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I wrote an article for the Hill Country Weekly a few years ago that sold out more printings than the paper had in quite a while, at the very least, maybe ever, it was titled Boerne, Texas Gone Forever in response to those bumper stickers that had been popping up on peoples cars throughout the last few years. The following is not that article, but something else that spilled out of me while I was sitting in town this afternoon.
I haven’t done a lot of writing ‘on location’ in a while, it used to be pretty common for me to spend my late mornings to mid afternoons at a coffeehouse or in a comfortable bar setting: writing, working, and talking to people; for many months, however, it’s been the comfort of my couch, the ambient noises of short episode situational comedies or various Pandora stations where I have been drawing my inspiration (among other more cognitive places); I think, when Electric Coffee (my coffeehouse of choice for a good long while) closed, and I started bouncing around to a few places: Dienger Trading Co., Local Coffee (in Leon Springs), Boerne’s Daily Grind, and Bear Moon Bakery and nothing really felt as comfortable as Electric, I just, kind of, stopped going out.
And, even less so since I started working in Fredericksburg, a year ago. I haven’t really explored Boerne like I used to on a semi-regular basis, so, a couple of weeks ago, on my birthday, I walked along Main Street a bit, and, quite accidentally, I discovered Black Rifle Coffee Co., on the opposite corner of Dienger Trading Co., across from Main Street from the Square. Black Rifle feels, very much, out of place, it’s got a remarkably corporate aesthetic although it’s locally owned, and in the short time I’ve been sitting here I’ve already seen a handful of people that I haven’t seen since spending my days at Electric. The people watching here is fantastic. Adjacent to the coffeehouse, a sort of portmanteau of two businesses, is a gun shop; there’s an older gentleman with a gray handlebar mustache standing at the gun counter with a cup of coffee in his hands, because I know every time I’m about to buy a gun I’m thinking, “...if only I had more caffeine in my system. There’s nothing quite like a strung-out jittery trigger finger.”
“Here, a free box of bullets w/ the purchase of your gun.”
“I don’t need the box...I only need one…
...half of a poppy seed muffin, but only if they can take out the poppy seeds and heat it up; if they can’t heat it up, and this is important, then leave half the poppy seeds in, and sprinkle the other half of the poppy seeds on half of a blueberry muffin, and then cut both halves in half and throw them both away, and a small black coffee.”
. . . . . . . . . . .
There’s a bookstore in Boerne, again. I grew up going into Read All About It, here, in Boerne. It wasn’t the best bookstore, they catered mostly to the schools, with the books from school reading lists lining the shelves, and a section of Texas history books. It closed while I was living in Idaho, and there hadn’t been a store until I opened mine in the winter of 2015, Wardrobe Books represent whoop, whoop!
I had to close Wardrobe in the summer of 2016 (my building sold), and Boerne hasn’t had a brick-and-mortar until a couple of weeks ago. Unfortunately Dale, the store’s owner, is only selling New books, and it’s too big a location to focus entirely on new releases but too small to have a decent selection of new books, and, quite frankly, the Boerne Bookshop will not succeed in today’s climate without selling used books, especially in a small Texas Hill Country town; if for no other reason than that the sales margins are way too low. Nevertheless Dale can rely on my support, inasmuch as I might be able to offer.
The point that I’m slowly making is that I’m intrigued by the transition Boerne is undergoing, I’ve known for some years now that our rapidly growing little town has been transitioning through an identity crises, and it seems we may soon be coming out of that (I’m excited to see how the rooftop bar and grille affects the dynamic when he opens sometime this summer), the changes that began with Bill Bird buying the Ye Kendall Inn and the Mazour’s opening The Cibolo Creek Brewing Co., are becoming more and more apparent; I never thought I’d be living in Boerne—in Texas—again, and yet I couldn’t be happier with my life, right now, and with the direction that Boerne is headed; although I am somewhat disappointed with how Ron Bowman, our city manager’s, attempts to increase city tax revenues by appealing to corporate syndicates and car dealerships is playing out, he is—unwittingly, maybe—creating two very distinct coteries which are pulling Boerne in very different directions. It’s somewhat how I picture Santa Fe, New Mexico a few decades ago, if you’re unfamiliar with Santa Fe it is made up of two, maybe three very distinctive cities: the obvious Northern and Southern echelons, and possibly a North Eastern collocation…
...unfortunately Boerne will not develop with such recognizable demarcations, there will be pockets of us, the favored elite surrounded by, you know, everybody else (whispers* “the little people” *cough, *cough): those that make it possible for me to live such a complacently serene, and lavish lifestyle with very minimal effort, but in order to do so, and to help support my unreasonably snug way of life, I am going to have to actually see them! Everywhere! Imagine, if you will, I know, it’s difficult and painful, abysmal and eerie, outlandish and crabbed, bothersome and difficult...where was I going with this again?
...ah, that’s right, imagine, if you will, a number of lost amiable zombies wandering around playing Pokemon Go!, only, your—I’m—the Pokemon! Have you read (or seen) the Hunger Games? Yeah, just like that, with those pesky districts rousing trouble for the devoted, hard-working, elite.
Black Rifle Coffee Co., had the good sense of installing iris scanners at the entrances, everybody in Boerne is marked with your tax bracket behind the Anterior Chamber of your eye between the Cornea and the Iris, the best idea since an expanding middle class establishing a clear and present boundary between the upper class and, well, you know…
...so, what I’m really trying to say is that Boerne is a very pleasant, and dynamic town, and I’m both excited to be a part of it’s development, and fortunate to be here right now, and to be happy. And it is, in now way, "Gone Forever," it's just different, and, in a great many ways, the changes have been for the better, it's just, you know, people are afraid of change, because people are afraid of what they cannot imagine, the unknown, so much so that they forget that change is inevitable, and you can either actively participate and influence it or you can sit idly by, and watch it happen beyond the purview, and context of your impact.