The Year of Turning 60

February 10, 2013 § Leave a comment

Last night was one of my favorite nights of the year, Gerald “Captain Daytripper” McLeod’s annual birthday party at the Roger’s Ranch 9-Pin Bowling Club out in the middle of nowhere, a few miles north of Lockhart and a few hundred yards east of FM 2001, AKA “The Farm Road Odyssey.”

setting pinsthe scoreboard

Nine-pin bowling (as opposed to 10-pin) is an old German game that once flourished ithroughout the Hill Country between Austin and San Antonio and still hangs on in hamlets like Fischer (See the “Riding the Fault” chapter in Central Texas. Instead of keeping individual scores you keep team scores. Whenever the pin with the red top or “the Kaiser” is the last pin standing, then the team scores extra points.

And like the good old days, there is no automated pin-setting machinery; “pin monkeys” worked as pinsetters during the night. My son, Andrew, used to love pin monkeying as a kiddo, but last night he graduated to team captain. We now have a new generation of eager pin monkeys to set up the pins and roll the balls back.

pin monkeysplease patronize our sponsorsclub history

As usual, there was way too much food and some interesting wines from Central Texas and the Hill Country to try. I wish I could say they were good; we’ll just leave it at “interesting.” Area wineries keep popping out like zits on a libidinous teenager, such as Three Dudes in San Marcos. Their “Texas White” was slightly on the sweet side, with no depth, reminiscent of Ste. Genevieve Texas White, an uninspired but inoffensive blend of grapes.
4 lanes of funball polisher

Much more interesting was the Blackberry Mead from Rohan Meadery in La Grange. According to Tom, a beekeeper of many years and something of an expert on mead, which is based, obviously, on honey, this was no mead. It was a decent blackberry wine, suitable for dessert, if you’re into sweet wines. There were other, weirder, fruit essence infused concoctions from Helotes, but since Helotes is off my beaten path, my poor tastebuds were spared.

Thusly full of Dutch courage, I hit the lanes with some success and our team won our game – although after 20 years I still don’t understand the scoring of this game.


So, happy 60th, Cap’n; I’m three short months behind you. And be sure to read the adventures of Captain Daytripper in the Austin Chronicle every week.

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