“A thing offered to God”

How do morning oblations, the Kerrville Farmer’s market and lamb have to do with “a thing sacrificed to God”?

Oh, dear reader…so much. So much.

Many us, myself included, have morning routines that we call “morning routines.” I call them — inside my head, to myself, not aloud — “morning oblations. Washing myself and getting ready for the day. (I know what you’re thinking; stay with me.)

These “morning oblations” would include, first, making a necessary weight adjustment after a few glasses of water throughout the evening — need I give details? — then hopping on the scale, not to see the effect of the adjustment but rather how my 16:8 intermittent fasting experiment is going (it’s going well), brushing my teeth and then splashing my face with cold water three times and rubbing the back of my neck once with cold water. This wakes me up. Shower, shave, and I’m good to go.

The shower and shave sometimes come later, after yoga, were I to publicly admit that in fact I do yoga.


Later yesterday afternoon I’m at the Kerrville Farmer’s Market at Clay and Water Streets. It’s been offline since COVID shut everything down. (We now have “Before COVID” and “After COVID.” I don’t care what people say, the majority of the country is “over” COVID. We just are.)

The afternoon was sunny and blue-sky cheerful. You could see smiles. (Yesterday morning, I saw the smiles of the ladies at Broadway Bank for the first time in 10 months.)

From local pickles to bread to Boerne-made hummus, food of all kinds was on sale. A yoga teacher reminded us of classes, one for 75 minutes and another for 90.

A band played. Toddlers were strolled and kids played nearby.

About halfway around the semi-circle of vendors was a table offering local meats, including goat.

“Do you have goat cheese?” I asked.

“We don’t.” She described some aspect of the goat farming that made them unsuitable for producing cheese in the wild. Which is all fine and good, because I tend to prefer the plastic-wrapped kind that the goats fart out onto the grocery store shelves.

They also had lamb. I asked about ways to cook it.

“Some people flash fry the meat. My husband likes his well done, though.”

I told her that I’ve been asked at restaurants how I’d like my lamb cooked. I tell her that I stumble, not knowing whether it’s more like beef or more like pork. Somehow, the off-white of lambswool makes me think the whole animal is undercooked. And, let’s get real, have you ever seen lamb sushi?

I rest my case.


Dad made the countertops

Lamb also reminded me of Dad. He’d buy these lamb patties, separated from one another by thin pieces of wax paper. He’d buy like twenty at a time and freeze them in two stacks. When he wanted a patty, he’d take out a stack, separate one off with a butter knife, and then throw it in an aluminum skillet in which he had a thin layer of oil heating. The patty clinked onto the pan and then started to steam as it simultaneously thawed and cooked.

He once gave me The Bachelor’s Cookbook. This was supposed to instill in me both a knowledge of and appreciation for food and cooking.

It did neither.

In fact, I don’t know if I even cracked it open. (This is not my copy to the right. The cover shows a Monopoly-like character who no doubt had servants even during his bachelor years. He probably even had carnivore relations with the cook.)

Later in adulthood, I too would toss those lamb patties into a pan and heat them up to a bit beyond lambswool rareness and enjoy them. I’ve never understood how mint sauce goes with them; perhaps I’ll research that.

But don’t hold your breath.

One of my clearest memories was Dad cooking in that kitchen at 50 East 96th Street on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. He himself had made the countertops, one with a hinged extension that you’d let hang when entering the kitchen to make room, but for extra eating space you’d flip up and lock. Usually for my brother and me. On the other counter, he’d made a two-foot half-inch raised cutting board, with Spanish tiles set around and below it. This was in a rented apartment they had for forty one years.

Today I’d kill for that countertop.

Dad had wanted to be an architect but had to quit college when his father died (his mother had died when he was 9) and help his stepmother raise his three younger half-siblings, with whom he was very close. Instead of building beautiful things, he went into advertising sales and helped raise three beautiful siblings.

This was in the early 1940s and people did that kind of thing.


Philips Sonicare

At night I use a Philips Sonicare rechargeable toothbrush. I love it.

(I know, I know. You wonder if I’ve lost my way in this post.)

It takes exactly two minutes, because it’s timed to beep four times at thirty-second intervals. You press its button and then gently and thoroughly brush over the four zones: top and bottom, outer and inner. Two minutes. And it does the work for you. I get top grades at the dentist.

Seriously. He’s like, “You get an ‘A.'”

In the morning though, I use my analog toothbrush. Takes about 20 seconds in total, and because I put elbow grease into that act and jerk my head from one side to the other and grimace and flex my biceps, I think I’ve done the same quality job as the Sonicare.

After all, I keep an eye on myself in the mirror as I brush at night and in the morning, and the outcomes should be the same.


Apparently, the 1840s had effective dentists

“Oblation” has largely disappeared from use. As you can see above, it had a slight uptick at the end of 2019, when the Democratic Congress was preparing for the first impeachment of President Trump, and Nancy Pelosi had to brush her teeth a lot more. Whether smiling for the cameras or flashing fangs, she’d need to have them at their whitest.

But wait…

That’s not at all what oblation means, and it’s not why oblation was used a lot more in the 19th century than since 1900.

Oblation doesn’t mean brushing my teeth in the morning.

Oblation doesn’t mean using Sonicare at night.

Oblations don’t lead us to govern better. Especially when those oblations are in fact ablutions. Then, they are really impotent.

The Latin offerre (to offer) became in late Latin oblatio, which of course in middle English became oblation.

And so there we have our root meaning and the reason that brushing my teeth is not really an “oblation.” An oblation literally means “a thing presented to God or a god.” In a church setting, it means the presentation of the bread and wine.

Brushing my teeth is an ablution. Part of my “morning routine.”

But not an oblation. (I literally have been saying “oblation” to myself each morning, when instead I should be saying ablution.)

For the oblation, I’d have to buy a live lamb at the Kerrville Farmer’s Market, slaughter it and place it on the altar.

But wait…

That’s not right, either.

That was done already for me at night.

In the morning, I simply wake. Ablutions needed, but no oblation.

“I and the Village,” by Marc Chagall

The Best Steak Street Tacos

This meal of my touted “best steak street tacos” almost didn’t come together. It was 8:11pm two nights ago, and I had promised dinner at 8:00. If I were to deliver on the garlic parmesan roasted asparagus as well, it might push me another 15 or 20 minutes.

I don’t really sweat my day job in nonprofit fundraising.

It’s mealtime delivery that gives me indigestion.

My 17-year-old son Teak and I had gone to the H-E-B grocery store on Main Street, and not only had I decided late in the game to cook steak street tacos, but I also took longer than expected to find everything on my list.

