Talk is cheap, but Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall aren’t, so you can forgive all the gossip about their latest trip to West Texas. In mid-April the rock star and the Mesquite-born model—along with their three young children, her mother, and their personal chef—spent a few days at one of their favorite vacation spots, the Cibolo Creek Guest Ranch near Shafter, during which time they single-handedly jump-started the area’s economy. In addition to the charges they incurred at the tony ranch—where rooms run from $200 to $390 a night—and on top of the admission fees they paid at tourist attractions like the McDonald Observatory—where they were given a private tour led by the director—the chic couple spent a bundle at local businesses. In a three-hour span, in fact, a Jaggerless Hall and her brood dropped more than $5,000 in the tiny town of Marathon: $2,500 on burned-wood pieces by artist Abby Levine, $1,750 on Native American objets—including a Cheyenne River elk-skin coat and a Navajo rug—at The V6 Collection, $600 on Southwest-style home decorations at the Chisos Gallery, and the remainder on food and drink at the Gage Hotel’s new Cafe Cenizo. “I liked them very much,” says Leslie Lehmann, who manages the V6. “The little five-year-old girl was well spoken and adorable.” About the only Marathon vendor who didn’t benefit from the buying binge was photographer James Evans, whose gallery was closed when Hall stopped by at Lehmann’s suggestion. “I was in Alpine getting a haircut,” says Evans. “It totally sucked. But I committed suicide last week, and now I’m all better about it.”

Young Man From Atlanta

A postscript to the Ellen DeGeneres hypefest: During an interview that aired on 20/20 on April 25, Diane Sawyer asked the nation’s most famous lesbian whether she’d ever been with any men. DeGeneres, who spent her middle teen years in the East Texas town of Atlanta, responded that she’d had two high school boyfriends—and that she had been madly in love with one, the captain of the football team. “He’s now the mayor of a small Texas town,” she explained, then turned to face the camera and said: “Hi, Ben.” Who is Ben? Well, he’s not the mayor of a small Texas town—his cousin is—and he was only cocaptain of the Atlanta High team, but Ben Heath of Douglassville (population: 197) confirms that he is the ex in question. “She was very friendly and outgoing, with a lot of self-confidence,” says the forty-year-old, who runs his own poultry breeding operation. And Heath—who hasn’t spoken to DeGeneres since they broke up more than twenty years ago, which might account for her misinformation—says he supports her decision to go public with her sexuality: “She said coming out made her happy, so I’m happy.”