It’s an amazing feeling to have a new beginning twenty five years after the birth of something, to be sure. The fire that destroyed our Cook Shack did it so thoroughly that today the only reminder of the original building is more or less its footprint, in that the old slab was used again – but even that was enlarged, with the addition of two porches, one being a sizable screened in dining porch, complete with indoor plants and bubbling fountain, already very popular with guests.
Along with the rebuilding, we have decided to change the format of these newsletters as well, and try to follow more or less the same pattern each time – so now, let me ask you, what would you like to hear about?? Drop us a line, to Ben at email@example.com or to me personally, at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know what most interests you.
In the meantime, though – here’s the news. The Cook Shack building is complete, to the point that on June 21st we had our official re-opening. This is somewhat along the lines of government buildings – the official opening being well after the real event. I had thought originally that we should open on June 1st, officially as well as actually, but am I glad we did not! In spite of the builder’s optimistic pronouncements that they would be finished by the middle of May, there they were, in the middle of June, still painting, finishing up some of the trim, and cleaning up. As for us, the final touches to the landscaping are still just figments of our imagination – “wouldn’t it be nice if…..” – yes, when we finally do it. But I guess, that like any great work, this building will remain a work in progress, not only because of the lack of time, but also because the necessary final, loving touches only come from use and from the people who visit – the photographs, the scrapbooks, the visitors’ book, and the new memories. So bear with us if you think these are still lacking, and come back in another few months and be astonished how your vision of the old building will have faded. For us it has faded already – the other day I was sitting in the Longhorn Room trying to recapture the feeling of its old incarnation, and almost failed.
Some of you may remember that last year we had introduced several evening programs, among them being a history talk on our area, which I enjoy giving. I have always liked history, but until I moved here, it was mainly history of the ancient Greeks and Romans, and medieval history of England with its kings and queens, intrigues and murders. American history had never held much interest for me when in school in Australia – in fact, it was the only part of the curriculum that I would have been wiling to skip. However, now that I live here, and this idea of giving these talks has come up, I find it totally fascinating. I have, for many years, had a secret love affair with Thomas Jefferson, ever since I had visited his beautiful Monticello. However, his Louisiana Purchase, an integral part of any history of the west, fills me with admiration for a president who was able, first of all, to make the slickest real estate deal in the history of the world, and further, was able to convince Congress, which was as troublesome then as it is now, that he should take this financial risk, and shell out some $15 million for a bezillion acres of land that nobody at the time wanted. (The Indian tribes would differ on this point, of course!) What foresight!
Apart from that, the history of the early Dragoons Culture people, followed by the Apaches, the Spanish, the Mexicans, and then the Americans with their vision of “sea to shining sea” – is so fascinating that I love sharing it with guests, many of whom are from overseas, and so perhaps haven’t studied American history all that much either. Anyway – we have added that program, every Friday evening after dinner.
Another program added is Daniel’s poker club, offered every Wednesday night except during the three summer months, when we hold the ever popular evening sunset rides. But from the beginning of September through the end of May, avid card players gather in the Buffalo Room, which, thankfully, survived the fire intact, and try to fleece each other for colored chips – having as much fun as if it were cash. Many of the players being from overseas adds to the excitement, as their knowledge of poker comes mainly from western movies.
And so we move on – another year, a new building, a new beginning!