Sunday, March 28, 2010

Dispatches from Hill Country

What do you get when you mix nine New York Jews with Texas Hill Country? Well, I am about to find out.

I just arrived in Kerrville, Texas yesterday afternoon, a small town around two hours west of Austin. So far? I have to say I'm impressed. To be honest before I arrived I had no idea what I was in for. As a "Yankee," when you hear Texas you think super-sized, T-bones and Republicans. But let me tell you something. Texas is big. Very big. And Hill Country? From what I can tell is not your stereotypical Texas.

Dakota, my aunt's horse.

Around two years ago my aunt and her husband, both born and raised in Brooklyn, moved from Rockaway, Queens to Tierra Linda Ranch in Kerrville. I was one among many skeptics that they could make Texas their new home. But when I got off the plane and my uncle (a connoisseur of pastrami, seltzer and bagels) couldn't stop raving about the horses, antelope and sheep, I knew that this was not a place I could so easily write off.

If the gorgeous scenery of rolling, rocky hills and multitude of animals aren't enough to rope you in (a little cowboy humor for you), maybe the absolutely selfless attitude of people will. Everyone I have come into contact with has been nothing but willing to help, no questions asked and no favors in return needed. Take this for example. I spent last night in the guest house of my aunt's neighbor. (There are nine of us here for Passover. As close as we are, nine Jews under one roof is recipe for disaster.) The neighbors were more than willing to help. Several just offered up their own guest houses to strangers. Just like that.

My guest house, belonging to the lovely Ron and Cheryl, is decked out in a wild safari theme. I'm talking leopard sheets, zebra statues and wild peacock feathers in the bathroom. Ron and Cheryl stocked the mini fridge with sodas and beer and are installing a brand new TV for me this afternoon. Talk about hospitality.

I'm excited to see what other adventures the Ranch has in store for me. Stay tuned...

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