Round Top, Texas…you have been invited to come with me, ok? …my friend on the other end of the phone asked.
Little did she know that Fayetteville, Round Top, Shelby, Warrenton, Willow Springs are where some of my best childhood memories were made. My family purchased a farm in the area when I was around eleven and later upgraded that property to a larger working ranch on Cummins Creek. On Saturday evenings, the biggest treat we all looked forward to was traveling the 25 minutes to Round Top and eating at the only place… the Birkelbach’s Café. Now history will show that the 60’s, 70’s, and early 80’s in Texas were fairly sweet economical years and then over night it was 1985 and everything changed. Real Estate and Oil and Gas prices fell dramatically. My Dad, being the intuitive business man, sold the ranch the year before the crash. But others got the wind knocked out of them and were hurting bad, emotionally and financially.
The Birkelbach’s were an example of an old, established family in the area who, as the story goes…. left $200 in the café’s till and gave the whole establishment to Bud Royer. Times were extremely difficult and the Birkelbach’s needed a way out and the Royer’s needed a way into another chapter of their lives. It is interesting how the world works at times. Transitions, like most change, are not easy and come with much tears and fears. The Royers started to run the
café under a new name, Royer’s Café at a time and place when people were scared, frightened, angry, blaming, pointing fingers. People wanted the old ways, to hang onto old memories and routines, ways of life, because by damn, change hurts and we don’t like it. So we pray and beg and scream toward the clouds, make it go away, make any change in front of me go back to the way it was. I want the past, we scream on our soapbox. Hum, was this 1987 or 2011? It was 1987, and some Houston family came into the area and changed the name of the café. The reception for the Royer Family into this community was not all warm and fuzzy. It wasn’t them. It was everything in the world that had changed and life hurt. As human beings if we don’t practice and walk the talk that we hear in our churches, synagogues, or mosques, if we don’t stay in love, we will move into fear. And fear can be displayed in some very mean ways.
Bud, the founder and figurehead of Royers Round Top Café (as it is now called), has stubborn tenacity, marketing and personal showmanship. Although our family had sold the L-6 and moved out of the area, there were more and more people traveling through the area from Houston and Austin. Bud looked beyond the local fears and focused on these outsiders. He offered them good tasting city food and a front porch for them to meet, greet and dream together. The result was new energy and economically growth to the area.
Returning to the Round Top area a few weeks ago, I was not surprised that Bud had helped to pull together a luncheon to introduce a new person in the neighborhood. It was Rachel Ashwell and her newest Shabby Chic Couture store. It was a pleasure to meet Rachel, and listen to her story of how she decided to purchase the property – between Shelby and Round Top – where her store and B&B are located. Welcome to the neighborhood, Rachel. http://theprairiebyrachelashwell.com/
Round Top continues to go through change. Texas, our country and the world are going through some big changes. These transitions are difficult, but it helps to have neighbors and friends to offer support and encouragement to keep us focused on being positive and optimistic. It also helps if we can
invite these people together once a month around our kitchen table to eat one of Bud’s Pies. http://store.royersroundtopcafe.com/ I know then we will make it through these tough times.
And Bud, thanks for being an example that when we go through difficult times, we need to just keep moving…the good times will return, it just might look a little different.
Update: Dream for Rain Project http://masoncoveredwagon.com/2011/10/03/dream-for-rain-fence-project/ Within 3 days of the post, I received and
installed 3 umbrellas on the property. Two days later, we had received 2.5 inches of rain. Now, I’m realistic enough to know that these 3 umbrellas didn’t bring the rain, but it is fun and a positivie action to be a part of a project that continues to Dream for Rain. Keep them coming.