Hi Ho, Hico – The Friendliest Little Town ‘Where Everybody is Somebody!’

This past saturday was the 5th Annual Scott Kelby Worldwide Photo Walk. It was my 3rd one to participate in and my first time to visit the small town of Hico, Texas.

Last year’s group that I participated with, was so welcoming and such a pleasure to be with that I had already decided to join them again this year…wherever they went. After the announcement came out in regard to the exact day of this year’s walk, I immediately signed up to join Maureen and her group. That is when I discovered this year’s treasure hunt would be in a location about two hours south of me in famed, Hico. Hico is known for being the rumored home of Brushy Bill, aka Billy the Kid. Seems he didn’t really die of a gunshot by Pat Garrett but ended up living his last days in Hico. For more on this, visit the museum’s site here.

I am currently a busy-bee working to get all my photos from this weekend’s walk completed so that I can load them on our group’s Photo Walk website. I will most likely be posting several photos and details of the walk over the next few days but for now, wanted to share some of the highlights – along with a wonderful experience that one of my photographer friends and fellow-walker shared at the end of our day. One that made us leave Hico feeling a little bit taken back. Back in time, that is. It was not at all what we had been prepared for that morning.

You see, it was brought to my attention that another photographer had taken his own journey in Hico a couple of years ago and had shared on a Photo Forum that his experience was…well…let’s just say he was not received well. He described his visit in the town and it sounded so unpleasant that I felt perhaps our walk leader might want to know just to be on guard in the case what this person had written was true. Knowing that many times one person’s experience can be a result of their own attitude, may it be good or bad, we knew to take it with a grain of salt and proceed ahead. Yet being on guard and prepared – just in case.

I was graced with the presence of three other very special people on this walk in addition to those we would be meeting in town. My new-old friend (don’t ask) and now FotogFriend, Carol joined me and we met my Mom and Dad for the day’s adventure.

As soon as we arrived and stepped out of the car, this bundle of energy came bouncing out of the Billy the Kid museum asking us what we were doing there. Uh-oh, I thought. Is it starting already? Is what that person wrote in the forum really true? Are we going to be asked to leave?

No. In fact, it was just the opposite. What began to spill from the mouth of this woman who greeted us was unexpected. She told us if she had known we were coming, she would have arranged for people in costume to be there to greet us and give us some additional subjects to photograph. She encouraged us to come back the next time they have their reenactments in town or to at least let her know if we’d be coming that way again in the future. It was a wonderful way to be welcomed in this town!

After everyone arrived and we were following our leader to the spot where we would take our Group Photo, we were stopped by a lady in a pickup who pulled over to ask us what we were doing. OK, is this is? Is this going to be the first experience of what it’s like to be shunned in a small town? Again, exactly the opposite! After explaining what we were in town for, she proceeded to share all the nuggets of the town, the hidden gems and recommended photo opps we may otherwise have missed. She then continued on to encourage us to walk down to a house that she owns and feel free to go on the property and take all the photos we want. Hmm, doesn’t sound at all like we are not welcomed.

We continued on through town and stopped here and there taking photos. When we approached the old Hico Opera House, now home to Homestead Antiques, we were greeted once again. This time I expected true southern hospitality and that is exactly what we got. This gentleman who was seated out front, encouraged us to go in the old opera house/antique store and feel free to take photos inside. He said he knows the owners and just knew they would welcome us. So in we went.

As we were about to go inside, a gentlemen walked out and laughingly said, “Hey, take my picture.” So I did!

After returning to the front door, the gentleman who had encouraged us to go inside was sitting at his small table that was set up with bags and bags (and bags and bags) of fresh pecans. Some were covered in a honey glaze and were calling my name. So I purchased a bag to bring home. I have to say, they are VERY delicious (and almost gone!) We chatted and laughed for a bit and then I asked if I could take his photo.

He graciously agreed, so here is my new friend who I call, PecanMan Ray:

After our walk was complete, we had all planned to meet up at the famous Koffee Kup Restaurant that is known for its pies.

 

This is where we were taken back in time and was a nice ending to a wonderful day. Not just because the pies are truly heavenly, but because of the experience of true small-town hospitality. (Side note: Carol and I had the Blueberry-Banana and the Doctors Office icebox pies of which BOTH were absolutely worth a drive back for sometime.)

After our meal was complete, it was brought to our attention that the restaurant does not take “plastic.” (It’s been a long time since I’ve heard that phrase.) But instead, they take cash and PERSONAL CHECKS only. Really? A restaurant that accepts personal checks? Oh, it gets better!

Carol was buying lunch and before I found out this information, discovered that she needed cash and had gone to the front door where an ATM machine stood for the convenience of those who were caught off guard just as we were. She paid and we all headed back out the door, walking down the street to catch a few last shots on our way to our vehicles.

As we were casually strolling down the street, my fellow-photog-friend, Brent caught up with us. He had an astounded look on his face and couldn’t wait to share his story. He said that unknowing of the fact of our own recent discovery, he was in the process of trying to pay for he and his daughter’s meal with “plastic.” That is when he was informed that only cash and personal checks are accepted. He then made a comment that he didn’t really want to pay atm fees and the person behind the counter did the unthinkable. She handed him his ticket along with a self-addressed envelope and said, “No problem. Just mail us a check.” As anyone would be, he was a little shocked and asked, “You trust me?” “Yes, of course we do. Just mail us a check when you return home. We know you are good for it.”

This photo is taken on the main street of the town in front of the museum. You can see Brent walking across the street and my dad at the trunk of his car:

 

For a moment we were all thrown back decades into a day of trust and honor. I’m sure they will also be getting a very nice tip from him as well! He was made to feel like a Somebody. Somebody who could be trusted.

And all from the friendliest little town “Where Everybody is Somebody!”

 

 

 

 

 

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