Sully’s Place is an Aggie’s paradise. From the hardwood dance floor to the Aggie-themed wall hangings to the mural of Sully on the front porch, this cabin brims with tradition. Like the story of Rock and Danielle, we invite you and your lover to go on a journey and reminisce about those sacred days you spent on campus.
Bernard grew up on a small, small farm in South Texas, not far from the border, but by the standards of his parents and his grandparents, it was a good farm and in the path where the history of Texas was made.
His parents named him after a good friend that made it back from Vietnam, but died in an accident working cattle in some old pens that gave way when a bull had had enough for the day. Bernard was born a few weeks later. As he grew up, friends called him “Rock” since he’d watched, then helped, his Dad rebuild those pens out of rock. In fact, one of Rock’s first words was……..rock.
From that early age, he just knew he wanted to be a “Fightin’ Texas Aggie.” It was just in his blood. Oh, there were cousins that sadly preferred the other school east of A&M and Rock sat through many a Thanksgiving football massacre in front of the old black and white Zenith television at his Grandmother’s frame house, just 2 miles away, but Rock never swayed from his innate desire to study at Texas A&M University. He knew he wanted to study animal science. Why not? That, too, was in his blood.
So it was, when Rock turned eighteen and pulled off that cap and gown in the football stadium after his high school graduation, he hauled hay for the summer and then loaded up his pickup with a few clothes and headed north to College Station to join the Corps of Cadets. He listened to Bob Wills on an eight track player mounted under the seat. Windows down, he was flying.
Coming from the other direction, in a compact car with Merle Haggard singing louder than ever, Danielle sang with him, her windows down, too, thrilled at the thought of freedom from a large family and the first day of college. She had debated over attending Texas University or Texas A&M and in the end, chose that Aggie Spirit. She just knew she had to go and go she did. With a great clock radio, some new jeans, old boots and lots of hair products, she was on her way.
The big family she’d been raised in all wished her well and those still living at home lined up in the yard to wave goodbye as she backed out of the drive and past the trap where her horse leaned on the fence and gave her a look of wonder as she drove off on the county road. Her horse would not be idle long. There were five brothers and sisters ready for their chance at a 4-H ribbon. One thing a big family teaches you about is sharing.
At A&M, Rock and Danielle dove into being Aggies with enormous enthusiasm. There was lots to learn and it was a great place to learn it. Instantly, they made great friends and both of them muddled through their unenviable share of mistakes. It’s just that way and an unavoidable part of life. But each mistake and slight humiliation taught them more and more about life and more and more about friendship. They realized that it’s the Aggie way. You can be wrong, just don’t be wrong long.
Sure, they found love in those first years at school, and although it was young love, it was bittersweet. They both knew that these were the years to choose wisely and to look at life carefully. Some of their loving relationships were just not meant to be and graduate school was calling.
While friends were planning weddings and weddings were taking place, both Rock and Danielle faced each day of class wearing no other ring but their Aggie ring and traveling every other weekend to watch their friends exchange diamond rings and walk down the aisle as man and wife.
Time passed. Rock and Danielle took jobs in the same department on campus, yet Rock never laid eyes on this blue-eyed country girl from Central Texas until that night at eleven o’clock, across a crowded dance floor at a popular Aggie hangout. He knew he had to meet her. She was calm, content and solid in her confidence. Unlike so many other girls eyeing the dance floor and scanning the crowd for a dance partner, she just stood there with a couple of friends, comfortable in her own skin. Refreshing.
He was intrigued. He thought, “Why is she drinking from her bottle out of the side of her mouth? Why had he never seen her before this moment?” He had to meet her.
This was easy, easy, easy for Rock as his parents taught him to be friendly and outgoing. He could make a connection with any stranger within moments of meeting, so Rock approached, but his pulse jumped. Whatever she wore as a fragrance enveloped him in an instant. He retreated to the bar for another look from a different point of view.
She was graceful and she seemed gentle, but not weak. She had a demeanor that he couldn’t place, but it was a great comfort. She laughed and it was real. As Rock watched from a distance, a tall cowboy asked her to dance. His heart jumped, but this was a good test to see what would happen, how she could dance. Danielle and the stranger moved to the dance floor.
As she danced, she floated. Her graceful movement was connected and her style was not that of a flirt, but more of a lady. When the dance was over, she thanked him, he tipped his hat and she returned to her friends. Rock moved in for an introduction. She turned to face him and she swallowed hard.
He had that air about him that made her comfortable. He was funny, kind and well, generous with his ear. He asked simple questions and he listened to her talk. She had a country girl’s accent and a bit of a husky sound, although she was thin and fit and tan, she had a sensual lilt to whatever she said and he did all he could to keep her talking so he could hear that voice.
She agreed to a dance and then another and then at last call, they exchanged numbers. Time passed, evenings together passed, so many dances, so many turns, so many laughs, so many quarters in the juke box. So much beer!
Twelve years later, she still drinks out of the side of her mouth for no particular reason. He can still strike up a conversation with anyone he meets, anywhere. And Rock and his blue-eyed Central Texas country girl have five little blonde haired, blue-eyed Aggies in training, some in car seats and some old enough to read the map as they make their way to family gatherings at Thanksgiving where the new generation of cousins that prefer the other school down the road take their teasing while adjusting the reception on the big, flat screen TV at Grandma’s house. Some traditions are just timeless.
Sully’s Place is set to remind you of a classic country dance hall, complete with dance floor, dart board, and neon signs. We hope you have someone whom with you can dance the night away.
Short Story Collaboration by Carol Conlee, first proprietress of 7F Lodge, and Donna Garrett
Post: Corinne Johnigan and Caroline Stockdale, Social Media Interns