Plus, I was having fun showing my 17-year-old son how to pick produce. Honestly, I didn’t know how much I knew about doing it. It’s like that when you have to talk impromptu about a subject. Of course, the opposite is true. That’s why I rarely go to home improvement stores with Karen.

In any event, during our shopping excursion, I also spotted this foodstuff [pictured at right]. “Impossible” is right. Frankly, they could have used a different color green or a different color altogether to distract the eye from the dog-puke meat color.

The real deal

Before we get to the fajita meat for the tacos — because I didn’t created the recipes for the meat rub or the chimichurri or the asparagus, but I did for a new kind of pico de gallo, one that kicks you in the butt when you’re focused on eating one of your steak street tacos — let’s talk produce.

My pico includes habanero peppers rather than jalapeños.

If you didn’t see this YouTube video I posted the other day, it’s worth a look, even a brief one. Because habaneros are nothing compared to what these Brits put in their mouths with a little sadistic encouragement from the audience.

Like I said, habaneros are maybe second or third, at most, on their docket of digestive death.

But I thought: why make a bland pico with jalapeños when I can go the habanero route instead? It’s a rung higher on the jungle gym. A foot farther out on the tree limb. A step closer looking over that cliff’s edge.

And I’ll level up next time. (Or, instead of pico, that might have to be a salsa, the way I created HERE.)

My pico included (I kind of created this loosely, not by a recipe that I tracked, so I can’t give you exact amounts):

  • roma tomatoes (3)
  • habanero (3)
  • red onion
  • cilantro
  • cumin
  • garlic (or garlic powder; though I supposed I should have minced some while I minced a lot for the steak, chimichurri and asparagus. I must have minced about seven cloves. I almost always have garlic wasting away in my cup on the counter. I don’t now.)
  • lemon juice (I didn’t remember to get a lime at the store)
  • salt and ground pepper

So, as you can see, while there was an 3-on-3 showdown between the larger tomatoes and smaller, shrunken habanero, who do you think won with a first-round knockout?

Yeah.

You guessed it.

Habanero was doing that thing of standing on the corner of the ring, looking out at the crowd with its little green stem arms raised and crying out: “¡En vuestros caras!”

The “best steak street tacos ever”?

As a family crowd pleaser, these did their job. There were lots of “yums” going around the table.

Teak has always been a foodie, ever since he had a bite of my fish taco when the family went to St. Croix on vacation. He was maybe on the shy side of 8. He took a bite, chewed and swallowed and, with a faraway look said, “Am I in heaven?”

Eight years old.

I think I’d improve the meal, though, on the meat side. It was pan-seared, and I want to sous vide it and then blacken it on a grill (which we don’t have).

I’ve got the the go-ahead on the grill purchase, so next taco installment should find Teak in seventh heaven.

#1 Best Breakfast in Kerrville TX?

REVIEW

The best breakfast in Kerrville TX just might be Rita’s Famous Tacos on Earl Garrett Street.

Might be, that is, if long lines, low prices, and hit-the-spot Mexican on-the-go food are any indication.


“The Best Authentic Mexican Food in Kerrville”

As the sign says, they’re not joking.

best breakfast in Kerrville TX

You enter off Earl Garrett and stand — of course, now, during COVID — on a number. You might be #2 or #10, the way business has picked up at Rita’s. You’re going to be in and out in 7 minutes or less. But during the breakfast and lunch rushes, people who want the best breakfast in Kerrville or a quick lunch come here.

You get to the counter and first let them know whether the order is “for here” or “to go.”

For some reason, I like saying “for here” more than “to stay.” Maybe it’s because “staying” is less fun than “being here.”


The order

You order your breakfast taco on either a flour or corn tortilla which, I learned, are both made there.

You can also order nopalitos (cactus), which I highly recommend.

Pro Tip: nopalitos are great, but as they are water-based, they can be very messy when eating and also may make the corn tortillas mushy. They hold up better in the flour tortillas.

Let me also add here that Rita’s doesn’t sell salsa (or chips), but if you want to try my favorite salsa — a Texas-made all-natural salsa made without water, as almost every other one is — try Bernards by CLICKING HERE and use coupon code “AmericaDowntown10.”

Here are a few of my favorite tacos, from among the many, all ranging $3 to $3.50 (some have $0.25-0.50 surcharges because of the increased cost of meat during the pandemic).

  • The Rita: beans, eggs, potatoes, bacon, cheese
  • The Kyle: beans, fajita, egg, potato, cheese
  • The Dale: fajita, egg, cheese.
  • and, my favorite, Hill Boy: bacon, sausage, egg, onion, cilantro, jalapeño (with nopalitos!)

As for salsa, you can ask for salsa roja (red) or verde (green). I’m partial to the green.

Again, my favorite salsa anywhere is Bernards Gourmet foods tomatillo (salsa verde), available at H-E-B in about a third of their stores (including Fredericksburg and Boerne) and at their website here (FREE shipping until Labor Day; use coupon code AmericaDowntown10).


Where to sit…

best breakfast in Kerrville TX

You can sit inside, which is cheery and not too noisy, even with the TV over the arched entryway to the dining room. Your order will be brought to your table.

Outside, there used to be two tall-boy tables with two stools each on either side of the entrance.

During the pandemic, those have vanished, replaced by a metal bench that doesn’t afford much in the way to eat your very ample taco. You could sit down at PAX’s outside tables, but that’s a bit sleazy unless you order at least a coffee inside.


Breakfast alternatives to the “best breakfast in Kerrville TX”

My opinion about Rita’s is just that. Just one diner’s opinion.

While I prefer Rita’s first thing in the morning, here are some excellent options for the more casual breakfast:

  • Mary’s Tacos on Broadway
  • Alex’s Tacos on Memorial (toward Loop 534)
  • Stripes on Loop 534 and Memorial…true! Amazing fried bean burritos and excellent coffee. Burrito and a medium coffee for $2.42.
  • Del Norte on Main Street/Junction Highway
  • Hill Country Cafe on Main Street
  • Save Inn Restaurant on Sidney Baker toward I-10 (my favorite for a simple no-frills diner-type meal)
  • Monroe’s East End Grill on Water and G Streets
  • Rita’s Famous Tacos 2 in Ingram
best breakfast in kerrville tx

If you’re staying a while…:

Check out our recommendations on “The 3 Coolest Places to Stay in Kerrville.”

Don’t miss driving Scenic Harper Road.

