Text Size

On the Road with Jo - The day after - What will you resolve to do?

WEB On The Road HeaderIt's the day after the day we have been waiting for. Such anticipation to have the family together for such a grand celebration. And then very quickly, it is all over. Of course, the house is a mess. Stockings are scattered all over the floor and gifts are stacked in the corners ready to be put away. Empty boxes filled with wrappings and ribbons need to be destroyed or carefully stored to be recycled next year.

Read more: On the Road with Jo - The day after - What will you resolve to do?

Texas A&M University Singing Cadets to perform

The Senior Ambassadors Men’s Chorus will welcome the Texas A&M Singing Cadets to the Rio Grande Valley on Thursday, January 9, 2020 for a performance at the Center Church (Formerly Trinity Worship Center) located at 4801 N. Cage Blvd., in Pharr.

Internationally known as the “Voice of Aggieland,” the Singing Cadets are Texas A&M University’s premier men’s chorus. The Singing Cadets celebrated their 125th anniversary in 2019. David L. Kipp is the 13th and current director of the 75-member men’s choral group. Under his leadership the Singing Cadets remain true to their traditionally crisp military style and diverse selection of music. The Cadets will perform American, military, sacred and Aggie-themed numbers.

Read more: Texas A&M University Singing Cadets to perform

TCF Float entry deadline January 21

20191226 TCF Citrus Fiesta Parade GU IMG 4690The Texas Citrus Fiesta in Mission is an event to look forward to every year. Each year the parade has a different theme and floats in the parade that are all decked out according to that theme using lively decorations and Valley products. This year’s theme is Space Odyssey Adventure to celebrate the anniversary of space exploration.

Read more: TCF Float entry deadline January 21

MHM accepting entries for ‘Turning of the Quilts’

20191226 MHM QuiltThe Mission Historical Museum is accepting entries for its “Turning of the Quilts” program to be offered January 17. The museum is looking for antique, vintage, or just plain interesting quilts for this program. The quilts are presented stacked on a bed. As each quilt is shown, it is turned down to reveal the next quilt, until all have been presented. A knowledgeable presenter will talk about each quilt as it is shown.

Read more: MHM accepting entries for ‘Turning of the Quilts’

Harlem Globetrotters bring “Pushing the Limits” tour to Edinburg

The world-famous Harlem Globetrotters will bring their new “Pushing the Limits” World Tour to Edinburg at Bert Ogden Arena on Saturday, February 29, 2020 at 7 p.m. Globetrotters’ fans will experience even bigger moments and memories, including a live world record attempt at each game. Plus, many markets will feature a glow in the dark performance.

Read more: Harlem Globetrotters bring “Pushing the Limits” tour to Edinburg

Winter Texan quilts comforting families of organ donors

20191218 img 4212 quiltQuilts made by the Winter Texas Grandmas at Casa del Valle are providing valuable comfort to families when their loved one becomes an organ donor at hospitals across the Rio Grande Valley. Since starting a partnership with Texas Organ Sharing Alliance (TOSA), the organ procurement organization that provides organ donation and recovery services for families in Central and South Texas, 20 donor families have received a hand-made quilt.

Seven years ago, Don Uecker of Wisconsin was making funeral arrangements for his wife, Darlene, when he asked family and friends to consider making a financial donation in her honor to the Texas Grandmas group. Years later, his relationship with the group and his volunteer work with TOSA led him to connect the two groups to provide something special for grieving families.

“I know she would have liked this,” Uecker said as the Winter Texans worked around him.

The group collects their fabrics from donations, often times even material from families within the park. The size of the group varies as Winter Texans start returning to the Valley for the season, but often the crafts room has about a dozen people working inside on a variety of tasks to complete a quilt.

Each week the group meets and can complete about 300 quilts in an individual season. They donate their quilts to a number of organizations, but say no matter where they go, they’re happy to know they can bring comfort to families.

“It’s nice for us to have a community for us to serve,” said Sandra Johnson of Ontario, Canada. “It’s good for us to hear how they’re used and know they’re needed.”

TOSA recently was gifted another eight quilts to use for upcoming donor cases. Families often drape the quilt over their loved one and take it home with them once the organ recovery is completed. For many families, the personal touch of the quilts provide them solace that feels like home, which is difficult to come by in the hospital setting.

“They’ve been generous enough to make and donate quilts that are given to families of organ donors,” said Edwina P. Garza, TOSA senior communications coordinator.

Texans are encouraged to register at the Texas Department of Public Safety or the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles. For information on organ donation, community initiatives or to register online, visit TOSA1.org.

Texas Organ Sharing Alliance (TOSA), founded in 1975, is one of 58 federally-designated Organ Procurement Organizations (OPOs) in the United States. TOSA is committed to a mission of saving lives through the power of organ donation by providing organ donation and recovery services to Central and South Texans wishing to donate, and to those waiting for a life-saving organ transplant.

