Rides and Tales

Observations From Behind Bars

Jak se máš?

with one comment

There are two benefits that I make a point to support: in December, the “Santa’s Helpers” toy run, at Ingleside, TX, and in September, the Wayne Reber Foundation in Wallis, TX.

The Reber foundation supports research into a cure for lymphoma and adult leukemia, and funds a scholarship available to high school students in the town of Wallis.
The good folks in Wallis have honored me for the past three years by asking my trio to provide dinner music for the barbecue. I can’t tell you how I felt when the guitar player who had agreed to accompany us sloughed off Jill and me to take a job with another band the same weekend. This report isn’t about dishonesty though that the stage is set for the weekend.

Our friend, Pete Devlin (Texas Moon band), told us to call after our Friday night gig if we wanted him to fill in. We called at midnight, telling him we’d pick him up at 6:00 a.m.

Pete’s not any more of a fan of 6 o’clock than I am, but it didn’t take any prying to get him in our little truck and on the road. The original plan called for Jill to drive while I rode the big yella bike so our guitar guy wouldn’t have to drive. That would have worked our great since our good bro in Wallis has been champin’ at the bit for me to see his new house and go for a putt with him and his riding partners. That, of course, was shot in the ass.

Wallis is about 3 1/2 hours from our door. Here’s what the road out of town looked like.

I didn’t realize Jill, sitting behind me, was taking the picture. The Lazar beam from the auto focus made me think that I’d already attracted legal attention.

We avoided the Interstate, and the traffic light infected towns thereon, by taking the state highway to the town of Refugio (re-FYOO-ree-oh). The sun was clearing the tree tops by the time we arrive .


Since we had stopped to fuel, we looked around for a place to breakfast and absorb some local color.


In good time, we rolled into the thriving metropolis of Wallis, TX and found the hall. The folks there hadn’t seen us in a year and gave us a warm welcome that made us feel like we are an important part of the effort.

There were a lot of changes, this year. The icehouse where the event was born has closed so the benefit was held in the KC hall. There was no tattoo contest, but there was a “Newlywed Game”, so you can guess where that came from. In a parking lot discussion bemoaning the lack of a poker run, it was pointed out that Wayne Reber had been a motorcyclist and the people who had “made” the event are, too. I suspect there may be changes, again, next year.


Brother Curtis calls this area, “Motorcycle Country”, for good reason.


Of course, the dinner music was different, as well.
The good folks had been asking if the bluegrass band was going to be there, this year, and two of us were. I had considered playing as a duo, just me and Jill, as we’ve done a few times in the past, but I’m glad we took Pete with us as his brand of rocking honky tonk music suited them just fine and it took the heat off of me.


While we were taking a break a wind came up and blew over many trees.

I’ll tell you, the folks in the Wallis area are the very salt of the earth. The population is largely of Czech backround and darned proud of it. In the hall, the restrooms are marked, “muž”, and, “ženy” (also with the English words, for us outta towners), but the flags flying out front aren’t from any foreign lands. The mayor might have had a Mexican flag in his yard, but these Czechs are Americans.

The next time you hear some know-it-all say that “The Cleavers” never existed, you can tell them that they’re alive and well and have changed their name.

Our brother and his missus, along with a handful of their friends, rolled in from a ride in the country. Curtis was on his Gold Wing and had gassed up his Valkyrie for my use. As it was, we finished playing, ate brisket that you could cut with a plastic fork, and told a few unembellished tales before putting it in the wind. That’s right, events dictated that we turn right around and take our sweet behinds back to the third world.


Back in Corpus town, we rested up for our Sunday afternoon gig with Pete as the “Texas Moon” band. This was a birthday party in a local hall. Over the bar in that hall is a bumper sticker, oft seen in these parts, that reads:

Jak se máš?

I’m told that’s Czech for “How are you?”
Sure enough, the hall, Moravian Hall, had been a gathering place for the first Czechs who moved into Nueces County,
many of whom had, first, immigrated to other parts of the US from Moravia.
Photos of heavy-hitter country singers and polka bands who have played there adorn the wall. I’d jammed with a talented accordionist whose surname I couldn’t recall, years back, and darned if his picture wasn’t up there along with Willie Nelson’s and Adolf Hofner’s.

Our drummer was tickled that even the babies danced . That’s a sure sign that a good time was had by all.


Written by fiddle mike

September 1, 2008 at 5:49 am

Posted in culture, music, Texas

One Response

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  1. Having been hit by hodgkins, this was good to see. Thank you for this.


    December 31, 2009 at 1:50 am

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