And if you want a fantastic burger and all-natural old-timey, head to Liberty Burger in Ingram.

For pizza, Kerrville can’t compete with Comfort Pizza.

Enjoy Downtown Kerrville!

what to do in kerrville tx

HEB Kerrville | Is “gleaning” in the works?

HEB Kerrville

When someone says something like, “I know I’m stepping on the third rail here, but…” they’re admitting to touching a topic that one shouldn’t touch and expect to survive.

I’m from New York City, now living in the Texas Hill Country, and I’m going to risk a few hairs getting frazzled by my talking about HEB in Kerrville, which requires a lighter step than does crossing the tracks between the uptown #2 and downtown #3 trains at 72nd Street and Broadway.

 
HEB Kerrville
1:Cover 2:Power rail 3:Insulator 4:sleeper 5:Rail (SOURCE: Wikipedia)

The two HEB stores in Kerrville, Texas, are arguably bigger deals than other local attractions claimed online: The Cross at Kerrville (#1 spot according to Trip Advisor), while visually impressive, doesn’t get as many visitors even on Easter as does HEB before Thanksgiving; James Avery is not so central as HEB is; and at least this year, we’ll have to see if the Folk Music Festival, rescheduled for October, will get the same attention as Texas’s beloved grocery chain.

I know that these contrasts are not exactly apples-to-apples — HEB is a necessity in our daily lives, unlike the others — but all are part of the Kerrville or Hill Country DNA. I’m aware also that HEB should be typed as “H-E-B,” but frankly I’m too lazy to do that each time.

I’ll add this: because of his creation of this amazing company, the founder (“H___”) is one of the few H’s whose first name I’m proud to share.

My intention here is to express both my appreciation and suggested tweaks for this growing and much-loved company, a reputation that is wholly deserved.

HEB Kerrville and its biscuit aisle

Let me say at the outset that when I moved to my wife’s hometown of Kerrville, I started a blog whose title was inspired by HEB. It was borne of my first visit here, in 1996.

“Biscuit Aisle” was a tip of the hat to the copious display of not only that product but also many others (brisket, tortilla chips, cheese, cokes, salsa, etc.) that had shelves and frontage for days, all devoted to multiple brands and varying dosages.

Velveeta is sold like lumber.

Currently, the Main Street store’s biscuit aisle now has yogurts of all sorts, including 4% Fage, which you can’t get at the other HEB (a.k.a. the “Little HEB” and former home of Albertson’s).

Bottom line: I love HEB as much as the next guy.

HEB high points

YAKULT, for example

Along the biscuit aisle and to the right of Fage is a product called Yakult.

It’s a Japanese drinkable probiotic yogurt enjoyed elsewhere in Asia and in Australia, and now in the U.K. and U.S. (as of 1999). A Filipino friend of mine said she drank them all the time as a kid. You who are local to Kerrville probably know we have a strong Filipino community here and also a large Filipino community in San Antonio.

It’s not surprising that HEB would offer such a product, because by all accounts it is a customer-focused company.

Yakult is merely an example.

In my experience with the company, if you want a product to be offered, you can talk to the store manager, as I did once. She promised to talk to the head of grocery (it was a food item), who checked with the warehouse regarding supply chain, and a man called me within three or so days to ask more questions and hear my request.

Kudos!

For a company this size, I don’t think I could ask much more from HEB. Of course, that’s exactly what I’m going to do in this Opinion piece. Hopefully in love and respect.

CHECK-OUT

Speaking for myself, I’m a big fan of the check-out experience.

Not only do I not have to wait long in line ever, but the cashiers are super quick, asking you how you’re doing each time, and the folks bagging the items are quick, efficient, and courteous. (Though I rue the day when one asks me if he can help me get my groceries to the car.) I realize these staff habits are probably the result of good training, but the effect on the customer comes across authentically.

And “attaboy!” to the training department.

I also like how HEB made a change in its card machine: apparently people were leaving their cards in the machines after check-out, so the process was changed so that we remove our cards before we approve the total.

Cheesy stock photo. No, not exactly what it’s like at HEB, but both sides leave happy. (SOURCE: Finance Buzz)
Perhaps I’m like George H.W. Bush, who marveled over a food scanner that had been operational for years. But I don’t think so: I do at least half if not more of the food shopping, so I saw this change in almost real-time. It was excellent.

FREE TASTINGS and LIVE COOKING KIOSK

Though COVID has changed a lot, hopefully temporarily, who doesn’t love the free food here and there?!

I’ve had new kinds of chili at the little HEB on Sidney Baker South and spicy California roll sushi at the big HEB on Main Street.

After tasting the outcome of a cooking demo at the big HEB that featured a jar of Cookwell & Company Two-Step Spicy Chili Mix — yes, I know using a sauce like this is kind of cheating — I bought a jar, made chili — and it was a big hit with the kids.

HEB Kerrville
Cookwell & Company chili mix, demo’ed to me and others at HEB

As long as the chili is good, the diners don’t care what state appears on the chef’s birth certificate.

CORPORATE CITIZEN

The sensitive response HEB showed during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, its nationally-newsworthy Ninja Supply Chain skills, and its rapid response to other disasters, make it a company worth praising. It also ranked as a top company to work for.

The list, as you all well know, could go on.

Here are some of the items on my “wish list” for HEB going forward.

My HEB wish list

There are certain products that are either temporarily unavailable, infrequently available, or they are items I hope will always be available.

  • SafeCatch Tuna | I first got this canned tuna fish at the little HEB in the Fall of 2019 when I was trying to eat a lot of protein.
    • It’s low in mercury if it has any at all, and its ocean-to-canning process seems humane. It costs a little more, yes. But health and taking one tiny step toward sustainability make it worth it.
    • SafeCatch to my knowledge hasn’t been offered at the big HEB, and it’s made sporadic appearances at the little one. My wife brought it home last night, putting a big smile on my face.

HEB Kerrville

  • Bernards Gourmet Salsa | My favorite salsa. It is not offered at the small HEB, and it was regularly offered at the big HEB, until it wasn’t. Again, it’s a bit more expensive, but when the alternative salsas are made with water or tomato paste (which itself is part water), neither of which Bernards is, why not buy one carton less of Coke and spend money on amazing salsa instead? (That’s a call to action for my fellow shoppers.)
    • I know as with any item anywhere — grocery store or otherwise — if a product doesn’t sell, the manager can’t take up shelf space for it.
    • That said, I know that people would buy more if they only had the opportunity to try it. (This is addressed below.)
  • Dave’s Killer Bread | Aside from being about the best store-bought bread anywhere, if you’ve not read the history behind Dave’s Killer Bread, you owe it to yourself to Google it. It’s a story of redemption, human triumph and entrepreneurship, and we customers would do well to buy it and keep it on the shelves.

