Thursday, March 19, 2015

Chicken Ranch report no. 52: Lions!

La Grange Noon Lions Club, Chicken Ranch
I returned to La Grange today to give a Chicken Ranch presentation to the Noon Lions Club. This marks the fourth time in the past 18 months that I've been invited to that town to speak about the infamous brothel. Since many of these people lived through the events I've researched and written about, I have to believe I'm doing something right for them to keep bringing me back!

What a great bunch of people! I met so many friendly and enthusiastic folks today that everyone's names just became a big jumble once all was said and done. The running joke of the day was that I was going to ask everyone who'd visited the Chicken Ranch as a customer to stand up. I never put that question to the group, but I believe just about every other person who stood up to talk did! Since this was a lunch meeting and the membership presumably had jobs and lives to get back to, I had only a 15 minute time slot to work with. Anyone who's seen my full presentation knows I can easily fill an hour with lots of content to spare. So, rather than do my usual reading and discussion, I opted for a condensed slide show. Good call. The rare photos got a lot of attention and we had a lively talk about the various fake Chicken Ranch memorabilia available online. The ensuing Q&A session ran over long, so we cut it short, wrapped up the meeting, and then I stayed on for another half hour answering the eager questions from the club members who didn't have to get back to work. I sold a few books in the parking lot and a huge stack of my Ghosts of the Chicken Ranch postcards vanished as just about everyone present took one. Many made me promise to let them know once my actual history book on the Chicken Ranch becomes available.

After the dust settled, I had a nice long sit-down with author Joy Jones, who is writing a historical novel featuring some of the characters from events surrounding the Chicken Ranch closure, and was looking to nail down some details about them and their lives. I was a lot of fun, and I'm looking forward to seeing her novel when it comes out.

Finally, on the drive back to New Braunfels, I saw a blimp flying over Flatonia. It was too hazy for me to make out any details, but the mere sight of such a massive airship floating in the sky was enough to get my heart thumping. Yes, I've got a serious thing for dirigibles, and would very much love to see a cruise industry emerge based around the enormous passenger liners like the Graf Zeppelin. At any rate, I took the blimp sighting as a good omen and smiled the rest of the way home.

Now Playing: Genesis The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway
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