I lived here a full 20 years before understanding that phrase, something Jer’s aunt uses to emphasize things that require, well, emphasis. It’s the Texan way to say something is really damn…something – an underline beneath a word. As in, “Boy howdy it’s hot, ya’ll!” or “Did you see that football game? Boy howdy!” In some cultures and parts of the country the same effect is achieved through the use of “Oy” but in the Texan language things are generally drawn out and exaggerated a touch. Just the way I like it.
I only mention this because this morning I found myself walking the aisles of the most magnificent store in Austin. It’s a place I visited a few times as a girl when I rode horses and when we kept some hoof stock in our backyard, right there in downtown Georgetown. If the small feed store in our area didn’t have just the right item needed, we’d make the trek down south to Callahan’s General Store and, boy howdy, I’ve had a place in my heart for it ever since.
The store is massive and easily covers a few acres. Half is just a warehouse stuffed full of every type of animal feed imaginable along with adult poultry species if you’re not in the market for the baby peeps they always stock inside. Feed bins, head gates, fencing material, and every other sort of farm accessory is housed in the glorious expanse of the warehouse. But it’s the inside of this store that lures me out despite the drive, especially on days when I just feel like crap and need a little boost. Maybe it’s the simplicity of it all. The concept is based on old fashioned general stores. Here you find a one stop shop to cure all that ails you and grow all that feeds you. Shoot ya’ll, there’s even a section devoted entirely to jeans and boots. Old fashioned stoves and fridges. Hardware. Saddles. Honey. Cheesemaking equipment. And did I mention the family that serves up fresh bbq in the parking lot all weekend long? Did I mention that??
I used to look at that store longingly any time I found myself in the area, pressed my face against the car window and wondered how to be a member of the club that shops at Callahan’s. Sure, you can go in anytime regardless of your “status” in the ag world, but unless you have a lot of confidence, you’ll feel a little silly. So on days like today when I’m a little run down, a little dark about our progress towards building that damn house and waking up daily on the land, I find a stroll through Callahan’s to be just the tonic needed. Because I’m a member now. I can order breeder cubes and Blue Lotion with the best of ’em. I can plunk down a tub of udder balm and layer pellets at the register like I mean it, grab some pickling salts, and a pair of cowhide work gloves to boot. Regardless of where I wake up in the mornings, I’ve still got cattle to tend, hay to haul, and donkeys to groom (don’t even think of judging).
It’s not a house on a hill but damn it feels good to walk around that place with a purpose. Oh – the healing powers of bbq bought in a dusty parking lot next to real-deal cowboys! Boy. Howdy.