Who You Know

It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

Welcoming, cheerful, friendly, outgoing, obliging, sociable, kind, helpful, accommodating. I’m running out of adjectives.  

I know you have met them. Recently, I have, too. And I find them amazing.

These are the people who work in Convention and Visitors Bureaus, in Welcome Stations, in Tourist Information booths, and as docents in Historic homes. How on earth do they keep from getting cranky or cross? I suppose it’s because they wouldn’t choose these jobs if they didn’t truly enjoy helping people every hour of every day. And they do.

As part of setting up the tours for our new Party-van, (hereinafter known to one and all as the Joye-mobile), I have had a chance to meet the most delightful group of people that I never knew existed.

Last week I was in Fredericksburg setting up the tours for the June 10-14 German Colonies tour. After a stop in Shiner, we’ll stay 2 nights in New Braunfels and two nights in Fredericksburg, so, I stopped in at the Convention and Visitors Bureau in Fredericksburg to make arrangements.

The lovely Jan Musgrove greeted me and welcomed me to her office. For an hour, she provided information, helped organize tours, recommended restaurants, laid out options and suggested ideas for my guests that I would never have thought of. Even as my friend Marsha and I regretfully eased out the door, Jan was still happily handing us brochures and flyers for this restaurant or that winery.

The only challenge is that I felt dreadful that we weren’t spending at least a month in her wonderful town. Even after I got home, she emailed and followed up with more suggestions and information. She is still hard at work getting reservations for our group at just the kind of historic bed and breakfasts that I was looking for. She has made Fredericksburg a real treat for me and for all my future guests.

Yesterday I drove up to Nacogdoches (with a stop in Crockett to see my web designer) to set up a day-tour for our wonderful Sunday School class. The day before, while seated at lunch with a table-full of ladies, I mentioned that I was going to Nac, as the locals call it. Judy, seated across from me, surprised me when she said she was from there. She said I should look up Michael Bay at the Information Center. “Tell him Judy Lee says hi!” she said. Since she had not seen or heard from him in years, I felt certain nothing would come of it.

I walked into the Charles Bright Visitors’ Center on Main Street in Nacogdoches and was welcomed by a tall, slender, affable, white-haired gentleman. Without noticing his name badge, I explained what I needed. He smiled and immediately pulled out maps, brochures, booklets and flyers for me. With a yellow marker and a map, he indicated places to go and things to see. When I told him we had a big van, he promised to mark off a parking space for us right next to the Visitors’ Center.

“And your name is . . .?” I said and then looked at his name badge. Sure enough. Michael Bay.

“Judy Lee said to tell you HI!” We both laughed in amazement. Nearly thirty years earlier, he explained, they had been high school friends. Judy had been the Drum Majorette and very popular, but she had moved away and hadn’t been back in all that time. They still remembered each other.

Michael sent me on my way to visit the Sterne-Hoya House, the Durst-Taylor Historic Home and the Old Stone Fort. Once again, the docents and guides welcomed me with kindness and courtesy. Justin Oakley at the Sterne-Hoya House set up a guided tour for us, and then texted Kelly at the Durst-Taylor House that I was coming over. She promised that we would receive the royal treatment.

When I finally reached the Old Stone Fort on the Stephen F. Austin Campus, I was greeted by Mark Musquiz, their youthful, energetic director. He was distraught that they already had a tour for the morning but assured me they would welcome us in the afternoon. Thanks to the kindness of Justin and Kelly, I reversed the schedule and our tour was set.

Mark, by the way, is a descendant of the Musquiz family of 1700s San Antonio. The fort even has some of his ancestor’s letters, which he and I both agreed are almost impossible to read. We laughed at the thought that our families might have been related way back, since my family came to Texas in the 1790s. As they say among the old Tejano families, “Todos somos primos.” (We are all cousins).  

And what on earth have I been thinking? I haven’t even gotten in touch with my East Texas Historical Association colleague, President Scott Sosebee. He is a long-time professor at SFA in Nacogdoches, and we are coming to visit his town!

So, it’s true. It’s not what you know, it’s WHO you know! And what a great group of people to know!

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