayed by a passing skunk. This would not normally have affected the general population of Naruna, except the dog insists on following Larry to church. With the week long Revival Meeting kicking off this past Sunday, every one quickly got their fill of this gimpy, smelly dog. The sad part was that the dog only wanted to be everybody's friend and kept trying to quietly slip up next to the ladies sipping on glasses of cold ice tea and wearing their Sunday-go-to-meeting finery. The poor dog couldn't understand why none of those good church folk wanted to associate with him, a poor sinner. Positively un-Christian!

I guess the big Naruna news is the Revival meeting, or Revival Crusade as it is being advertised. Last year the little Baptist church in Naruna had a four day revival, and everybody had such a great time, it was decided to extend it to a full week this time around. All the ladies of the church keep cooking and feeding sinners and saints alike. There is a gospel singing group, complete with a young lady playing the fiddle, and a high-powered Evangelist imported all the way from Dallas. They keep filling the little 130 year old church, and people are making decisions and being saved! Makes all the getting ready feel worthwhile. I'll try to put up more info as the week progresses.

Saturday night, the LB and I headed for the south end of Burnet county and a fund-raising event for a local organization, the Hill Country Children's Advocacy Center (or HCCAC). This is a group which serves seven counties in the Texas Hill Country as a centralized agency performing forensic exams of abused children. One of the biggest traumas for abused children is having to repeat their story over and over as they pass through the system. HCCAC works to minimize that trauma. Just at a time when economic downturns are causing a surge in child abuse, the center lost a significant grant this year. The Cowboy Up for Kids event is one way the community is trying to make up that deficit.

We headed out into the countryside, turned down a dusty road, and arrived at a huge tent amongst the mesquite and scrub oak just as the sun was setting over the hills. A group of musicians, replete with well-worn boots, hats and more than one handlebar moustache, were onstage tuning and warming up. Tables filled with items for a silent auction lined the sides of the tent, and a number of big ticket items were arrayed around the dance floor in readiness for the live auction. A bar, with the obligatory longnecks and margarita machine plus bottles of wine for the more refined in the crowd, was fitted into one corner. An oldtime chuckwagon was parked at the back of the tent, and several wood fires were being tended outside. Closer scrutiny showed numerous large dutch ovens either nestled in the coals or suspended over the flames.

Quickly I secured cold beverages for us, and we began to circulate through the crowd, stopping to exchange greetings with acquaintances, while checking out the auction items. The LB located several interesting things and jotted down her opening bids. I was starting to relax and think I might get out without spending too much money, when she discovered that one of the live auction items was for a miniature donkey party for a dozen of the children at the center. Her only question was, "Can I come to the party, too?" I knew I was doomed. She would not rest (nor let me rest!) until I had secured this prize.

Dinner was the next agenda item, with steaks grilled over the open fire, with sides of potatoes and green beans ladled out of steaming pots. Home made rolls baked in the coals in heavy dutch ovens rounded out the meal (and my belly). Just when we couldn't eat another bite, the cooks brought in dutch ovens full of home made peach cobbler. Wonderfully miserable!

As the live auction got underway, and the first few items sold for less than their stated value, I became hopeful...maybe it wouldn't really cost that much. At last, "our" lot went on the block, and a determined looking fellow from Hamilton, Texas quickly tossed out the first bid. As I looked him over, I couldn't help but wonder if he too had a wife who was a donkey junkie? I waved my program in the air, upping the stakes, wondering how determined he would prove to be. Back and forth we went, trading the lead, until finally...he caved! Ha...ha...ha. I had bested him, and all it cost God, what did it cost!?! I kept repeating my mantra of, "It's for the kids, it's for the kids," as I tried to catch my breath and write out the check.