So here are two suggestions to remedy the above situations. (I say “remedy,” realizing I might well be the only one disturbed.)

I’m a writer and wannabe photographer, not a retailer or merchandiser, so these suggestions could be worth less than the paper this article is printed on. But since I’m a devotee of HEB and also spend the exorbitant amount of $11.99 on this domain each year, giving me a very small platform to spout off on, and since I shop a ton at the store, I’ll give it a shot.

  • An “R&D” area | Foods like SafeCatch currently sit alongside competitors like Chicken of the Sea. The latter retails at about 10 cans for a dollar, or something like that. Many of us view SafeCatch and similar higher-priced items as luxurious alongside their shelfmates. So we pass them by.
    • SOLUTION: could HEB take a small area of the store toward the back corner, stock it with low-selling but high-profit products and brand the area like an “R&D Zone” for shoppers? A place for customers who consider themselves early-adopters to try something new that might be higher priced but which they’re willing to take a chance on. Maybe there’s even a coupon up front as they enter.
  • “Gleaning” | HEB is said to operate on “Christian principles,” as its founder set in motion. Many of us value the store for that very reason.
    • SOLUTION: Gleaning has been part of a local area’s social welfare for millenia and is woven into the Judeo-Christian fabric. Could HEB provide a portion of a side or back wall that could contain small amounts of products that people could sample or take with them. These would be items that HEB might not want to take up prime shelf space for, but perhaps there’d be an accompanying coupon that satisfied customers could return and register their “vote” to have the items restocked. They’d be prepared in safe conditions within the Deli department.

These could be and probably are poor solutions, both practically in terms of execution and realistically in terms of market behavior. I believe in the free market system. I also believe that “what we do well today, we can do even better tomorrow.”

Is all of the above my personal opinion expressing my personal whims and wishes?

Absolutely!

But if HEB were more like the Massachusetts-based chain Stop & Shop, which a comedian I heard once parody as “Stop. Shop. Now get the hell out,” then I wouldn’t bother.

But since I love HEB, I bother.

What to do in Kerrville | “Walkability”

If you visit our fair city and wonder, “What is there to do in Kerrville,” there are in fact a host of attractions, both in downtown Kerrville and nearby.

Some of these we’ve reviewed or discussed already, and others we haven’t yet got to. There are even some things that are in the works — the refurbished Arcadia Live, for example — that will be a regional draw and which we haven’t talked about.

So: plenty to do.

But there’s one thing you can’t really do after about 7pm, and definitely not after 9pm in downtown Kerrville: that one thing is anything.

“Seriously?! You roll up the streets?”

what to do in kerrville

That’s what I’m saying.

Intentional or not — and I’d be shocked to learn it was intentional — yes, Kerrville downtown is largely shut down. And not just because of COVID. It’s relatively non-functioning under normal circumstances.

The other evening a little before 9:30pm, no later, we were driving on Earl Garrett heading toward Water Street (the place and direction pictured above). As we turned left on Water, Karen noticed there were some people sitting at the wrought iron tables in front of Francisco’s. They seemed to be drinking and enjoying themselves. Not drinking too much, mind you, but enjoying themselves just fine, as one should when sitting downtown on a beautiful evening in a beautiful Texan town.

snake river farms
SPECIAL OFFER from America Downtown // For Father’s Day, use code 10FORDAD to get extra savings on wagyu steaks.

 

On Mon/Tues/Wed, Francisco’s is open for lunch only, but on Thu/Fri/Sat it’s open for dinner as well, closing at 9pm. Francisco’s is like the rodeo belt buckle of downtown; it’s a downtown mainstay, and other businesses appear to rest in its shade as if under a large tree in the middle of a many-acre field. Schreiner’s department store, across Earl Garrett, closed and re-opened as a design studio, high-end shop on one end (Schreiner Goods), and extending back into a multi-use facility (bank, event venue, and restaurant spilling out onto the City Hall parking lot).

A lot of, well, nothing

Across Water Street is a lot of…well, nothing. Two office buildings — like Oreo cookies: dark at night — with the empty cream filling of a parking lot between them. A parking lot, by the way, that only employees of those buildings may use and seems uncertain as to its permitted use after everyone leaves at 5pm.

Around the corner on Earl Garrett is PAX, which closes at 9pm on normal nights but at 5pm during these COVID days, and on Water is Yeo-Bo’s, a (very good) Korean restaurant that closes at 8pm on Wed/Thu/Fri. Saturday night, when people want to hang out downtown, it’s closed. Even when we don’t have a global pandemic.

So Francisco’s, like the buckle, fastens the waist of the sagging pants of a downtown that is desperately trying to bulk up.

And yet it, too, closes at 9pm on a Saturday night.

Walking around downtown

The good news is that unlike areas of New York City, even wealthier neighborhoods like the Upper West Side, a vacant street doesn’t mean that pedestrians are likely to get mugged. In fact, unlike my hometown of New York, a mugger here better be prepared for a muggee to pull a weapon.

That comforts me in some perverse way.

what to do in kerrville

This mini-map is a combination of snark, information, and love.

  • It outlines the official “Downtown Kerrville” area: Earl Garrett Street between Main Street and Water Street, and a T-shaped section of Water Street.
  • There are, of course good shops and restaurants on the adjacent streets, as well as along Clay and Jefferson Streets, but this is what has come to be known as “Historic Downtown Kerrville.”
  • If you’ll follow that last link, you’ll see that not only does the area currently have some spots worth visiting, but there are matcha sourcealso coming online soon that will surely supercharge downtown revitalization.
  • The Arcadia Live is but one thing I and many others are quite excited about.
  • At 5:01pm on Earl Garrett Street after 5pm right now on a Monday, the only thing you will find to do is park your car and walk to the Daughtry Pavilion — a gazebo across Water Street and overlooking the river; quite nice actually — and wait for the sunset. At least it’s free.
  • On a Tuesday or Wednesday at that time, you could go to Wine-O-Bout It wine bar or Turtle Creek Olive and Vines.
  • If you want later hours, you’re going to have to drive south or north, and your chances of encountering karaoke, like it or leave it, will be about 20-30%.
  • Yes, those are tumbleweeds I placed into the parking lot that sits between the Vast Unknown Buildings on either side.
  • At some point there will be a hotel going in on Water Street south of that parking lot. Another reason for optimism. (Truly.)

