Sometimes those of us who live in the Rio Grande Valley just take for granted all the wonders that surround us. Regardless of our age, we have so many opportunities to enjoy our life.
For the young or more active, how about canoeing down the Rio Grande River or perhaps kayaking in the Arroyo Colorado or in the Bay at nearby South Padre Island. Hiking trails and nature parks are scattered all over our semi-tropical area. Spring and Fall migrations attract many residents and visitors who want to add to their Birding Life List. For those of us who are more sedentary, river boats can take us up and down the river. Simply said, the Rio Grande Valley is virtually a natural paradise.
There are so many opportunities for travel and exploring. How about a Sunday afternoon drive down what is now referred to as the Memorial Highway. At one time bandits on horseback rode in this area often intercepting and robbing the mail wagons that not only carried the mail but often more valuable payrolls. Later this same road became the thoroughfare for the Oblate Fathers who were the ministers of the Christian faith to the ranches scattered along the river road. Those ministers were named the Cavalry for Christ.
Read more: Beauty and opportunity surrounds us in the RGV
By Herb Moering
St. Patrick’s Day could be called a breeze this year at Royal Palms Mobile Home Park in Alamo. The gusts on Friday were not enough to stop the annual Irish-themed park parade of decorated golf carts, pets, and a walker.
Reigning over the afternoon event were grand marshals Norm and Mary Hall, married for 75 years and park residents since 2001. The couple, who were given gifts for their participation, came to the Valley in 1990 after Mary retired from a long-time stint as a teacher’s aide that was part of Norm’s 38 years with the U.S. Air Force, a combination of seven years in the service and 31 years as a civilian employee. The period of 1949-52 they were in Germany as part of the Berlin Airlift. He also was at a Waco, TX training base for pilots during the Korean War. He ended his career in 1990 after 30 years at Lowery Air Force Base in Denver.
Read more: Valley parks celebrate St. Patrick’s Day
It was a warm February day in Bentsen State Park; we had stopped for a rest and a drink of water at the Mexican Marker and realized we had a problem. The Marker is about halfway around our planned bike ride. At the Marker, our friends admitted they had not ridden a bike in years.
Meeting Old Friends is Part of The Joy of Camping.
Case and Geraldine were good friends from twenty years ago. Our jobs had taken us to different parts of Canada, but we had maintained contact on Facebook.
They were crossing the southern USA in their RV. They had come to the Rio Grande Valley to see us.
Read more: We Are Not As Fit As We Were
Each Friday in November through March from 1 to 3 p.m. the Blue Wolf band, and associate band members with jammers, entertain audiences of listeners with country, bluegrass, rock and roll, and other music genres at McAllen Mobile Park. The co-hosts are Jerry and Shirley Spanhanks assisted by the sound engineer, Dennis House, announcer Les Watkins, and entertainment coordinator Betty Dennison.
On stage, is the Blue Wolf band comprised of Steven Kelley on drums, Birger Olson on bass guitar, Shirley Spanhanks on guitar, and Jerry Spanhanks on lead guitar and other string instruments. Don Leet and RK Welander (both play bass and regular guitar) recently joined the stage band.
Read more: Sizzling music at McAllen Mobile Park Jams
The South Texas Ecotourism Center (STEC) had its grand opening last year, but it’s still one of the newest nature centers in the Valley. STEC gives visitors the opportunity to experience the Valley’s native landscapes through displays and mini habitats on its property. The center has living models of six different ecosystems that can be found in the Rio Grande Valley.
The center promotes the restoration and preservation of the native landscape and brings awareness of the plants and animals that are threatened in the Valley and live in these habitats. Throughout the center grounds, you can find signs that illustrate the plants and animals living in the habitats. The signs tell of what to look for, what the animals eat, and how to preserve the wildlife and vegetation.
Read more: Experience native landscapes at South Texas Ecotourism Center
Alamo Palms’ Scholarship Committee donates $22,000
By Barb Zanetti
Photos by Dennis Zanetti
While modeling his beige Union Suit and wide-brimmed, felt, brown hat, Rip Van Winkle (Brad Mallow) seemed to awaken. He paused. Turned. And then scooted back down the runway to steal an unexpected kiss from Miss Havisham (Beverly Bailey), who was gripping her wilted bouquet.
