Keep Fixing Up the Doghouse

Linda Burton posting from Austin, Texas — When you’re in Austin you expect live music with your Sunday brunch. Threadgill’s North wasn’t too far away, easy choice. Good home cooking, biscuits, gravy, and even those “cheesey grits” Mitt Romney mentioned eating in Alabama yesterday, obviously not up on the subtleties of grits.

Hank & Shaidri Alrich were already singing when I arrived, sweet voices carrying over the noise of hungry people in the middle of Sunday social time. More coffee please, yes, I’ll have the buffet. No brainer — not only cheesey grits, but cheesey eggs, sausage, bacon, pancakes, french toast, cantaloupe, go back twice. A family place, bouncy kids in high chairs, energy alive.

“Don’t fix up the doghouse, cause this old dog is gone….” sounded clear over the commotion, followed by pithy warnings about not taking wooden nickles either. Don’t even bother taking off your makeup, cause I’ve found a new address, and, bottom line, I’m gone. Two men in dark jackets-over-jeans whipped out their cell phones and started recording, captured and enraptured.

They were SXSW junkies, here from Chicago for face-to-face time, marketing moguls after the hottest trends. “It’s my first time,” the one named Lazarus told me, “but I’ll come back next year for sure.”

I bought a CD (are they still in style?) and chatted with Hank during the break. Hank was an Austin fixture for many years, at one time managing the Armadillo World Headquarters, steering through hard times of the 70’s. “I live in northern California now,” he said. “A peaceful place, the Sierras out my door. When we turn out our lights at night, there is no light anywhere around.”

This old dog is gone? Not quite. Hank and daughter Shaidri bring their music back to Austin several times a year. Live on, legends Kenneth Threadgill, and Eddie Wilson, and all who keep fixing up the doghouse. That’s Threadgill’s. Dang, it’s good.