Texas July 1979

This one is dedicated to my good friend and UT graduate notdoobs.

It’s only me and Lizard in the truck, I guess the way things turned out I guess I might be considered the wingman. A word about the Lizard moniker, it was an homage to the Lizard King Jim Morrison of The Doors and our love of 60s and 70s music, I can’t believe the junk the kids at work listen to but a few are somewhat knowledgeable of real music from the stuff their parents played.

Lizard had some concert connections and he was able to secure us area passes to Willie Nelson’s Fourth of July Picnic at his country club just outside of Austin, more on that later.

The weekend started on Friday evening at the historic Driskill Hotel in Austin for the press party and all the freebies that came with it.

It was crawling/swarming with ladies of the evening and Lizard with his gift of gab was able to procure one and her services pro bono for the weekend.

Somehow we made it to


edit coming.

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I did an edit but there was a computer cramp just like the original post, I just noticed it. See above for the start of the story.

Somehow we make it to Willie’s country club and armed with area passes, not stage, we set up shop next to the putting green in my truck with me sleeping in the cab and Lizard and his new “friend” slept in the bed of my truck.

Willie would emerge every morning clad only in his Texas flag shorts for his morning run, the man was in great shape.

National acts were coming and going landing on the putting green, one of them moved my 48 quart full of beer and ice several feet.

A helicopter carrying Johnny Paycheck’s crew landed and asked if we would help carry some equipment on stage. I was lucky to get the pedal steel guitar which weighed several tons but I was young and playing lots of sports so it was no problem.

We get on stage with our bogus press passes and next thing I know I’m standing next to University of Texas legend, NFL MVP at the peak of his career, Houston Oiler future Hall of Famer Earl Campbell.

Willie Nelson was playing maybe fifteen feet away with thousands of peons pressed against a chain link fence and I’m standing next to Earl and this is as good as it gets. I was a season ticket holder at the time, about 135 dollars in 1979 money when a normal working stiff could afford it.

After about an hour security came and asked who we were with and I slurred Houston Chronicle. They didn’t buy it and we were ejected off stage to our spot at the putting green.

We spent pretty much the rest of the weekend in the very nice pool listening to music.

We were having such a good time my truck “developed” a starter problem and we called in on Monday for more pool time this being Texas in July.

Lizard’s hooker? Don’t know but I’m sure she somehow slithered her way back to Austin.

Let’s talk food. I have no clue what we ate but there was beer involved.

All these years later it just occurred to me I should have brought my golf clubs as I could knock it around pretty well. Can I get a mulligan?


Not Doobs you should have been there. It had everything Texas, Driskell Hotel. Willie Nelson, Earl, great music, a cool pool in July, can we contact Sherman and Mr. Peabody with the way back machine and have us transported back for a weekend?

Wanna talk Austin?

The Driskill - I love that old hotel. My late sister and I stayed there one weekend visiting friends ca. 1993. We didn’t have reservations but called them when we got to town and they apologized for only having one room left but it was a two bedroom suite across the hall from the LBJ suite. For the inconvenience, they would let us have it for a regular room rate. I think it was $65/night. Later we saw a ghost in the lobby. No kidding.

Willie - I’ve seen Willie Nelson more times than I can remember. I went to the 1980 Family Picnic out at his ranch near Dripping Springs. I stayed at UT for the summer session and I loved it. It was my favorite of the ten semesters I spent at Texas. Just a great summer.

Earl Campbell - I started at UT the year after Earl left. It was also the year he tore up the NFL as a rookie, (1978) and had that amazing Monday Night game against Miami. He came back in the spring to finish his speech degree and the promise he made to his mama and actually lived in the athletic dorms at Jester. I saw him in the cafeteria all the time. An amazing giant of a man.

Great Music - Well…yeah. I saw Stevie Ray Vaughan doing a sound check at the Rome Inn about 1979. Just the band and me and my buddy while they warmed up for an hour in the middle of a Saturday afternoon. Chilling. Same buddy was something of a celebrity artist in the Austin punk rock scene. I was a regular at Club Foot, The Continental and Raul’s.

Cool pool - Barton Springs and Hamilton’s Pool. Again, the summer of 1980. Delicious.

Yeah, see if Sherm and Peabody have room for one more. But don’t even think about trying to talk me into hitting Hippie Hollow you hairy ape! :grin:

To make this a food post:

I miss Mad Dog & Beans, Casita Jorge’s, Night Hawk, Abbey Inn and GM Steakhouse.

I know everyone says that Austin “isn’t as great as it used to be” and that it was at its “very best” during that brief period when “you” were there, but everyone says that because it’s true.

It really is.


My first year at TAMU was Earl’s last season at UT. I was not a sports fan. I went to visit friends at Dobie Hall one weekend. The elevators to their room were huge and tons of kids lived there, so we just stuffed ourselves in there when one became available and it was a Friday night and rowdy in that elevator. One of my buddies said something about Earl Campbell and I said,

“Who’s Earl Campbell?”

Remember the old EF Hutton commercials? Instant silence as all the “well on the way to inebriated” folks on the elevator stared at me. After a beat, everyone said, IN UNISON,


Luckily it was time to get off that elevator.

The next day we went to Conan’s Pizza on 6th St. and Hamilton Pool.


I was at that game and every game he played as an Oiler. Food, I’m sure I opened with my usual a really good hot ham on rye from the deli behind the west end zone washed down by bad dome foam.

I spent my summers in San Marcos during the late 70s when my brother went to school there. I went to Barton Springs a couple of times but never made it to Hamilton’s Pool although we tubed the crystal clear San Marcos River many times and on occasion the Guadalupe.

Sometimes we would snorkel the river and also sneak into Aquarena Springs snorkeling the probably thirty food depths that were full of fish.

Food, Herberts’s Taco Hut, Gil’s Fried Chicken, Grins for burgers, OST chicken fried steak, and a couple of times Salt Lick BBQ in driftwood.

We had all the Texas food groups covered. I’ve read Salt Lick was better back then and we loved it getting the all you can eat family style.