Tuesday, April 16, 2013


This past fall, when we attended a birthday celebration for my friend High School Debbie, we had the great good fortune to meet a couple -- Bill and M.F. Johnson -- who are not only legends themselves, but also the masters of legend-keeping here in the Wimberley Valley.  Bill is a natural born storyteller, and my hubby got such a kick out of visiting with him at Debbie's party, there was just no way I could pass up the golden opportunity to spend more time with them, which fell into my lap not long ago.

Bill Johnson, holding court in his backyard, in a place where he grew up camping with all his relatives each summer.
M.F. Johnson, a girl from the hoity-toity Highland Park area of Dallas, who met Bill at U.T. after he came back from WWII, married him, and ended up raising five kids in a log cabin on this 100 acre property in Wimberley, which had less than 500 residents at the time.
You see, we have this wonderful program in Wimberley, which used to be called Hobby Lobby, but recently got switched to Spring Events, or something like that. Anywho, every January all the residents here abouts rush to the Info. Center to grab their copy of the Spring Events booklet, hot off the press. In it is a listing of all sorts of lectures, classes, excursions, dinner parties, game parties, etc., all taught or hosted by local volunteers. There's always a mad rush to get signed up for the events you want, before they fill up. All the funds which are raised go to support community restoration and improvement projects, local charities, and the like. Fortunately, I managed to get signed up for the visit to Sabino Ranch before it was too late.

I'm sure you've heard me talk about the Blue Hole a million times. Well, the public part of Blue Hole is all on one side of Cypress Creek, but the other side of the creek is private property, so you can't climb out on that side. When we went to a concert there Friday night, I noticed a group of people enjoying the show from over on the private side of the creek, and thought "Wow, imagine having all of this right in your own back yard!" I used to wonder who on earth it belonged to, but now I know.

What I didn't know -- what I had no freakin' clue about -- was that this was not your typical four or five acre waterfront property. This is a hundred acre ranch, sitting right in the heart of downtown Wimberley, with it's entrance tucked away between the post office and the tire store, and most people who come here have no idea what is hidden there!

The horizontal piece of that cross on the tree shows how high the water has risen during the "Big Floods."
Mostly Bill, who is in his early 90s, I believe, just sat and visited with us, sharing his tales of all the interesting characters that founded and populated this beautiful little valley. Many of the stories were passed on to him by his mother, who lived to be 100, and are recorded in several little booklets his family has published. M.F. shared her tales about what it was like to come here as a total outsider, and how she finally managed to become part of this community of "doers." Our journey back in time was interrupted all too soon by the announcement that our picnic lunch was ready to be served.

It was a very good day.

1 comment:

Deborah said...

What a special treat this must have been. Thanks for sharing this secret world of Wimberley. I have crossed paths with the Johnson's on occasion but have not had the pleasure of seeing their ranch up close and personal like this.