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More Southern Junction

AT HOME IN HEATH: DATE NIGHT AT SOUTHERN JUNCTION

So, a couple of weeks ago I gave you a little background information.  I explained how Bill and I are a couple of city slickers, living out in the country.  While honky-tonking is not completely foreign to me, it is to Bill.  Still, at the suggestion of my bestie, we visited Southern Junction in Royse City.  Here’s how it went.

City Slickers at a Honky Tonk

Since Bill & I both work at home, we probably spend more time together than most couples, but we still love to go out together, whether that’s shopping at Costco or a fancy dinner.  Going to Southern Junction qualified as an official date.  We planned ahead for it, got all dressed up and planned on having a great evening.  Bill even drove the Mercedes.  First mistake!  Well, maybe the first mistake was getting all dressed up, but driving Bill’s precious Mercedes onto a rock-covered parking lot was definitely a mistake.

Now please understand, we were well aware that many of those pick-ups cost a lot more than the Mercedes, but they were pick-up trucks.  Kicking up gravel is part of what pick-up trucks were made for.  That’s not the case for the Mercedes.  In fact, sedans and coupes of any sort were definitely in the minority as we waited in the car for Deb and Joe to show up.  Waiting until they got there was a good thing, because if we’d walked in by ourselves, I might not have gotten Bill past the vestibule.

On the outside, Southern Junction is a huge mustard colored metal building with some stringed lights affixed to the front portion, set amid a very large gravel parking lot.  As we waited inside the car, we recognized we weren’t dressed like everyone else.  Bill had on a pair of jeans and a shirt, just like the rest of the guys, but the shirt was a designer number I picked up last time I’d been shopping and instead of worn boots, Bill had on a fairly new pair of lace up oxfords. Neither of us had on a hat or a down vest.  Hand-tooled belts?  Nope, not that either.  For my part, I don’t own any cowboy boots and I wouldn’t be caught dead in a pair of shorts cut up to …

When Deb and Joe arrived, we walked  out of the parking lot into a large room with ticket windows.  Everything was bare and wooden.  No frills.  I mean NO FRILLS!  Deb waltzed up to the window and handed them her drivers license.  She knew the drill.  The rest of us had to get our memberships, because Royce City is dry.

If you’ve ever been to a honky tonk then you know exactly what was inside.  A huge dance floor with a mirrored ball, a stage for the band, a bar, pool tables and lots of formica-covered restaurant tables with economy chairs arranged into long rows.  The band wasn’t playing yet and Deb’s friend was nowhere to be found.  A pair of hostesses looked like they were dying to tell us we’d arrived at the wrong place.  Bill said it reminded him of Billy Bob’s and I chuckled to myself.  It didn’t remind me of Billy Bob’s at all.  This was the real thing or as close as I’d been in a long time.

After the hostess asked whether or not we had reservations, she sat us at an out-of-the-way table, like she was embarrassed for us.  Because we’d asked after Kevin, she claimed it was where people sat when they were with the band, but we had our doubts.  Kevin’s lady still hadn’t shown up, so we went ahead and ordered dinner.  Deb had falsely advertised 2-for-one steak dinners, but that had been the night before.  It was all-you-can-eat night, not my favorite thing in the world, because I can eat a whole lot more than I should.  My ribs were great.  Bill didn’t enjoy his as much.

I was having a good time.  These weren’t exactly my kind of folk, but they were enjoying themselves and Texas Drive was making marvelous music.  Some of the dancers really knew their way around a dance floor and I was fascinated by the line dancing.  Each song had it’s own routine and somehow everyone one knew which one to do.  Before the band came on there were Two Step Lessons (fast, fast, sloow, sloow was the background noise for our meal) and during the break there were Line Dancing Lessons.

Bill’s evening was not going quite as well.  As I mentioned, this was not Billy Bob’s.  He’s not very fond of all-you-can-eat either, especially when they deliver your food before they provide utensils to eat it with.  He didn’t like his ribs and the potato was cold, but he was also piqued that no one offered him second helpings.  Not that he wanted any, but since it was all-you-can-eat, they should have asked.  When they delivered his credit card slip for a signature, they failed to bring a pen.   Fast-fast-sloow-sloow nearly drove him to distraction and while I thought most of the dancers were pretty good, Bill would have preferred to be home watching Dancing with the Stars.  Neither of us liked the cigarette smoke.   He kept waving his empty beer bottle at me, but he didn’t want another.  He wanted to go home.

