During our last
visit to Buda we noticed
something was missing. It was a major landmark of downtown Buda. It was
the old Buda Taxi and it wasn't there anymore.
The taxi was there the first time we saw Buda.
It sat for years in front of Don's Den Antiques. We grew used to seeing
it there. It was proof that after the long winding mile and a half from I-35,
we had finally reached the center of town. We never got around to ask anyone about
it. And now we were sorry.
sat there as an enigma. A screaming yellow haiku. A Zen poem with the meter running.
What is the sound of one tire squealing?
Was it for real? Did Don receive calls over a wall-mounted telephone and close
up shop to take Mrs. Sizemore to the grocery store? It was doubtful, but there
it was. Even if its name was put on the door with electrician's tape, if it said
Buda Taxi, why question it? It was a taxi. It was in Buda. Case closed.
the word Taxi by itself is mysterious. It is known in every language, yet
no one knows where it originated. Buda is said to be a corruption of the Spanish
word "Viuda" or widow. When you put them together you have a perfect balance of
vowels and consonants in each four letter word. When you spell Buda Taxi backward,
you get Ixatadub, which would fit right in on a Yucatan map and would in
fact be easier to pronounce than many Mayan villages.
yesterday, while disoriented in the Lost Pines of Bastrop County, we spied
a yellow car parked in front of a cluster of antique stores at Alum Creek.
This Hwy 71 landmark resembles a frontier settlement and has for nearly
30 years. Closer examination showed that the yellow car was indeed the legendary
Taxicab of Buda.
Now going through the cluster of antique stores in broad daylight was like the
deserted desert fort scene in Beau Geste. But instead of finding dead Legionaires,
we found two interesting, and very alive people. Although in separate shops, both
were reading, and both had dogs within petting range. To add to the coincidence,
they were both married. And to each other!
They were Adam Monroe, Bookseller, and his wife Merle, who
runs Merle's Shoppe which is full of antiques ranging from doorknobs to
reasonably priced old prints. Adam is currently at war with silverfish and is
perfecting his bookbinding skills. Merle is busy reading Adam's books, to insure
that they are indeed "used". Daisy Mae, Freckles and Nana are in charge of Canine
Leisure Activities. Merle and Adam told us to return on Friday when Don himself
would be available to answer any questions about the car.
do as we're told and Friday found us darkening the door of Don's Den. Don
Hallock rose to greet us and we were surprised at his youth. When meeting
antique store owners one usually expects Wallace Beery or maybe Burgess Meredith.
(Louisiana antique stores usually have Strother Martin or Truman Capote look-a-likes).
While we're off the subject completely, let's not forget Ruth Gordon.
the Den of Antiquity
Don's Den is about 60% old toys. Mostly die-cast cars, trucks, airplanes and buses
which every baby boomer male would remember. These were durable toys and many
are the men who now wear a Tonka-inflicted scar. The rest of the store's stock
is an assortment of bottles, magazines, books, photographs, and other stuff that
one finds in antique stores, except here the quality is higher and the prices
are reasonable. It's definitely a store for collectors.
to the Taxi. It.s a 1948 6-cylinder Chevrolet and it was bought by Don
from a roadside lot in Leander. It wasn't originally a taxi, but it has
played one in parades. People did indeed ask Don to drive them to San
Marcos when he was in Buda,
and that's when he had to tell the truth about the car. Besides, the meter was
in the trunk and the Buda Taxi-Inspector's Office frowns on that sort of thing.
car sports a hood ornament of a winged chrome nymph with wings that light up.
Picture Tinkerbell with breast augmentation. Other touches include a pair of vise-grips
to control the window mechanism and a sun visor with pin-up girls literally pinned
up to the visor's fabric with pins. Although the car sat in Buda for 14 years,
it still runs like a top and Don says getting parts is no problem.
future of the Buda Taxi
has moved to Smithville
because it reminds him of what Buda used to be like. It also has an airfield which
allows him to park his plane. The relocation necessitates a name change for the
cab, but the four-letter-word balance won't be disturbed. Only two letters will
be changed making it: The Alum Taxi.
Copyright John Troesser