The anniversary date that kind of wasn’t

This weekend Elise and I celebrated our 7th anniversary a little early. Christine and John were gracious enough to take in the Zombie Eater on Saturday and Sunday so Elise and I could head west for Fredericksburg for a weekend getaway, a trip similar to the one we took six years ago.

We dropped Maly off around noon on Saturday and headed out. We got to Johnson City at 1 p.m. and were starving. We stopped at Ronnie’s Pit BBQ. The lunch crowd was long gone and we shared the whole restaurant with only one other table. We stuffed our faces with brisket, cole slaw and beans.

We got back on 290 and kept trekking toward Fredericksburg. We made a short stop at the LBJ State Park and took a tour of the Sauer-Beckmann living history farm where we picked up quite a few life-changing bits of information. For example, chicken egg shells are baked at roughly 300-degrees fahrenheit to eliminate odor and to make the shells harder. The shells are then crushed and fed to the chickens as a calcium supplement. Eliminating smell and changing the consistency of the egg shells prevents the chickens from pecking their own eggs once they they lay them. The calcium supplementation from the shells causes the chickens to produce harder egg shells. The goal was that over time, the chickens would produce nothing but solid, egg-shaped rocks. These rocks would be very difficult for farmers to eat, and thus lead to cracked teeth and gum disease. And that’s the story of how modern dentistry was invented.

We arrived in Fredericksburg at 3 p.m., found a parking spot off Main Street and walked the shops and restaurants for a while. We eventually made our way to the ice cream parlor, where we were to pick up our key to Crenwelge’s Creekside Cottage Bed & Breakfast. While there, Elise got a cup of Tin Roof ice cream. I had the berry cobbler shake. The greatest thing about my shake was that it had REAL pie crust. By REAL pie crust, Blue Bell Creameries means miniature, tasteless soda crackers that wedge themselves into the straw and prevent you from extracting the berry cobbler shake goodness into your mouth.

Crenwelge's Creekside Cottage

After getting the key to our B&B, we walked back to the car and found our way to our domicile for the night. We unpacked our bags and Elise decided that she wanted to take a tour of a local winery. She consulted the local visitor’s guide before we were out again and off to Grape Creek Vineyards. Unfortunately they don’t offer tours of their winery, instead they have a tasting room where Elise sampled five of the wines produced on site. Still thirsty for knowledge of the wine making process, Elise asked the resident wine monger about how wine is made. In less than 30 seconds, he gave the both of us a synopsis: “The grapes get squashed. The juices are fermented, aged in casks and then bottled. That’s pretty much it.”

“Great! We will take a bottle of your finest for our friends back home who are watching our child and allowing us this opportunity. We will relay unto them the process in which you use to create your fine nectar.”

And like that, we were off again. Elise said she’d attained ample knowledge of wine making and would like to walk Main Street before dinner. We went back to our B&B, changed clothes and headed back out around 6 p.m. We walked before the storefronts only to find that they’d all closed for the night. Our only option at that point was to decide on where we wanted to have dinner. We walked to the easternmost edge of Main Street and finally settled on The Ausländer. Elise had the Bratwurst. I had the bourbon glazed sirloin. We both had a couple beers and, again, ate way too much while listening to The Modern Day Drifters perform an acoustic set.

The Auslander

After dinner we took a meandering walk back to the B&B to get the car. We got in the car and headed over to the local convenience store to pick up a bottle of wine so we could have a couple drinks in the hot tub before going to bed. We went inside, made our purchase, and went back to the car only to have it not start. A gentleman was getting into his car in the spot next to us, so I stopped him and asked him if he wouldn’t mind giving us a jump start. No dice. Another man was walking into the convenience store and noticed our dilemma. I asked if he knew about cars. He said, “a little”. I took that as sarcasm and assumed he was a mechanic. He tried to start the car. There was enough power to turn on the dome light and stereo, but the car wouldn’t turned over. His expert opinion: “a sensor”.

I went back into the convenience store and called a couple towing companies. Of course, it was 10 p.m. at this point and I knew I wasn’t going to have any luck getting our car towed and worked on on a Saturday night. One local mechanic told me he could come out first thing the next morning and tow it for me. I agreed, took his cell number and planned to call him at 9 a.m. the following morning.

There was no other option other than to just leave the car at the convenience store overnight. We asked the clerks if that would be okay, and they said they’d keep an eye on things for us.

We walked the five blocks back to the B&B, changed into our swimsuits and got into the hot tub. The wine ran aplenty as did the conversation. Unfortunately, probably due to the recent car experience, the conversation turned into more of an altercation and, long-story-short, we both went to bed mad…

Which meant we both woke up mad. We got up early, politely avoided each other and got ready before heading out to check on the car at the convenience store. I was hoping that after a night’s rest, the car would magically start. It didn’t. So we walked all the way back to the B&B. I called Aaron, the mechanic that I’d spoken to on the phone the night before. He agreed to come out and tow the car. In the meantime, I’d made arrangements with John to have him drive out to Fredericksburg to come pick us up as Aaron was probably going to need to order parts, which meant the car wouldn’t be ready until Tuesday or later.

Elise called the owners of the B&B and explained our predicament. They were nice enough to allow us to keep our base until we got a ride back to Austin.

We walked back to the convenience store to meet Aaron. I gave him my contact information and watched as he towed the car away.

Getting towed

Then we walked back to the B&B again. Elise took a shower and I paced around. Ten minute later, Aaron called me.

“Josh, guess what?”

“Don’t tell me you already got it fixed.”

“Yessir. Just needed a new battery. If I come pick you up, will you drive me back to my shop?”

We called to put a hold on the efforts in Austin to come pick us up. A few minutes later, Aaron pulled up to the B&B in our car and we were on the road to take Aaron back to his shop.

“You know, when you called last night, my kids and I were playing tennis on the Nintendo Wii. You ever played that Wii thing?”

“Yeah, I’ve heard of it. Say, you want to play a quick set? If I beat you, you don’t charge me for the new battery?”

“Ha ha! No, sir. I haven’t had that much practice.”

“Aaron, you ever heard the story about how modern dentistry was invented?”


So I drove back to the B&B where Elise was packing up our stuff. Soon the owners drove up to clean up for the next renters. We wound up talking to them for half an hour or so. Then it was time to end our eventful mini-vacation. We hit the road but not before stopping at a nursery for a plate thing (that’s the technical term for something Elise decided we needed for the house) and a wooden Santa Clause for our mantle for Christmas time. We stopped in Johnson City again for lunch at Silver K Cafe.

We got home around 3 p.m. on Sunday. Even though it wasn’t really the 24-hour getaway we’d hoped for, I couldn’t have had a better time — just my wife and me.

One Reply to “The anniversary date that kind of wasn’t”

  1. Aaron was so smart not to take up your challenge to play tennis on the Wii. He would have lost his shirt, unless of course, he knows the secret of a hitting a good kill serve or return.

    Glad you could get away, even though it could have been better. Those little things that go wrong are actually the things that make vacations memorable – especially if they have good outcomes and you have handled them well.

    Happy anniversary, a little early.

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