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The Creek, The Cat, The Ruin

So, last time, I had us in Wimberley and Martha and I had drifted off in the courtyard of the little hotel we were at. And then...there was this charming pair of newlyweds who got conducted through the courtyard to their room while I was, um, er, snoring. I understand that they later changed their room in search of a...ahem...quieter area.


Anyway, after that, Martha decided that she would continue her nap, but in our room, where there was more air conditioning and fewer spectators. I said that I was now kind of wakeful so I left her to her snooze and decided to take a walk.

I went back into town, wandered along the shops a bit, and then went down a set of stairs and to Cypress Creek, where there is a path that’s good for strolling. As I was walking down the hill and in the little wooded area along the waterway, I spotted an individual walking some distance away. At first, I thought it was a young woman with longish blonde hair, and with a large pack on her back. Then, from the way the person moved, I realized it was a male. I just hadn’t seen him from the front.

I don’t know it, but I was about to have one of those little strange experiences you have from time to time...not unpleasant, not terribly weird, just odd...

About the photos: first, a couple of shots from where I was walking when the cat put in his mysterious appearance. You can see it is very pretty area.

The figure vanished into the woods ahead of me. The growth was surprisingly dense, with the path winding along, moving down to the water’s edge, and then back into the brush again. A few yards along, I saw a young family coming the other way -- a man, a woman, and a little boy...maybe three or so. They were clearly having a pleasant stroll in the woods. I smiled at them and they smiled at me.

All of a sudden, out of a bush along the trail, a huge white-gray cat stalked onto the trail. It sat down and regarded us with that look that cats have in such situations...i.e., something that’s between “No photographs, please,” and “you may worship me now.” I came to halt. The family came to a halt. We all looked at the cat. And the cat looked at us.

Then, the man turned around and shouted into the forest, “Buddy, he’s here!”

A moment later, the person I’d seen with the backpack came up the trail. “Ah,” he said. “There you are. You little b**tard.” The last was said affectionately. The cat looked up at his human, sneered (well, that’s what it looked like he did) and swaggered over to him. The man squatted down and took off his backpack, which, I realized, was actually an animal carrier. He opened the top. The cat casually jumped into it. The man fastened it up again, returned it to his back, and then headed off up the trail.

I stood...kind of open mouthed...and stared. I turned around to ask the family if they knew the man... and his cat. But, they had already gone. Clearly, the encounter had been unremarkable for them. Just another meeting with a friend on a busy day.

I sighed. Just once, I thought, I’d like to run across a mystery that could be explained in three sentences over a nice cup of tea. But, no...

Anyway, I turned around and headed back into town. I’d had enough heat and unanswerable questions for one day.

Second, Martha on what’s called Shoal Creek in Austin. Love the scarf. This is from December 2023.

I got back to the hotel and let myself in the front door. I went into the lobby and saw that our hostess, Marcy, was behind the desk. We said hello and I bought a couple of cold sodas to take back to the room. Then, we ended up chatting a bit...sharing information, the way that you do in such situations. She confirmed what her husband said, about her having owned the building for years, and then I asked about the changes she had seen in the town over the years, and so on.

I started to go and then I thought, “Wait a moment, here’s one mystery that might get cleared up a bit...sort of to make up for the cat.”

“I say,” I said, “I’ve got a question for you.”

She nodded. “Yes?”

“Downtown, I noticed that there’s a weird ruin downtown...” You’ll recall I mentioned it a few entries back? It was the one next to the shop called The Old Mill. “What’s the story on that?”

“Ooooh,” she said. “That’s a tale.” And then she told it to me.

And I, in turn, will tell it to you...

Next time.

More to come.

Copyright©2023 Michael Jay Tucker

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