Once upon a time, my island-boy-turned Texan husband “Bubba-Mon” fell in love with a little piece of land known as Shangri-La and a rundown travel trailer named the Quacker near Nowheresville, Texas.  We spent many happy hours rednecking there this summer.  Then came August and the return of “teenager’s activities.”

We moan and groan about it, but we put the kids’ development first.  Rednecking in Nowheresville with the Quacker had to wait.

Hence, the name Quacker.

Until I showed signs of IT Band Syndrome in my thigh and knee again, that is.  ITBS suddenly threatened bicycling — I made seditious comments about slowing down on riding.  Bubba-mon had me in the 2000 Suburban headed northwest for the four-hour round trip the next day.  Why?  Because my knee-saving custom orthotic bike shoe inserts (possibly psychosomatic, but don’t judge!) might, I repeat, might, be in the Quacker.

We knew we had missed Shangri-La, but as we drove through the still-green fields of the hill country, we gripped each other’s hands and bounced up and down in our seats like kids.

“The longhorns are out!”

“Did you see that deer?”

“Wow!  Smell the rain.  Just smell it.”

We pulled into Shangri-La.  None of our stashed and camouflaged belongings had been stolen.  The Quacker stood proudly in its place.  At first glance, all seemed as we left it.

Except that someone had been eating our porridge there was no pond.

BEFORE: clearly no funny mushrooms caused us to believe there was a pond. (You can see it, can't you? Please tell me you see a pond in this picture...)

The centerpiece of the land was its three-acre pond.  Not a tiny puddle of a pond.  But a big ole Texas pond.  Now, there were only trees, logs, and mud in the space-formerly-known-as-a-pond.  No trillion croaking frogs, not even the last whiff of a swampy pond odor.  Gone.  Poof.  Vanished.

AFTER: what rat bastard stole our pond? Return it immediately. I WANT OUR POND BACK!

Had we only imagined it?  Had it dried up?   What the aaaaych  eeeeeee double hockey sticks had happened to it?  The former owners fished that pond for 16 years.  How could it just disappear?

“The dam gave way,” Eric pronounced.

Inspecting the damn pond, or, rather, the pond's dam. And looking pretty cool while doing it.

Sure enough, we inspected the wet, wet dam area, and that is precisely what happened.  This excited Bubba-mon.  Instead of a problem, he saw the opportunity to rent a tractor and clear out all the brush and old trees without wearing snake-proof waders.  If there is one thing my man loves more than his bicycle or me, it is manual labor.

Still gorgeous. Just less water-y.

Next we discovered that someone had been sitting in our chairs roto-rootered one acre of our property.

Bubba-mon does not yet understand the fearsome nature of the Texas wild hog. If you've seen it, you'll know that no picture can do justice to their comprehensive destruction of terrain. Trust me, this photograph is evidence of a wild hog invasion.

I knew the answer to this riddle.

“Feral pigs.  Wild hogs.  Giant man-eating boars.”

“Awesome.  Now we don’t have to buy a pet pig,” Bubba-mon said.

“Uh, not the Wilbur kind of pig honey.  The hide-the-small-children-and-animals kind.”

We walked the perimeter of the swine-tilled earth.  Nary a foot of unturned dirt remained; John Deere ain’t got nothing on them.  You could still smell the loaminess from their recent visit.  I expected to hear a branch crack underneath one of their cloved feet right before they rushed us and I ended up like Old Yeller.

Finally, we opened the door to the Quacker.  Someone had been sleeping in our bed, and there she is right now! We found the orthotics!  Happy day.  Just in case, we had brought the bikes for a quick ride.

I suspect the Quacker "t'iefed 'em" to lure us back. And, yes, they are showing some wear. GROSS.

“Don’t make me go back to Houston,” I said.  “Suz doesn’t know it yet, but she wants to graduate from a 1A high school (smallest sized classification of TX public high schools).”

“Someday, I won’t,” he said.

And we’ll live happily ever after.

Enjoy the rest of the pictures.


Which way to Nowheresville?

"Nice pink bike, Lady."

Everything I see around Nowheresville makes me happy.

Especially this.


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