Venturing Out to the Rim

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Having a weekend day free - and feeling a touch of cabin fever after four days of ice-cold-oh-my-heck-I-think-I'm-gonna-freeze-winter-weather (San Antonio style), the Daughter Unit and I felt a deep need to get up and get out someplace. Like to a movie - and what about (suggested the Daughter Unit, with a calculating look) seeing a movie at the Palladium! Yes, indeed - said the Daughter Unit with that expression of calculated pleading that she has perfected since she was about four years old - let's go see . . . The King's Speech at the Palladium! Eh - me, I'd have held out for the remake of True Grit, but seeing that practically everyone who had watched The Kings' Speech was singing hosannas of jubilant praise . . . why the heck not?

So we hastened hither, intending to catch a mid-afternoon matinee - it's been out for simply weeks, who the heck could have anticipated that the showing was sold out? Well, anyone cognizant of the size of the theater, and the relatively few yet luxuriously sumptuous seats within, might have foretold this. We bought tickets for a late afternoon show, and went to wander around the Rim . . . starting with the Bass Pro Shop, which we have observed from IH-10 at 60 MPH for many months as we high-tailed it up to the Hill Country for book events. Oh, my: Picture a retail outdoor sporting goods venue blown up to the size of an aircraft hangar and styled like a mad collision between an Adirondack lodge and a natural history museum featuring natural dioramas stocked with taxidermic examples of every kind of game animal, fish or bird native to the North American continent - all that and a two-story tall waterfall, which fell into an indoor pond stocked with real (and quite sizable) samples of game fish.

Occasionally being possessed of a mad impulse to commune with the great outdoors on a 24-7 basis, we wandered upstairs to the camp equipment and housewares department - heavy on stuff to be taken to a hunt camp to prepare food with, either for consumption or for storage. In the case of Lodge brand cast iron cookware, heavy indeed. We admired a very clever little camp oven, to be mounted on top of a standard Coleman camp stove, although the Daughter Unit insisted that the vintage Kangaroo Kitchen camp cooking unit that she found at a garage sale (propane burner, griddle, grilling rack and stove, packed neatly into a little aluminum case the size of a briefcase) was a much more convenient and transportable gadget. And then we were diverted into the aisle of materials and spices for jerky and sausage preparation.

The Daughter Unit loves home-cured sausage and smoked jerky - and since I already have a small dehydrator unit - and the sausage-stuffing attachment for my Kitchenaid, she promptly became enamored of the possibilities for home-made jerky. And all that it took from that point on was the helpful advice of the salesman on duty in that department. His name is Albert, by the way - and he has learned everything about everything in his department. He only works on weekends, though. The Daughter Unit came away with a single packet for making beef jerky and Albert's advice for buying cuts of beef Milanese in bulk . . . I'll have a report by next weekend, on how it all works out.

Oh, and The King's Speech was very good - although I am wondering if much of the happy praise for it isn't just a reaction - so many of the other current movies currently available suck worse than a Hoover factory.