I think the best part was how the big tornado was staged! But I am getting ahead of myself.

On Friday five TOWNies and two mini-TOWNies gathered at Zilker Park to enjoy cold water, a superb stage performance, and friendship. They were Nicole F., Judy L, Nancy V. L., Carrie L., and Marilyn F., and the minis: Abby and Emma.

Our strategic parking initiative was unnecessary as Fate smiled upon cars arriving at 10 am, 4 pm, and even 7 pm. The Barton Springs Pool was the usual stunning vista, with young people folding their bodies into elegant and inelegant dives, first-timers screaming as they lowered into the refreshing water, and fields of beauties perfecting their all-over tans.

As the day progressed the swimming pool water may have warmed up a degree due to the immersion of hot bodies, as our little group shaded under huge pecan trees on the south shore hillside, walked to Chuy’s for lunch, and intermittently dunked in the progressively cloudy springs water with thousands of others.

A couple of hours before the show began we established our blankets and chairs at the Zilker Hillside Theater and picnicked and people-watched until the tornado descended on stage.

This year’s annual summer musical (a 39 year tradition!) is “The Wizard of Oz,” and I was spellbound: I thought this show worthy of Broadway. From sets that were simple but very effective to poppies and snowflakes effected by ballet dancers, this production paints a delightful musical portrait, a timeless story in a timeless setting under the trees. We were clapping our hands in delight at the singing, at the pup Toto, and at the stagehands’ artistry.

One cannot remain in the water for long, but you cannot go to Barton Springs without sensing the roll of a thousand years’ human history, from First Nations’ drinking and cooling in the flow from caverns below to the first Europeans’ milling and bathing in garb so opposite of today’s women. It is a critical and priceless gift from the Earth to us. And the ZHT Wizard of Oz made it even more magical. We hope you will go see it yourself.