EDITOR DANIEL CLIFTON
Walking through Terry Fagerstrom’s “joint” — there’s no other way to describe it — you’re instantly transfixed by the array of random items he’s collected over the years.
On display, these bits and pieces — from water skis on the ceiling to old board games on the bathroom wall — come together in a magical way.
“He’s a visionary,” said Fifi Compton, Fagerstrom’s longtime friend and co-conspirator in his Spicewood project.
The two laughed at that, but, looking around at what the former Spicewood post office has become, you can’t really argue with Compton.
With plenty of hard work over the past three years and a seemingly endless collection of the eclectic, Fagerstrom has breathed new life into the building, transforming it into That Joint in Spicewood, a venue on CR 404 for any number of activities, including weddings and family reunions.
Left up to his imagination — like a can of Coke that’s been shaken and is bursting to get out — Fagerstrom can come up with countless ways people can use That Joint.
There’s a bar, a bridal room, a gathering area, a small stage perfect for singer-songwriter get-togethers, a covered patio in the front, and more.
And, if you need a place to stay, his Mellow Yellow House, an Airbnb rental, is just behind the post office. The yellow-painted home is a great place to “mellow out,” hence the name.
The 64-year-old Fagerstrom started collecting in high school. He has a multitude of discarded objects: old toy bowling sets, handmade trotlines, and a very suggestive ash tray, to name a few. He and Compton have weaved much of them into coherent, but somewhat chaotic, decor.
“It’s different,” Fagerstrom put it mildly.
“Different” also describes this entrepreneurial dynamo. He’s always moving, always coming up with ideas, finding a use for any old or odd-looking item that catches his eye.
Both his love of oddments and business sense began in high school.
He would buy candy bars at a local store then sell them at school — at a marked-up price, of course — for a little spending money, which would go to his collection habit.
That started with a chair. Fagerstrom spied it while riding his bike and quickly purchased it.
It’s still in his possession inside the Mellow Yellow House.
Anything that grabs his attention, he buys, even if he doesn’t know where or when he’ll use it.
Fagerstrom struck up a friendship with a fisherman who made his own trotlines. When the man’s angling days were over, he offered the lines to Fagerstrom. They didn’t go back in the water; they went on a wall amidst his collection of wooden canoe paddles. He has an old photo of the fisherman hanging on a nearby wall.
Fagerstrom can also see the potential in old buildings.
He purchased the former Spicewood post office almost four years ago along with the old gas station next door. He wasn’t sure what to do with them until Compton suggested an event center. He later purchased the house directly west of the post office; the Mellow Yellow House, once home to former postmistress Dorothy Lewis; and a slice of land behind the post office. A classic Airstream trailer on the back of the property serves as a second Airbnb. He parked an older, but stylish, RV on the east side of the property. It used to be a band tour bus and is now a place to rest for the musicians and entertainers who stop by That Joint.
Fagerstrom and Compton fashioned a classic flat-bed delivery truck — with removable sides and a lift gate — into an outdoor stage for bands.
Almost nothing is what it seems. But if you look through Fagerstrom’s eyes, you can see his vision.
A strong work ethic is what pulled it all together.
“He’s up here every day, all day, working,” Compton said about Fagerstrom. “He’s done most of this himself, all this work.”
Fagerstrom shrugged it off with a grin.
But it’s not something he takes for granted.
About 42 years ago, Fagerstrom was out riding his motorcycle, just loving life. An oncoming motorcycle crossed into his lane and slammed into him. The other driver suffered minor injuries. But when first responders arrived on the scene, they covered up Fagerstrom’s body.
“They thought he was dead,” Compton said.
But he wasn’t, and eventually the emergency crew figured it out and hustled the severely injured man to the hospital.
Fagerstrom lost his left arm and left leg in the accident. He didn’t lose his zest for life. A doctor told Fagerstrom he always stopped by his room last in his rotation just because being around Fagerstrom’s upbeat attitude was a good way to end the day.
However, doctors warned Fagerstrom that depression would eventually set in because of his injuries.
“I’m still waiting,” he said with a laugh.
He often jokes about his physical differences — but they’re not limitations, at least not in his world. He always finds a way to get things done.
“It’s incredible what he does, and all the work he puts into it,” Compton added.
That Joint at Spicewood is open and ready for business. An Airbnb posting for the Mellow Yellow House went up in May, and the bookings have been steady.
Fagerstrom and Compton have work to do on some of the other projects. They’re in the process of tackling the house just east of the post office but won’t talk about their concept for it.
“It’s big,” Compton promised.
Fagerstrom uses the old Sinclair filling station and garage for his collection point and work area. He stashes items inside or around the yard. Following a visit by a Burnet County constable regarding his “clutter,” he built a fence. He has ideas for the old station, but, for now, it’s his workshop.
That Joint in Spicewood — with its whimsical use of collectibles, vintage items, things the rest of us would throw out, and what-not — is nothing like you’ve ever seen. It’s a reflection of Fagerstrom, a man like you’ve never met. Well, until you do.
That Joint in Spicewood is located at 7931 CR 404 in Spicewood. Visit the website for more information.