Walkability begets business

Right now, Earl Garrett past 5pm is merely a street that gets me from Main Street to Water, or the other way around. And at night, when the light at that intersection becomes a blinking stop sign, taking a left or right turn onto Water is tricky, because seeing cars coming up Water from the south is partially blocked due to foliage and furniture. It’s an indicator of how little car traffic there is and how much less pedestrian traffic there is.what to do in kerrville

The former Heritage Kitchen, flagged on the map on Earl Garrett — this is my old Google Map screenshot — has now become Liberty Kitchen in Ingram. It’s frontage is quiet. A perfect spot for a mugging. If this were New York City.

Seriously, what is there to do in Kerrville, Texas?

And why am I writing this article with my “SCHOOL OF (th)OUGHT” banner? (Namely, my editorial series.)

Because I care deeply about my adopted city and wanted to editorialize about it. (Some people know that even New York was my adopted city. For my first couple weeks as a bun in the oven, I was in Southern California and Florida.)

I care that Kerrville has places to go to for out-of-towners. And I think we’re getting there.

Before COVID, downtown was certainly more lively and will be so again.

No doubt that The Arcadia Live will bring in other restaurants to the immediate area. I, for one, would love to see a place where teenagers could hang out at on weekend nights, spilling out onto the sidewalk with all their loud and boisterous vivaciousness, like a commercial dog run for adolescent humans. I’m also hoping for an ice cream shop that I can make excuses for avoiding at least 5 out of 7 nights.

For 175 years (since 1846), Kerrville has been growing, and merchants have been hanging their shingles since Joshua Brown and crew first started making shingles.

I hope and trust more shingles of note and lasting influence will continue to be hung along Earl Garrett Street and the surrounding area in the months and years to come.

What to do in Kerrville, Texas | #1 Coffee Downtown

So you’ve made your way from Houston or even Dallas to the Hill Country and our fair town and you’re wondering, “Hmm…what to do in Kerrville?”

Chances are you’ve already arranged where to stay after your long trip from elsewhere in Texas, because, let’s face it, coming here from the west or east or north can be a haul; even from South Padre can take 5.5 hours, and you might decide to stop at the Staghorn in Three Rivers for lunch.

The next morning, whether weekday or weekend, you’re probably going to want to go to Historic Downtown Kerrville for a coffee and some light breakfast. Bagel. Scone. Maybe a taco with eggs and bacon. That sounds about right.

Kerrville map
Kerrville set within Kerr County, and Texas, maps

But you’ll want coffee, no doubt.

And there are few places downtown with better coffee than PAX Coffee and Goods.

To be fair, you won’t find many places downtown for coffee anyway, but PAX brews and baristas with the best of them in greater Kerrville, and there are a couple of reasons in particular why PAX is ideal for morning coffee, especially on weekends.

Stay up late, wake up latte

PAX Coffee and Goods
Latte at PAX by barista Jessica

PAX almost became a “permanently closed” dot on Google Maps and Yelp in February 2019, before it was bought and re-opened under new management.

While the owner and staff have changed, the coffee quality has remained high.

As its website describes, “PAX was created with the intention of providing a unique and beautiful place to gather in Historic Downtown Kerrville, while enjoying well-crafted coffee and in-house made goods.”

WELL-CRAFTED

And it is “well-crafted.”

I’m not a latte guy — more of a “black coffee, no room for cream”-kind of man; like the “Scotch, neat” elegance for those of us who had one too many Scotch-neats in our earlier days. My wife, Karen, usually gets a whole-milk latte or a coffee with half-and-half, but I had to try one (a latte)…for the photo of course. All the baristas do great work at “crafting” coffees, and this one pictured is by Jessica, who has the 5 AM to Noon shift.

SOMETHING SWEET

I’m not going to link to Trip Advisor’s account of PAX, because the most recent review is two years old and some important details have changed.

PAX Coffee and Goods
Blueberry scone

For starters, the scones are bigger. A lot.

This is important if you like scones.

I mean, it’s kind of the point. Why have a scone that a Trip Advisor reviewer in March 2018 described as “somewhat small but […] very fresh and tender, not at all dry,” when you can have one that is “very fresh and tender” and not at all small? I’d go for the latter.

If you’re not a scone person — and I have a story to go with that, which Karen would have to tell you personally, because she’s a lot better at telling it, as she is about most stories worthy of being told — then perhaps you’re a coffee cake person.

I’d like to claim that I don’t have a photo of the coffee cake because they are too big to fit into the camera frame. Truth is that I forgot to take a photo.

Suffice it to say: remember those coffee cakes that Starbucks use to sell, like, years ago? Before everything there got “somewhat small,” and not so fresh? Well, PAX sells coffee cakes that have all the good internal attributes and also are big. Like a 3.5- to 4-inch cube.

NON-SWEET DELECTABLES

If you don’t want a scone or a coffee cake or a strawberry rhubarb muffin or another confection, there are also breakfast standards that can double as brunch or even lunch.

The salmon on a bagel with cream cheese is hard to beat, as is the avocado toast. They also have very healthy oatmeal options (that come in a heatable cup, but are very tasty).

A peaceful workspace

Many of us work when we get our morning coffee. (Perhaps because of COVID more of us will work remotely in coffee shops.)

PAX Coffee and Goods
Barista: Jessica

PAX is a great place to work, with a banquette along the wall with outlets underneath every four or so feet and five or so tables seating two people each. (There are also tables in the middle of the space for groups of 2-4 people.) At any one time you’ll see three or more people working along the banquette, and two or three tables of quiet conversation, with the occasional and not-unpleasant guffaw.

All this adds to PAX’s appeal as both a workspace and also a great (and low-cost, high-value) meeting place in downtown Kerrville.

ALTERNATIVES

Pint and Plow
Always fresh flowers on tables at Pint & Plow

I also like to go to Pint & Plow on Clay and Jefferson Streets.

This is a much larger and completely different vibe. While it’s off the beaten path of downtown and is less walkable (and also has less parking nearby), it has an unparalleled outdoor area that is fairly unique to Kerrville and pretty much a one-of-a-kind space in the downtown area.

It simply makes you “feel good” to be there, as does PAX. More on Pint and Plow another time.

Starbucks is always here

PAX Coffee and GoodsIf you must go to Starbucks, it’s up a ways off Junction Highway on the left, just before the AT&T Store. It’s across from Wendy’s on the right (headed north).

