Back to Texas – Part Four, Bastrop, Weekend in Katy and Back to Bastrop

I hit the road around nine in the morning and found my way my way south through Fort Worth to arrive in Bastrop, Texas about two in the afternoon where I checked into the Super 8 Motel on Highway 71 West.

The air conditioner was broken so after complaining at the front desk, a twenty something Indian girl followed me back to the room to confirm the damage and then she moved me to a new room on the second floor.  The air conditioner was working but the TV didn’t work.  Another trip down to the front desk and she followed me up to my room, but she couldn’t figure out what was wrong either.  The guy that ran the night desk would be available around three thirty and he’d know what to do, so I drove over to speak with Brother Bill’s landlady.  She was in her truck about to pull out of her driveway so we exchanged greetings and agreed to sit down and talk the next morning.

I stopped by the local supermarket, picked up some beer and bottled water and then I grabbed a brisket sandwich to go from the Southside Market BBQ restaurant. 

Hoping that it wouldn’t be as over salted as the brisket I’d bought there on my last trip, I drove back to the motel to determine the progress with the TV.  The night desk dude had come in early and so we went up to my new room, where after screwing around for a couple of minutes, he reached under the TV, ripped a sensor from the cable box and positioned it dangling by a black wire in front of the credenza.  Now the remote worked and I had a working television but the brisket was still way too salty.

Minor league frustrations…at four thirty I dropped by the landlady’s house but she was on her way to deliver her granddaughters to her daughter’s house so our chat was short.  We agreed to meet on Monday after I returned from meeting with my younger brother in Katy.  After a phone call with the younger brother with more minor league frustration and we agreed that I’d spend another night in Bastrop and drive to his house on Friday morning.  MSNBC and HBO for the night and the next day and then two hours to Katy…at least this time I remembered where the gate was located.

Katy, Texas is a mixed community of middle class three bedroom tract homes to upper middle class MacMansions that has some of the best public schools in the state.  It is perhaps best known as the birthplace and hometown of Renee Zellweger – who found fame and riches in 2001 when she starred in Bridget Jones.  Over the years Bridget Jones has become a cash cow Rom-Com franchise. 

My brother Rick lives well below his means in a thirty year old two story brick house located in a gated tract where it’s hard to tell one house from another.  More than once I’ve driven past his driveway and had to call him on his cell to find out which was his house.  Friday morning I called before I followed another car past the gate and I found him standing on the porch to mark his territory.  Rick and I are both boneheads in different ways and when our discussions of politics clash, his poor wife is driven to distraction.  About two days is all she can handle, so my plan was to drive back to Bastrop on Sunday morning.  We mostly steered clear of political discussion and enjoyed an excellent oven roasted salmon fillet, asparagus and a decent white wine for dinner.

I honestly can’t remember what we talked about on Saturday, but we ordered Chinese take-out for dinner and watched the extended cut of the Godfather that night.  I left for Bastrop around nine Sunday morning and made sure to thank Jane, Rick’s wife for putting up with our BS and for the most excellent salmon.  She asked about when I thought we’d sort out the family trust and I answered that I didn’t know. She smiled when I added, “As you know Rick has control issues.”

Back in Bastrop I checked into the Comfort Inn and got a 30% discount for renting a room for a week.  There I set up shop to watch NFL and HBO until I could find a temporary place to live in Bastrop, Texas.

Baron Phillipe de Bastrop.

Except for attributed photos and text, all content is copyrighted © 2016 JKM (an apparently ineffectual boilerplate joke?)

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Comment by koshersalaami on September 28, 2016 at 4:30pm

Bastrop had a Baron?

Comment by JMac1949 Today on September 28, 2016 at 4:52pm

Not really, he was a Dutch con man: Felipe Enrique Neri (born Philip Hendrik Nering Bögel; November 23, 1759 in Paramaribo, Surinam – 23 February 1827) was a Dutch businessman and land owner known for his assistance in Anglo-American settlement of Texas.

Neri was accused of using tax funds for personal gain in 1793, so he left his family and fled to Spanish Louisiana before he could go to court. In Louisiana, Neri introduced himself as a Dutch nobleman, Baron de Bastrop. People believed his false identity, and Neri was soon engaged in many land deals where he made a fortune but later went broke. He received permission from Spain to form a colony in the Ouachita River valley. His contract with Spanish colonial governor Francisco Luis Héctor de Carondelet provided for European settlement of 850,000 acres on the Ouachita.  Although ninety-nine colonists settled in the area, the project was halted when Louisiana realized its government treasury did not have enough funds to see the colonization to fruition.

When Louisiana's sale from France to the United States was finalized, he moved to Texas and received a permit to establish a colony between Bexar and the Trinity River. He moved to San Antonio in 1806, where he posed as a loyal subject who strongly opposed the sale of Louisiana to the USA. In 1810 he was appointed second alcalde, (mayor or chief judicial official), of the Spanish town.

In 1820, Neri met with Moses Austin, whose request to bring Anglo-American settlers into Texas had recently been rejected. He had been acquainted with Moses Austin, having formerly shared the hospitality of a roadhouse in then-Spanish Missouri with Moses 20 years before he came to Texas. Neri used his influence to help Moses Austin, and later Stephen F. Austin obtain grants to bring Anglo-American settlers into Texas, later to be called the Old Three Hundred.

In 1820, Neri was chosen to be commissioner of colonization for Stephen F. Austin’s colony. In 1823, he was elected to the provincial deputation of San Antonio, and later the Legislature of Coahuila y Tejas in 1824. Until his death on February 23, 1827, he served the legislature. He did not leave enough money for his burial, so other legislative members paid for it. In his will, he left land to his wife and children in the Netherlands. Years later, his true identity was revealed.

Comment by nerd cred on September 28, 2016 at 5:19pm

But where's Bill?

Comment by JMac1949 Today on September 28, 2016 at 5:34pm

NC, Bill has lived in Bastrop, for over twenty years.  Thanks for reading and commenting.

Comment by nerd cred on September 28, 2016 at 5:35pm

But it sounds like you didn't see him when you arrived.

Comment by JMac1949 Today on September 28, 2016 at 5:40pm

No, he doesn't really remember me, so I tend to present myself in stages so he can handle my arrival.  We went out for breakfast this morning and I've seen him and given him his medicine every day this week.  It takes a while to regain his trust.  That's why we're taking time finding a place to live and moving him out of his trailer.  He's been there for over fifteen years.  Alzheimer's folk don't do well with sudden changes.

Comment by Dalriadane on September 28, 2016 at 6:18pm

Is the Gin U Wine Oyster Bar still going on in Bastrop?  I haven't been there in years.  Meanwhile, here is one of my favorite movies set in Bastrop.

Comment by JMac1949 Today on September 28, 2016 at 6:31pm

I believe the 2011Bastrop Complex wildfire that burned over 34,000 acres and destroyed 1691 homes was the the largest, most destructive forest fire in Texas history. In 2015 the Hidden Pines fire burned another 4,000 acres.  I suspect that the trees on that location are long gone.  And Texans don't believe in Global Warming. thanks for reading and commenting Ms. D.

Comment by Dalriadane on September 28, 2016 at 7:16pm

I remember the day of the fire.  It was a Sunday and I was at Roadhouse Rags (now gone) -- a vintage store with live music concerts out back on Sundays.  My friend Schroeder pulled up in his pick-up loaded down with his belongings.  He was living in a cabin near Bastrop and barely got out alive after packing up all his belongings.

Comment by Zanelle on September 28, 2016 at 7:28pm

Interesting to hear how it all unfolds.  I still think it is an epic saga of family.  We all have them.  Thanks for writing.

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