A bad trick turns into a great night

Talk about a day of ups and downs and back up again! Saturday was one of those days.

Two months ago, I purchased a pair of tickets to see Ray Wylie Hubbard at the historic Paramount Theater in downtown Austin. I’ve seen Ray Wylie perform before, and I’ve interviewed him for this newspaper. My girlfriend was excited too, as she reserved a room for us at the historic Stephen F. Austin Hotel located right next door to the Paramount. 

The day started off with a visit to the San Marcos Outlet Mall followed by a nice lunch at Cody’s. When we got to Austin, our room wasn’t ready so we meandered our way over to the Driscoll Hotel. I had never been to either the Driscoll or the Stephen F. Austin, so it was a real thrill for me to see both of these legendary classic hotels in person for the first time. 

We spent about 90 minutes walking through the hotels, and went back to the registration desk to get our room. When we got there the attendant said he was sorry, but our room was still not ready.

That little bit of news should have been a harbinger of things to come. After calmly explaining to the attendant that it was already two and one-half hours past check-in time, he upgraded our room. We had time to spare so we ambled down to the second-floor patio at the hotel, and the view was incredible. Not only could we see the neon Paramount Theater sign lit up, but just to the left of that was a majestic view of the Texas Capitol Building lit up under a clear evening sky. The view was magnificent, and I didn’t want to leave. I just felt like sitting there and staring at the view. It was almost an Otis Redding-type moment, Sitting on the Dock of the Bay.

We then went back to the hotel room, changed clothes and grabbed our tickets to the Ray Wylie show. That’s when the trouble really started. 

As we were standing in line, an employee of the theater came out and askedeveryone in line for their COVID vaccine cards.

“Oh no!” I exclaimed. “I didn’t know we had to bring our cards to this event.”

Well, my girl had wisely taken a picture of her card and had hers with her. I was up the creek without a paddle, as I had not.

“I’ve had both shots and the booster,” I explained to the door man. That got me nowhere. I tried another tactic.

“I’ve met Ray and Judy (Ray’s wife) and interviewed him before so maybe they can vouch for me,” I pleaded. That brought the manager over. 

“If you go to the CVS store down the street two blocks and get a negative test, I’ll let you in,’’ the manager said.

So off we went to the CVS store. It was 7:30 p.m., and the pharmacy was already closed.

“Oh no,” I moaned. “I’m not going to get in and it’s my own fault.”

We walked back to the theater and I informed the manager the CVS was closed. He called Judy Hubbard and asked if she knew me. She said she did not remember, and that hurt my ego even more.

“Give me something, sir, that shows you’ve been vaccinated--anything,” he said.

Then I remembered I had taken pictures of Judy and Ray after his show at the Saxon Pub a few months before. We had to show proof of vaccination there so I took out my phone and showed him the pictures of me with Ray, Judy and friends.

“That’s proof!” he exclaimed and my hopes soared and the smile returned. “You could not have gotten into that show if you had not been immunized so go on in.”

Thank God. Once inside, we were surprised when Ray brought out Hayes Carll to the stage and the two of them played acoustic music by themselves for a half hour on his 75th birthday. Then the whole crowd sang Happy Birthday to Ray Wylie.

He opened his show with the song Bad Trick, and I couldn’t help but think I almost had a Bad Trick and didn’t see the concert. 

Thanks to Chip at the theater, I saw one heckuva show.

But I did this as soon as I got home: I took a picture of my vaccination card. Now it goes with me everywhere.

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