While I largely dismiss it for being what it is (Starbucks), it is a benefit to the community, does have a workspace inside, did offer its partners a reasonable alternative for working during the first part of COVID (a raise in hourly pay or paid time off), and also boasts a wonderful patio with umbrellas over tables. The view looks out over the Guadalupe, and this view is found only at a few places — one downtown at Grape Juice, a bit up Water Street at Thai Ocha, and then north of Starbucks at a couple of restaurants (Billy Gene’s, The Boat and one or two others).

There’s a second Starbucks opening on Sidney Baker closer to I-10 (a coup by our Chamber of Commerce; will invite travelers off the Interstate to visit us) and in front of Hobby Lobby.

What to do in Kerrville, south of the (downtown) border

If you happen to be staying in Kerrville’s up-and-coming East End, a coffee option that also serves full meals is Monroe’s East End Grill. Monroe’s lounge area is quirky but very comfortable, resplendent with overstuffed leather chairs.

And if you want no-frills coffee, which Karen and I like, you can try the Texas Pecan coffee at the Valero on Broadway (just steps from East End Market and River Trail Cottages, or the surprisingly good coffee at Stripes on the corner of Memorial and Loop 534. (Visitors: Junction Highway in the north turns into Main Street, turns into Broadway, turns into Memorial, turns into TX-27 toward Centerpoint and Comfort.

But if you’re looking around for something to do in Kerrville, or a great coffee experience where shopping and parking is close by, try PAX.

203-205 Earl Garrett St, Kerrville, TX 78028

(830) 315-2233

Monday———-630a-9p
Tuesday———630a-9p
Wednesday——630a-9p
Thursday——–630a-9p
Friday———-630a-9p
Saturday——–630a-9p
Sunday———-7a-6p

The ultimate men’s snap shirt / Finding it in a retail store or online

ultimate men's snap shirt
I will probably go with Coevals Club, even though the brand is not my #1 choice, because this pattern is.

I’m kind of big on snap shirts. A.k.a. “pearl snap shirts,” or “western shirts.” I even heard a saleswoman yesterday call them “button-up” shirts, though I think she was referring to shirts that weren’t t-shirts or polo style. But finding the ultimate snap shirt is an ordeal.

It’s this category of men’s apparel, specifically casual shirts, that I’m enraptured with, and I want to help you find one as much as I want to help myself.

Readers will  know from what I’ve written elsewhere how much I like snap shirts and how I’ve bought them over the years, even though I was born and raised in New York City and my family has California roots. There’s nothing to suggest cowboy-ness. In fact, my (Texan) wife said, “Only cowboys and dorks wear pearl snap shirts, and you’re not a cowboy.

No matter.

I still love ’em and I buy ’em and I wear ’em.

But I can’t find this one particular shirt, so as I write I’m going to go on a journey, and perhaps you’ll come with me if you, too are looking for a snap shirt.

new yorkers and black clothing
New Yorkers for a century have worn black.

Why snap shirts?

As I mentioned above, I grew up in NYC, where now everyone wears black clothing — (true) — and it’s usually tight fitting because everyone has six-pack abs, even the dogs out for walks. Everyone is beautiful there. (Not like LA, but in an inimitable New York way.)

Snap shirts are a combination of throwback to simpler times and ultra-urban-hipster modern. More hip and cool than the black clothes wearing Manhattanites I grew up with and spent most of my adulthood with. They are colorful, cheery, simple, and give me a sense of peace and relaxation. Like I can be myself wearing them.

So there’s the fashion side and there’s the practical side.

The practical side is that:

  • They’re easier to put on and easier to take off.
  • They can get wrinkled and still look good. (Unless you’re wearing a really nice solid color Wrangler long-sleeved snap shirt and taking your belle to the rodeo. In that case, you want it starched and pressed.
  • You can sweat in them and they don’t stank too bad, because they’re loose fitting.
  • You can wear them tucked in (more formal), or loose. The cowboys wore them tucked in, and the tails of these shirts were made longer for that purpose — so that they wouldn’t come untucked so easily while working on the ranch or riding a horse. (True.)
  • Unlike other buttoning shirts with plastic buttons, the buttons on snap shirts never come off or get broken. Or, at least, rarely do. So the shirt lasts longer and requires less maintenance. Cheaper to own in the long run.

You get the picture.

< ==  CLICK HERE for an overview of snap shirts; you might find one! == >

My inventory and what I lack

My first snap shirt was a Wrangler long sleeve that was mainly white and had a blue pattern as I recall.

This was in 1996, and when my wife, Karen, made that crack about cowboys and dorks, so it’s quite possible my memory of details has been damaged because of the trauma I experienced.

Over the years, I’ve bought long- and short-sleeved shirts, buying the latter only recently. In fact, I bought my first short-sleeved snap shirt in February 2018, after moving to Texas (Kerrville, in the Hill Country north of San Antonio). I did so, because I knew this was now home, and the warmer months were soon arriving, and a long-sleeved shirt wouldn’t cut it. My other shirts were fine for New York City but now I needed to augment my wardrobe.

ultimate men's snap shirt
When still living in New York, a coworker and I arrived at the office wearing the same outfit: jeans and a brown long-sleeved snap shirt.

I’d occasionally get to wear my snap shirt to one of the jobs I had in New York, because it was a relaxed church atmosphere. One time, a coworker and I showed up with almost identical clothes: jeans and a brown snap shirt. Needless to say, it was good we worked on different floors and had no group meetings together that day!

Also, fabric is very important, especially in a hot place like Texas.

When I lived in New York, I owned and still do a long-sleeved black snap shirt with brown stitching. Really beautiful shirt. Cost me close to $100. But it’s made of silk. Now, silk is pretty good in warm weather, but it can get sweat stains and also — more importantly — would never appear on any man in Kerrville, Texas. Just wouldn’t.

So, that will stay closeted until I travel to NYC next in a cooler month.

Most recent experience

Yesterday I went to Billy’s Western Wear looking for a specific short-sleeved snap shirt. I didn’t find it. Which placed me in the dilemma that prompted this article.

The shirt I was looking for was a red and blue plaid with fairly broad stripes. Not a lot of white.

Didn’t find it.

This isn’t totally unusual. I have had less success at Billy’s than elsewhere, but with the Internet, for better or worse and as we all know, our decision-making process early on incorporates the statement, “Well, if I can’t find it ___ [fill in name of favorite local retailer where your neighbors work], I can always get it on Amazon.” Which is true. One of my friends ordered a front driver-side panel for his Mercedes off Amazon and had a friend who worked at a local body shop put in on.

