Texas Side of Things

Jim Banner, Southern Livestock Standard

April 16, 2024

As I have often claimed, “Castell, Texas is the Center of the Universe”, and once again, I am correct! This past Monday, a once-in-a-lifetime event happened when the total eclipse traveled over Central Texas around 1:32 p.m.  and lasted for approximately four minutes.  Locals in the Hill Country didn’t really know what to expect after they had been repeatedly warned of possible large crowds arriving from not just the United States, but possibly different parts of the world.  They explained it like there could be an invasion of eclipse fanatics who might just move onto our properties and camp out.  I bought into the warning and went out and spent about $200 on warning signs such as: Private Property, No Trespassing…. Stay Out – Grizzly bears on site and they are hungry, My cousin is the sheriff of Llano County, and my favorite…Saca tu tresero de mi propiedad, which means…Get your ass off my property!

     By Friday and Saturday, you could definitely tell there were more out-of-town tourists lurking around than normal, but they weren’t bothering anyone that I could tell.  Over the weekend, I had to run into Llano and Mason, and you could tell the natives from the out-of-towners because the men wore shorts and black socks, and they held their wives or girlfriends’ hands as they walked around town looking for something to do. Meanwhile, the natives drove around in their flatbed trucks covered with tobacco stains and hay wrapping flapping around on the back and gawked at the out-of- towners.  It wasn’t crazy or out of control, it was like a normal day in Fredericksburg with tourists everywhere, but they were in Llano and Mason.  I noticed that a large number of license plates were from Colorado, Washinton, California and Florida and almost all of them drove Dodge or Mercedes vans that were set up with sleepers in them…tree huggers, I’m sure!

Someone in Burnet County organized a Texas Eclipse Festival for which they were expecting 40,000 attendees but only 30,000 showed up paying $200-$300, depending on how many days they planned to stay…you do the math. From the videos I saw on Facebook, the attendees at the event were dressed like 1960’s hippies. They wore tie-died shirts, long hair, raggedy pants or shorts and they danced around like they were high on Peyote or some other hallucinogenic.  I bet if you would have brought a drug sniffing dog to the event, it would have been running around in circles because it couldn’t focus on just one person with illegal drugs. The music they were playing was really weird sounding, it’s like nothing I had ever heard before, and I promise you will never hear it on the Grand Ole Opry.

Meanwhile back in Castell, things stayed normal, just the way I like it.  My wife and I pulled some chairs out in the sunlight, the temperature was very pleasant, and we just sat back and waited. The clouds parted around 1:20 p.m. and the closer we got to 1:32 p.m. the sky started to darken; it was like twilight in the middle of the afternoon. They claim that animals sometimes do strange things during a solar eclipse, but I can honestly say we didn’t see any birds flying backwards or Purple Martins crowing like roosters. The cattle didn’t stampede but we did hear several coyotes howling because they thought sunset was coming.

I have to admit it was neat thing to witness the total solar eclipse, but I doubt I will become one of those people who will travel to the next event which is supposed to be Aug. 22, 2044. But the more I think about the group that congregated in Burnet, the more I am thinking about joining their group. Maybe I can smoke some trumpet vine or something and they will allow me to join, but they are going to have to change their music, or I will just stay in the “Center of the Universe”.

Southern Livestock

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