Fiddler’s festival? A hillside field and a lake would be the perfect setting. But now they’ve covered it over with a shopping center and a parking lot.

Seminary South isn’t country heaven, but it’s all right for a shopping center—it has lots of grass and flowers and trees and fountains. And thanks to the prize money being put up by all its good merchants, that old guitar picking Jimmy Mills can afford to send invitations and offer prize money to the friends who’ve made country music with him since 1928. If you have a yen to hear what the real old stuff sounds like, this fiddler’s festival will be the place to do it.

A word to the wise—the superior fiddlin’ is likely to be Wednesday night before the contest. That’s when the fiddlers get together to share the fun of making music.

Seminary South Fiddlers’ Festival/ Fort Worth/ July 12-14/ 10 a.m. to midnight/ Free.

Days of Wine and Cherry Cokes

It wasn’t so long ago that the Stoneleigh Pharmacy was one of the few remaining old-time drug stores in Dallas. Rows of notions and patent medicines surrounded a bonafide soda fountain complete with a black plastic counter, mirrored wall, and a row of round, swivel-topped stools. Now the Stoneleigh Pharmacy has become a bar and grill named the Stoneleigh P; but this metamorphosis has hardly changed the appearance of the place. Ice cream and sodas are still available at the same familiar counter on the same familiar stools, blow-up photos of the pharmacy’s shelves line the walls, and long bladed fans, spinning solemnly, still hang from the ceiling. As well as a variety of wines, beers, and spirits, a limited menu is available which includes outstanding hamburgers, with homemade mayonnaise and a spinach salad for $1.60. A magazine rack, another holdover from the drug store, exhibits a wide variety of periodicals that customers are invited to browse through, two artistically painted chess tables lurk in one corner, and the jukebox has everything from Mozart to Tommy Dorsey to raucous rock.

The Stoneleigh P/ 2926 Maple/ 741-0824/ 11:00 to 1:00 daily; 12:00 to 2:00 Friday and Saturday.

Your Show of Shows

If you find museums a bit discouraging because you never get a chance to exhibit your own finger paintings, take heart. Now’s your chance to have either a one-person or a group show at the Contemporary Museum.

The Education Department of the museum plans a series of courses to unleash your creative powers this summer. Although most of the classes are for children, four years old and up, a few classes are available for adults who still keep their crayolas in the closet.

Your creative activities and those of your classmates will constitute the exhibits of the museum this summer. If you don’t take any classes you can still participate in the exhibits by simply dropping by. Don’t let this opportunity slip past you. For information about registration or class times call the education department at 526-6683.

Contemporary Arts Museum/ 5216 Montrose Boulevard/ Houston.

Spice Is the Variety of Life

San Antonians who can’t afford to drive to Houston for a 5 Coke can still beat inflation by shopping for spices at the San Antonio Spice Company on Castroville Road. The cost of those little jars on your grocery store shelf adds up fast. Take heart: there’s a better (and cheaper) way.

The San Antonio Spice Company distributes a complete line of herbs and spices, which you can buy in bulk right on the premises. For example: instead of paying supermarket prices of 59 to 89 for a small package (usually little more than a half ounce) of black peppercorns, you can buy a full pound for 90. Since the supermarket price works out to something like $16 a pound, the savings are considerable.

You can find anything from Star Anise and Cardamon to Saffron and Pickling Spice in this unprepossessing building on the southwest edge of town. Some of the spices are ground on the premises, and a visit to the aromatic packaging room is guaranteed to bring on a sneeze. Owner J.C. Cooley welcomes visitors.

Even if you can’t beat the Cost of Living Index, you can certainly outwit it once in awhile.

San Antonio Spice Company/ 2439 Castroville Road/ San Antonio/ 434-6781/ Mon. thru Fri., 8-5.

What This Country Needs Is…

Despite Phase 3 economics, there is still something you can buy for a nickel.

Remember the old-time Coke machines, with the little door in the front that you lifted? Inside was your Coke, ready to be pulled out, and surrounded by a rotating honeycomb of other bottles that you could see but couldn’t quite jiggle loose. Teenagers, wise in the ways of the world, eventually figured out that even if you couldn’t extract those tantalizing nearby bottles, you could damn sure uncap them with a church key and let their contents flow into a convenient cup. All of which led the Coca-Cola Company to scurry around the country carting away the front-door wonders and replacing them with the sleek, efficient, tamper-resistant models you see today.

Everywhere, that is, except Jamail’s grocery store in Houston, where a rickety, reconditioned 1946 machine still dispenses ice-cold stubby, 61/2-ounce Cokes for a nickel. Store owner Albert Jamail says “it’s a sentimental thing,” the only piece of original equipment from his first store. He’s been offered as much as $700 for it, but he has no intention of “letting it wind up in some museum,” even though he loses about a penny on every bottle he sells.

Cokes/ Jim Jamail & Sons Food Market/ 3114 Kirby Drive/ Houston.