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Hondo & Ace - About 1960


About 50 years ago the guys I am going to talk about were well known Texans. Today they have gone on to their reward, so I guess its OK to talk about them. Hondo Crouch was a writer, and assumed the air of being somewhat of a character. Maybe he was, but he also was a graduate of UT Austin, and had been an All-American swimmer. His fame somewhat skyrocketed when he bought the ruins of the little town of Luckenbach, and then someone wrote a song about 'Willie and Waylon and the Boys" and Luckenbach. Luckenbach became a popular destination, so Hondo opened up the old general store and began staging performances in the old dance hall.

Ace Reid had a somewhat different career. Ace was one of the best "Cowboy Cartoonists" that I have ever seen. Perhaps they were buddies because they both lived near Kerrville, and both had a product to sell to newspapers. One was a columnist; the other was a cartoonist.

I met them both one evening at the Inn of the Hills in Kerrville while I was attending a tourism conference there. After dinner, my friend Don Russell, President of Aquarena Springs in San Marcos, and I had stopped by the bar for a cool one. Don recognized his friend Hondo coming in, and invited him and his friend to join us at our table. The friend with him was Ace Reid.

Now Don was a good story teller, but he was also a good listener. I suppose that's why he was a good story teller. But he knew we were with two of the best story tellers in the state, and Don had a talent for asking the right questions. Hondo and Ace kept us entertained for several hours.

Although I hated to leave the table because I felt that I might miss something, I finally excused myself to go to the restroom. Only a few seconds later there was Hondo beside me. He said, "Vic, I'm going to have to take Ace home. He gets too heavy when he has too many drinks." I told him that I was sorry to see him leave. He quickly said, "Oh, I'll be right back. Y'all don't go away".

Well, I don't really know if there is a lesson in this story--except maybe that if you are going to pick friends that drink too much -- pick light ones.

Vic Mathias - May 31, 2011