We get up early but wait for dawn to prepare breakfast. Often its cooked outside. We arrived at the park in Blanco County a couple days ago. Blanco county is in an area of Texas known as the hill country. An area of semi-arid undulating ranch land 50 to 100 miles west of Austin. It’s been quiet here but today is Saturday morning. The campground has filled up for the weekend.
Last night a young couple had come in next to us. They set up their tent and camp like they’d done it before. I don’t know how late they stayed up but there no activity at their camp. I try to keep things quiet so as not to disturb others who like to sleep in. After all its Saturday morning. Some people sleep in. I’m packing up the camp stove. Never a silent job.
Lorraine comes out of the trailer. “What’s that noise?”
“What noise?” I listen. Sounds a bit like a dog baying in the distance. But rhythmic. And it’s getting louder.
“I think there’s some activity in that tent.” she smiles.
The young couple are making love. Oblivious and uncaring that anyone around can hear them. The words of an old pop song I hadn’t thought of in years come to mind.
“Making love in the green grass behind the stadium
With you my brown eyed girl.”
There was a time when … whether for love or lust or a potion that mixed the two … that could have been me.
The last moan dies into silence. We go about cleaning up and packing up for we are heading out today for Luckenbach.
A few minutes later I hear a staccato tick from across the way. Next time I look around the truck the hood is up on the car of another young couple tent camping across from us. The guy gets back in the driver seat. Staccato tick again. No question what this sound is. The starter’s not getting enough juice to turn the engine over.
“You want a jump?” I say walking across the road.
“I don’t know. Do you have a voltage meter? It might be the battery.”
“I do. Just a minute. I’ll get it.”
Returning with the meter he says, “It doesn’t make sense. Shelly used it this morning to drive over to the bathroom. It worked fine just 30 minutes ago.”
He puts the meter on the battery. 12.1 volts. It drops to 12 volts while we’re looking at it.
“That’s kind a low.” he says. “It should be more than 12 volts. You have jumper cables?”
“I do. Let me pull the truck over closer.”
We hook up the cables. He gets in and it starts right up.
While unhooking the cables he thanks me for the help. “I’m not shutting it off until we get home. Then I think it’s time for a new battery.”
I go back to hooking up our trailer and they wave as they pull out of the camp site and head home. It could have been worse for them. The nearest town is 14 miles away.
We finish hooking up. I glance over at the lover’s tent. There’s no one to be seen. I imagine them asleep in each other’s arms. We pull out of the camp site and head for town.
“I think I’ll get a cup of coffee when we get to town.”
“At the donut shop?”
These small Texas towns don’t attract much in the way of franchise stores. Home Town Donuts is a small cinder block building in the middle of a dirt lot at the corner of the county road and state highway. The dirt lot is helpful because any size vehicle can pull in and then get out on the intersecting road without blocking the drive through window.
I pull in from the county road. There are 3 cars sitting side by side just off the road. Doors open. A couple guys leaning against the truck of one car chatting and laughing. A girl at the open door of another car talking to someone inside.
I pull open the front door of Home Town Donuts. The hinges squeak in futile protest against the lack of maintenance. The room is big enough for a couple tables, the donut display case and a small kitchen with a drive through window.
“Good morning sir.” says the women behind the display.
I walk past 4 teenage boys at one of the tables. Two have their heads down on the table apparently asleep. One is staring at his cell phone. The other is just staring.
“Can I have a coffee?” I say setting my travel mug on the counter.
“How full you want it? … Say you were in here yesterday weren’t you?”
“Just like yesterday then?”
“Yes ma’am. That was perfect.”
I settle up and turn around. None of the boys have said a thing. They seem not to notice me.
“You have a blessed day.” the woman behind the counter calls out as I reach for the doorknob.
The hinges squeak once more and again their call is unheeded.
Out in the dirt lot the guys and gals appear to be getting ready to leave. I’m struck by the contrast with the boys inside. And the donut shop that gives them a place to sleep off last night’s indiscretions. I wonder what path brought each to this dirt lot with a donut shop in a little Texas town on a Saturday morning. A pickup truck rolls up to the drive through window kicking up a little dust.
I put it in gear and head out of the dirt lot on to the state highway toward Luckenbach.