So, do I think you should go to Southern Junction?  Well, if you like honky-tonking – absolutely.  Otherwise, probably not.  On the other hand, Texas Drive, the band we went to see, is a great band and if they’re playing at Southern Junction, then it may be worth the trip to Royce City.

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Filed under ART, DESTINATIONS, DFW Metroplex, Music, Performing Arts, Restaurants & Bars, Road Trips, TRAVEL

Southern Junction in Royce City

AT HOME IN HEATH: SOUTHERN JUNCTION

Well, all you cowpokes, cowgirls and cowkids, have I ever found a place for you.  The last few months have been so busy over in the Metroplex, that the other side of the bridge preempted writing about this new town of mine.  Why just last week I  posted an article about Grapefest, a September event in Grapevine.  With the onset of winter, things should settle down a bit (yeah, sure).  If you want to liven up one of your evenings out here in the Lakeplex, instead of relaxing by the fire, may I suggest Southern Junction.

Is That Song Country or Western?

Though I live out here in a community of ranchers and farmers, I’m not exactly attuned to the rural lifestyle.  I love having a pond in my backyard, but I’m awfully glad Rockwall is minutes away, especially since it gets more urbanesque every day.  Why they opened up a Chico’s just the other day.  Now if we could just get a Market Street, Central Market or Whole Foods!

However, country/western music I know.  My dad raised me on Hee Haw and Whispering Bill Anderson.  After high school, I attended Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, where you would run into Waylon Jennings at Pizza Inn and dance the night away to Ray Wylie Hubbard and his band at The Party Center (or Snoopy’s or The Caravan).  By the time it was cool to be an Urban Cowboy, I’d already moved on to other things.

Nowadays, my favorite country/western memory is attached to a holiday dinner where a discussion of music ended up in an argument about whether Marty Robbins was country or western.  I know that some folks wouldn’t find that unusual, because all of their holiday dinners end up in an argument about something, but it was off-the-wall bizarre for my family.  Though Aunt Tommie was a bit of a pistol, my dad and Aunt Edie were always the least likely of folks to argue about anything.  Discovering they were passionate about the West Texas Town of El Paso was quite hysterical.  (For the record, Biography.com calls him a country singer, but anyone with an album called “Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs” sounds pretty western to me.)

My Urban Cowboy

While country/western music has been part of the fabric of my life, the same cannot be said for my husband.  I don’t think they had Hee Haw in Egypt and his idea of a C&W bar is Belle Starr or Billy Bob’s.  For the uninformed, Belle Starr was a very trendy nightclub on Central Expressway during Dallas’ Urban Cowboy stage.  I went to Belle Starr a couple of times, but was more likely to be found at the old Top Rail.  Billy Bob’s is fun, but it’s a Disney version of a honky tonk, not the real thing.

Bill likes country music well enough to have a C&W station programmed onto the radio of his car.  We occasionally attend the Mesquite Rodeo or the Fort Worth Stock Show.  Many country hits are counted among his favorite music, but the accompanying culture is completely foreign to him.  Southern Junction was a shock to his system.

How We Got There 

If you’ve ever read my blog before, then you know about my best friend, Deb.  In some ways we’re so much alike we’re almost redundant – and then there are the ways we are different.  Deb is very into music and dancing, things I like also, but there is no way I’d invest as much time and money into ballroom dancing as she does.  That love for ballroom dancing bleeds over into liking pretty much any kind of music and dance.  She’s a university-trained opera singer, but if the gang from work is going someplace to dance, then she’s all over it.  On occasion, I join in and sometimes even Bill comes along.

Back in the summer, Deb went to Southern Junction because the significant other of a girl she works with was playing there.  He’s Kevin Freeman, fiddler for Matthew Middleton and Texas Drive.  Deb invited me to join them because it is near to my new home, but it wasn’t a good day when she called.  She’s been talking about going back ever since then.

So, on a recent Thursday night, Texas Drive was making a return visit to Southern Junction.  I decided to check it out and Bill decided to join us.  We had no idea what we were getting into, but I’ve already gone on for too long, so come back next week to find out how our “date” went.

 

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Filed under DESTINATIONS, DFW Metroplex, Restaurants & Bars, Road Trips, TRAVEL