A car side panel! On Amazon!

nick dewolfe melrose MA 1957
Main Street, Melrose, MA 1957 // photo: Nick Dewolfe

Increasingly, the older I get, the more I want to shop local. I see that the places I go to get things in a pinch or as part of my daily routine actually do employ my neighbors. I want to keep this small town strong. There’s a woman who’s a receptionist at a doctor’s office who also works at a restaurant we go to. These are our neighbors in Kerrville, also trying to make a living — though there are a lot of wealthy retirees here from Houston — and I want to support them.

So long as they have quality goods and provide quality service. If I can’t find something, and I know it’s not nearby, Amazon is getting the click.

My — and your — options for snap shirts

Which brings me to the Amazon “option.” I’ve bought two snap shirts off of Amazon, and neither has been great.

But they both have been “good enough.” Yet, if they were in stores here, I can’t say that I would have got them.

On one of them, long-sleeved solid blue, there’s a button up tag that will hold up the sleeve if you roll it up. It’s practical for those who work with their hands, but for me it takes away from being formal, which is what I wanted it for. During the height of COVID, I needed a shirt that I could wear on video calls but I could also re-use and it not wrinkle or look sweaty. This served the purpose.

ultimate men's snap shirt
This is the shirt I bought from Coevals Club on Amazon. It was just…ok.

The other shirt I bought was short-sleeved and white with blue and grey. It was ok, but was a bit too roomy. The online sizing was hard to decipher, and this is the key problem with buying shirts online. If you know the maker and the size match shirts you’ve bought in person, or match others you’ve bought online, no problem. Otherwise, buyer beware.

So, it’s:

  • Amazon
  • Other online retailer
  • Store in mall
  • Free-standing store
  • Yard sale (true)
  • eBay (I saw one recently that looked awesome, but it got sold before I could even bid)

The ultimate men’s snap shirt: where to look

To expand a bit on the above options:

My recommendation: If you’ve not ordered a snap shirt before, go with Wrangler your first time.

Because, after all this, that’s probably where I’ll end up.

 

America’s Best Small Towns To Live In | Kerrville, Texas

 

best small towns texas

I started this site to promote small-town living, and to help travelers looking to enjoy visiting small towns. I can think of no better way to serve readers here than to talk about a place I’ve come to know relatively well: Kerrville, Texas. What to do in Kerrville, where to stay, even where to get a more-than-decent bagel and cream cheese! I’m convinced that it’s the best small town in Texas to live in.

Not only does Kerrville have a forward-looking vision for itself without disregarding its history, it also has many local amenities you can enjoy right now.

  • Swimming in the Guadalupe River
  • Going to Crider’s on Friday night for their catfish or Saturday for their rodeo and dance
  • Visiting downtown with the stores and restaurants
  • Renting a cabin next to the water
  • Visiting “The Cross at Kerrville”
  • And taking drives to some of the other gorgeous Hill Country towns and natural scenery
  • Going to the only Salvation Kroc Center in the state of Texas!

All in all, Kerrville can be a getaway from the busy-ness and a getaway to fun activity and restful entertainment.

“Kerrville 2050”

Kimley-Horn
Kimley-Horn has offices across the continental U.S. and in Puerto Rico.

The Kerrville 2050 Plan is the biggest deal that no one knows about. At least, most people don’t. Certainly people outside of Kerrville don’t. It’s a wonderful plan.

Nationwide firm Kimley-Horn Associates conducted the study and engaged 45 members on the Steering Committee. Something I’m particular proud of Kerrville for is that our city manager is the former Dallas city manager, among other places, and knows his stuff. As a citizen, I feel confident that he, our Mayor, and our City Council have not only the city’s best interests at heart but also the expertise to realize those interests. Or at least advance them until the next generation takes over. We need these public servants, because by Kimley-Horn’s estimates, our Greater Kerrville population will grow from 27,000 now to 70,000 by 2050.

By comparison, if my hometown of New York City underwent that kind of growth (from 8.7 million), it would eventually have 22 million people, ranking it among only six cities now over 20 million in population. By the way, only two of those are in the Americas, both south of us (Mexico City and SĂŁo Paulo).

So as they say, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” A good plan is necessary. And we’ve got one.

A TASTE OF THE PLAN

The best way to give you a sense of Kerrville, now and in the future, and whether you live here or are visiting, is to give you a sneak peek at some aspects of the Plan, because it will tell you who are we as a community.

Vision

Our “Community Vision” is informed by these key ideas and common themes. Kerrville will be a vibrant, welcoming and inclusive community that:

  • Respects and protects the natural environment that surrounds it;
  • Seeks to attract economic growth and development;
  • Provides opportunities for prosperity, personal enrichment and intellectual growth for people of all ages; and
  • Does so while preserving the small-town charm, heritage, arts and culture of the community.

Dontcha love that we’re preserving the “small town charm” and our heritage? (Yes!)

Community Input

community input
Community input

The Mayor and City Council felt very strongly about Community Input.

“…Community engagement—public involvement—would be the foundation of this planning process because the goal was to create a plan that reflected the community’s vision for the future, not the vision of staff or the consultant team.”

Highlights

OK…

This is quickly morphing to my wonky side of urban studies, and being only an amateur, I’m going to pivot to a traveler/resident-friendly word-picture of our small town.

But, one more summary of what the planning group representing Kerrvillians said we cared about:

plan priorities

“Quality of life” is #2, and it’s essentially #1, since “infrastructure” includes such things as making sure our roads are paved and traffic flows, which any municipality needs to attend to always.

Visitors and residents: Kerrville is only going to get better.

So what’s here to enjoy now?

Downtown Kerrville

Elsewhere I’ve covered how to enjoy Downtown Kerrville.

In addition to what I’ve mentioned before, here are three more things you must see or do:

  • Francisco’s // Google calls it “eclectic,” but it’s known for its Chile Relleno entree on Friday’s. So if you want top notch Tex-Mex food at week’s end in addition to amazing tuna fish sandwiches anytime, check this place out on the corner of Earl Garrett and Water. That corner, which has outdoor tables, is the heart of downtown and a great place to people-watch.
  • Slate Gray Gallery // Showcases emerging artists. While — full disclosure — my wife is also represented by the gallery, another artist to watch for is John Self. His fascinating and whimsical pieces will get your guests at home talking.john-self-kirby-head-paddle-fish
  • Arcadia Live // The Arcadia was a movie theater that’s been closed since I first started coming down here when dating my now-wife (1996). My father-in-law told me about it. While plans surfaced from time to time, then they ducked below

    arcadia-sign-night-vertical
    Arcadia Live…to come

    the waves. Now, a team of people and investors has come forward to make the new Arcadia a reality. With the mission, “To promote vibrant and diverse entertainment while preserving the history and life of downtown Kerrville,” it will be a venue for live music, comedy shows, theater, and more.