Surprised laughter erupted from the audience at this year’s Alamo Palms’ Ropa Style Show held recently.
Rip Van Winkle and Miss Havisham joined 28 other runway models featured in the “What a NOVEL idea” theme. The show was one of the park’s fundraising events held to benefit Alamo High School seniors.
This year 22 PSJA Memorial Early College High School [ECHS] seniors were each awarded a $1,000 scholarship from the Alamo Palms Scholarship Fund.
Read more: IT’S WINTER TEXANS … ‘JUST WANTING TO HAVE FUN’
Ed Martens stood there in the middle of a group of people, never getting a moment alone -- and all was right with the world.
That made the 20th annual Winter Texan softball rivalry games between Canada and the United States a super celebratory event with plenty of fun, laughter – and competition. There were USA and Canada memorabilia being carried around, chants of "U-S-A" and "Canada" throughout the games, food and games within games for the annual event. At the center of it all was Martens.
“It’s good to be back, to be here,” Martens said, adding that he was feeling just fine. “It’s a beautiful day to play.”
Canada won the matchup in both divisions, 9-5 and 17-10 but everyone won on a day where they played two under nearly perfect weather conditions. Canada pulled away from a 4-4 with five straight runs in the “B” Division game while exploding for nine runs in the top of the seventh inning while trailing 10-8 in the “A” Division
Read more: Canada wins annual rivalry game
Spring is in the air! Or at least that is so in the Rio Grande Valley. But not so in parts of the United States. Some places are still feeling the chill of winter with morning temperatures of around 35 degrees while temperatures for those of us in South Texas are enjoying 70 degrees - just perfect for an early morning stroll.
We can't rely on the ground hog to predict Spring for they just don't exist in this part of the United States. We often depend on another method to predict when Spring is in the air.
It is generally in mid to late February when the ordinary dead looking mesquite tree begins to show signs of life. Almost overnight beautiful emerald green lacy looking foliage adorns this tree. Then we can be sure that Spring is just around the corner. Mother Nature is giving us a tried-and-true signal - Spring is in the air.
Read more: The hardy mesquite tree
Chimney Park RV Resort in Mission with its landmark 106-foot chimney, has played an important historical role in the RGV area. In 1907, the land that now encompasses this resort supported the first lift station in the area powered by a boiler supplying power which pumped and distributed water from the Rio Grande River to other areas. Chimney Park Resort, which opened in the 1960’s, retains its rustic charm though it has undergone extensive renovations.
Each Wednesday from December-March, musicians and fans from around the RGV gather at Chimney Park Resort’s Hall to perform and listen to classic country music. On February 8th, I visited this jam and was warmly greeted by the Winter Texan co-hosts Ron Liptow from Alma Center, Wisconsin, and James Kropenske from Mitchell, South Dakota who organize and manage the weekly jam.
The weekly jam has seven musicians on stage that accompanies each jammer’s musical selections comprised of the following individuals: Keith Churchill-keyboard, Bob Doughty-guitar, Elvin Jones-guitar, James Kropenske-lap Cajun drum and guitar, Ron Liptow-guitar, Cathie Robertson-bass guitar, and Larry Robertson-harmonica.
Read more: Jammin’ on the Banks of the Rio Grande River
Saint Patrick’s Day, March 17, with its parades, green beer, and Irish humor, is here again. Suddenly many of us here in the Rio Grande Valley, Texas, and around the world find real or imagined Irish connections, a time to associate with others who claim Irish links celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day for the fun of it.
The Tea Room Magic Trick
Charles and Paddy go into the tearoom for refreshments. While ordering, the Englishman, Charles, waited for the baker to turn his back. He then sneaked three buns, putting them quickly into his pocket before sitting at their table.
At their table, Charles turned to Paddy and proudly said, “Did you see that? It took talent and nerve to take those buns without the baker seeing me.”
The Irishman is horrified, “Charles," he says, "that’s shoplifting. Let me show you how to do it honestly and still end up with three free buns.”
Read more: Saint Patrick’s Day For the Fun of It