When it is hot in July, where else would you go but to a cool hideout? That is just what 15 of the TIHAA and their friends did (Tom & Cindy Croissant, Gary Luckett, Bob & Cathy Reko, Mary Camara and her friend Jean Peirce, Tom & Fermina Sutter, Lonnie Buckner and friend, Mary Brown and her friends: Sylvia Cruz, Pat Harris and Martha Stewart).
First, we dined at Mamie's Kitchen. The food was average, but the company was exceptional. Pat and Shirley Callahan drove over from Sealy to join the trip, increasing our band to seventeen. After leaving Mamie's, we ran into a little delay on I10, so our bus driver showed us the backroads, along with some beautiful scenery. I had no idea that there was a polo club in Brookshire. As we traveled, I noticed that the fencing around the massive amount of acreage was the same, leading me to believe that the same person owned the land.
However, when we arrived at the Hemi Hideout it also had the same fencing. So, one of my first questions was: "Does he own all the land that uses this fencing"? The answer was that he owned over one hundred acres and the adjacent landowners had agreed to use the same fencing so outsiders could not tell where the property lines were.
Some of you may ask, "What is a Hemi Hideout"? My answer to you would be the most fabulous, extraordinary, magnificent, splendid man cave ever! The Hemi Hideout is owned by John Hovas. I believe he told his wife he was going to build a man cave to house his muscle car collection. It turned into a 21,700 sq. ft. hideout with an octagon shaped copula rising to a height of 54 feet, made of Douglas Fir that is mortise and tenon joined, and all timber pieces are secured with oak dowels. No nails and glue are needed to hold this building together. According KCI's website ,the cost of the project was $4 million. That may have been for the building itself. I would not attempt to put a value on his collection of cars and signs. John greeted us at the door welcoming us to his Hemi Hideout. He said he does not advertise the hideout and the only way we arrived there was because my friend Marion told us about it. John explained about how they had come up with the logo for the Hemi Hideout. If you look at the logo you see an elephant with a motor strapped on his back. He said that the Hemi was a motor that was used in the muscle cars, and it was so big it was like having an elephant under the hood. Then he let his interior decorator take over the tour, however, he was open for any questions that we had. She highlighted some of her favorite things about the building. One was the boards making up the paneling near his John Deer collection.
John's roots go way back in the community of Brookshire. His grandfather owned a store in the area, and when it was to be torn down, he and his father took it down board by board. They used those boards in the paneling. Another item of interest was the flying Pegasus kiddy ride. It was the attraction when Mobile would open a new gas station back in that day. It seems the story goes, if the parents would buy premium gas they would be given a token for their children to ride the Pegasus. Can you just hear those children yelling at their parents, "No, buy the premium!". It would be hard for me to pick out my favorite from the jukebox that you could play without paying or the car that was like a chameleon changing colors depending on the lighting. John's collection is pristine. The show "American Pickers" wanted to come and film a segment there, but he said the problem was nothing is for sale. However, his wife disagrees. She has a sign that says, "This is not a museum - everything is for sale!" John was a wonderful host from his warm hospitality to even the refreshments he served. This is a place you could go back to over and over and always see something different.
After the hideout it was on to Brookwood Gift and Garden Center. While we shopped the driver took Pat and Shirley back to their car at Mamie's. No one noticed the bus had left; however, they were afraid I was leaving the Callahan's when it was time to go. We purchased many beautiful plants and a nativity set and my mother received honey butter with cinnamon. As you can tell by the variety of items Brookwood has a nice selection of goods to choose from. I hope one day to go back and eat at the cafe.
We had a great day and all but 4 people won playing bingo, and I am not going to tell you who the losers are because they were all winners to me.