There’s much more, of course.

Water Street to the south has the Antique Mall and River’s Edge Gallery, and if you like Korean BBQ, don’t walk 50 feet past Francisco’s or you’ll miss Yeo-Bo’s (4.5/5 Stars on Yelp, with 81 reviews).

The Guadalupe

In the summertime around here, it’s all about the river.

Make sure you head down early to either Louise Hays Park off Sidney Baker Street (for good parking if not for any other reason) or Kerrville-Schreiner Park off Loop 534 and Bandera Highway.

tx-paddleboard-1 stepoutside.org
Although I miss my native East Coast and its white sand beaches, which lead directly to the surf, summertime for me means paddleboarding. In fact, the water and air here make the Guadalupe paddle-able almost all year, albeit with a 3/2 wetsuit. (Photo: StepOutside.org)

Before heading down there, though, be sure to make a reservation for a canoe or kayak (or paddleboard!) at Kerrville Kayak and Canoe on G Street and Broadway.

If you’re into the more relaxed — decadent? — form of River Relaxation, try tubing one of the area rivers. (Note which one ranks #1.)

 

Hill Country surrounding area

My first visit to Texas was in the summer of 1991 for a corporate retreat. (I worked for a nonprofit.) We stayed in the dorms of Trinity University in San Antonio. My experience of Texas was limited to that. That’s it. Oh, yes, on the second of two nights there we were instructed how to two-step.

But that’s. It.

My next trip to Texas was in 1996 to visit my soon-to-be-in-laws and ask my now-wife’s dad for her hand in marriage. So my appreciation for, knowledge of, Texas was criminally small. For instance, I’d never been to the Hill Country!

Kerrville is arguably the hub of and perfect launchpad from the Hill Country to surrounding areas:

sisterdale dancehall and opera house
Sisterdale Dance Hall & Opera House

  • Sisterdale. Oh my gosh. Don’t blink or you’ll miss it en route from Kerrville to Blanco and points east, but boy is it cool. I mean, cool. The Sisterdale Dance Hall & Opera House. Enough said.
  • Fredericksburg. Some may scoff (because it’s touristy), but if you’re a tourist, GO! Beautiful antique stores and great restaurants. Live music. Very walkable. A very wide main street, one of the widest you’ll see anywhere. And, walking into Carol Hicks Bolton, off the main drag, is a treat and a privilege in itself.

Enchanted-Rock

  • Enchanted Rock. Near Llano, TX. Go early in the day before it gets hot.
  • San Antonio. Lest we miss mentioning Texas’s second largest city — booyah — we should say that the Riverwalk is indeed quite fun and, if you’re into a good party, you can find it here.
  • Bandera. “Cowboy Capital of the World.” Not simply of the state or country, but the world. And if and when SpaceX puts a woman on Mars, Bandera will certainly claim Cowboyship over the solar system. And so on.
  • Crider’s Rodeo and Dancehall. You’ve not really experienced Texas or the Hill Country until you go to Crider’s (“spelled with a rope”), taken in the local rodeo, and then two-stepped under the stars. To live music. Every summer Saturday night. Go on Friday’s for catfish.

Criders rodeo

You get the picture. Texas is the state, the Hill Country is the region. Kerrville is the town.

Kerrville is the best small town in Texas

I’ve told friends that Texans are a lot like New Yorkers. Some people don’t like to hear that. (I also think that both Texans and New Yorkers are also both like Australians. But that’s for another blog and another post.)

It’s our swagger. It’s our belief that where we are is the center of the universe. And was the center before we got here and will be after we’re gone. We’re that confident.

New Yorkers have a mighty small plot of land, an island in fact, to try to plant that fact flag on.

At least Texans have the space.

Good luck, New York.

An immodest proposal

As someone from the “Island of Many Hills” — a rough English translation of the Lenape word “Mannahatta,” I tend from time to time to “go off the reservation.”

This is one of those times.

I love Kerrville. Except for about now.

k5It is 95 degrees warm as I write. And the only shady spot to sit except for inside PAX, where I rented a table for 3-1/2 hours for a delicious coffee and a deliciouser roast beef sandwich (with roasted red peppers, jack cheese, and honey dijon mustard — alas no horse radish — is on a metal bench next to the ATM in front of the Schreiner Building facing Earl Garrett.

I left PAX and walked past the comfortable diners under umbrellas at Franciscos. On Friday they’ll be having the restaurant’s famous chiles rellenos. Today they’re enjoying something else good. But that was not my mission.

My mission was to walk over to the Daughtry Pavillion overlooking the Guadalupe River. The beautiful Guadalupe River. The bountiful, the accessible, the sometimes floodable, but always enjoyable Guadalupe. I wanted to see that Guadalupe from on high. Maybe do a phone call from a bench overlooking that Guadalupe.

Nothing doing.

Closed.

Not sure why, so I Facebook Messengered City Hall. They’re usually good about replying pretty quickly.

So I walked along Water Street, recalling fondly many times sitting at the benches looking out at the street. Well, construction at the Arcadia closed some of the way. No problem (so far). Then I noticed that shop after shop had moved or closed. The only thing open (maybe?) was Humble Fork. And only one, and dusty, bench looking out at a guy moving sheetrock with a forklift from one pile to a second.

OK. Time to get resourceful.

(It was at this time, Dear Reader, that I’d decided to go off the reservation.)

To walk through the Schreiner Building and kick up some dust of my own. A forklift might come in handy.

It was no surprise to me that inside the Schreiner Building — inside the COOL, air-conditioned — did I mention “COOL”? — building, there is copious space. Doing. Absolutely. Nothing. Except being walked on and through and waiting to be rented. Exhibit A (see photos).

After snapping said photos and feeling oh-so-righteous, I found the one bench I knew of in the shade, the one I’m sitting on now and which has a perfect view of PAX and the air-conditioned interior I enjoyed not 15 minutes ago. (Maybe it was more like 30 minutes… I’ve stewed in my juices for half the time since leaving.)

So my recommendation is this: City / Downtown Kerrville / Merchants. Derive a way to use either interior space or sidewalk space in the shade where pedestrians can sit and think positive thoughts about being downtown when it’s in the mid-90s. Because if y’all don’t, we’ll just get in our cars and make traffic on I-10 and not along Earl Garrett and Water Streets.

Stewing finĂ­.