It was the best of times. Period. If anything at all went wrong this past week, it escaped my notice (or I just forgot). The “Twelve Days of Aqua Boom” (more or less) are over, and my head is still spinning, but I would have to say that it was a tremendous success!

1 john hallowell editor lg       Two of the most amazing news items I heard this week (and one of them wasn’t an Aqua Boom item) were: 1) The visit of the Publishers Clearing House crew to Kingsland, and 2) the spectacular generosity of KLBJ radio personality Chris Heerlein.

       Publishers Clearing House stopped at H.E.B. in Kingsland to get helium for the celebratory balloons they presented (along with a bottle of champagne and a $1 million “check”) to a Buchanan Dam woman last Friday. (See, they really do exist. This is NOT “fake news!”)

       Chris Heerlein, who co-hosts the “Retire Ready” radio show with Sandra Newman every Saturday on KLBJ in Austin (I believe they are also co-owners of Reap Financial), has a vacation home here in Kingsland, and visits frequently. He was impressed by the Aqua Boom festival, and came by the Chamber booth at the lakeside park on Tuesday to buy THREE THOUSAND raffle tickets! There was no guarantee that he would win, but he was richly rewarded for his generosity when the newly-crowned Miss Aqua Boom, Amber Dyess, drew one of his tickets and earned him the beautiful new Sea Doo from Highland Lakes Watercraft.

       That amazing purchase completed the sell-out of the 7,000 raffle tickets, but much credit is due to the Chamber volunteers who sat outside in the heat to sell tickets for the past few weeks, and also to the pageant contestants who sold tickets as part of their competition. Teen Miss Jalynn Clark was the champion in that part of the competition (and apparently in others; she beat some excellent competitors to earn her title); she sold more than $1,400 worth of tickets.

       The little “downtime” I was counting on, after hectic days from Wednesday through Saturday, was highlighted by a visit from my son and daughter-in-law. That welcome event forced some emergency house-cleaning and other preparations; they then left their dog with me on Monday while they went to Schlitterbahn! Shadow is a good dog, and we became great friends, but I didn’t accomplish much (or get much rest) that day, either.

       Tuesday was the big day, and the day I still remember clearly. An afternoon nap saved me from total collapse, and I was able to really enjoy the spectacular fireworks show which capped off the big weekend.

       Now I’m trying to regroup and prepare for the next few weeks. I’m sure I’ve forgotten some of the things I was supposed to mention, but I do have a list of important items.

       The Falls on the Colorado Museum once again will celebrate Marble Falls Founders Day from 1 to 4 p.m. this Saturday. I put it in the “Upcoming Events” article this week, but it had somehow escaped my notice up until now, and I want to mention it as much as I can.

       St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church will hold its annual Creative Arts Fair next Saturday (July 15).  Some of the items for sale include unique mosaic art; jewelry and recipe boxes of exotic woods; a variety of aprons, microwave bowls, rugs, burlap crosses; one-of-a-kind jewelry, handmade rosaries, sea glass angels and more. The Hill Country Community Theatre will present “9 to 5: The Musical” from July 20 through August 6.  Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays and 2:15 p.m. on Sundays. Based on the hit movie with music and lyrics by Dolly Parton, “9 to 5” is a story of friendship and revenge in the Rolodex era. The title song has become the working woman’s anthem.

       My friend Dana Wright, from Llano, has written a new book called “Saving Stories: Afternoons with Darrell.” It comes from a series of interviews with local legend Darrell Staetler, who wrote a bunch of songs for George Strait, including the #1 hit, “A Fire I Can’t Put Out.” Darrell, who is also one of my good friends from Llano, has a lot of fascinating stories to tell; I’m eagerly awaiting the autographed copy of the book that Dana promised me (and I’ll tell you more about it when I read it).

       This is probably enough for now. I’ll try to catch up on the other things by next week.

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