Chanukah concert in McAllen

The annual Chanukah Concert and Festival will be celebrated Monday, December23 at Archer Park in downtown McAllen. The festival begins at 4:30 p.m. and a concert starring Jewish pop-sensation Yoni Z will begin at 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Chanukah, an alternative spelling for Hanukkah, is the Jewish eight-day holiday commemorating the victory of the Jews “against Greek persecution and religious oppression,” according to torah.org. This year, Chanukah is celebrated from the evening of Sunday, December 22 until the evening of Monday, December 30.

Brooklyn-born Yoni Zigelboum, better known as Yoni Z, is topping charts with his catchy tunes about the relationship between man and God. At 28 years old he has already been in music for 13 years. Since 2012, he has toured worldwide. His YouTube channel has over 2.1 million views.

His Jewish ancestry survived the Holocaust. His father is of Eastern European Jewish descent, known as Ashkenazi Jews, and his mother’s family is of Middle Eastern or Mizrahi culture. He, himself, is a Hasidic Jew.

He was chosen as Israel’s Kikar HaShabbat’s Best New Artist of the Year and Music Video for the Israeli video UP in 2018. His first album, released in July 2018, has been called revolutionary for Jewish music. The album consists of 14 original songs that he participated in the songwriting and production on. His music has been released in several languages including Yiddish, English and Hebrew. Most of his music combines the beats of standard Western pop with Mizrahi music.

The True Meaning of Christmas

WEB On The Road HeaderIn the last several issues many traditions - some ten, some fifteen and some twenty years old - have been discussed. The ten-year-old Holiday Village in Brownsville; the fantastic, inflated balloons in the McAllen parade is a three- or four-year-old tradition; the Christmas tree forests in local museums are now traditions.

First of all, what does that word "tradition'· mean? The word comes from Latin meaning the handing down of statements, beliefs, legends, customs or information from one generation to the next. A tradition can be " invented" politically, culturally or strictly for financial reasons - that is to bring more money into your city. Or a tradition can just happen!

Certainly, in my family we have some Christmas traditions. And I bet you have traditions in your family also. In my family, our Christmas traditions start on Christmas Eve with tamales and homemade chili. That meal is probably not a very old tradition in most South Texas border families, but for my family, the tradition probably started forty or fifty years ago.

Regardless of what time the guests leave, and dishes are washed and put away, the next and more important tradition, must be observed. We just must watch The Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens before we turn in for the night.

Christmas day has another set of traditions - one that absolutely exasperates newcomers to the family. All Christmas gifts must be opened one by one and passed all around the room to be admired by all before the next gift can be opened. This process can take all morning - with of course, time out for orange juice, coffee, pan dulce and sausage balls.

Afterwards, the cooks take over with the preparation of at least two traditional presentations - homemade sage dressing and ambrosia (fruit salad). There is no recipe for either of these dishes. The cook goes by looks and taste as the ingredients for the dressing are mixed together - after all, that's how mother did it!

Now my father's contribution to the Christmas dinner was a delicious and HUGE bowl of ambrosia. His words were “you women should let a man make a contribution to the feast.” Little did he know when he started that his contribution would never look quite right to him, so he just kept adding one fruit after another until he had a wash tub full of ambrosia - a perfect complement to all the other Christmas delicacies.

I smile to myself every time I prepare a bowl of ambrosia as I, too, just keep adding another fruit until it looks and tastes just right. Traditions are wonderful - they build memories that last forever and can bring joy and nostalgia to us all.

All of these traditions may be forgotten or replaced in the future. But there is one tradition that hopefully will never be forgotten and will last forever. It is a tradition that is not glitzy nor glittery - perhaps that is why it is not observed as much as in years past.

Las Posadas, possibly the greatest and oldest tradition of all, was brought from Spain to Mexico some 500 years ago. In Spanish, the word "posada" means inn. This tradition re-enacts Mary and Joseph searching for a place for the Christ Child to be born.

In times past, the procession would be led by children dressed as angels followed by Mary riding on a donkey that was led by Joseph. Neither rain, nor cold, nor wind would interfere as the group moved from house to house singing a special song that asked for lodging. Over and over they would be denied until finally a predesignated home would open wide their doors and welcome the group in. This celebration would begin on December 16 and would be repeated for nine consecutive nights until Christmas Eve.

This tradition brings to all of us the true meaning of Christmas. Unfortunately, there are not as many celebrations of Las Posadas as there used to be. Organizing, preparing and taking part in a Posada takes time.

Sometimes we don't make time for the most important tradition of all...the celebration of the true meaning of Christmas. If you are ever invited to a posada, be sure to go. The experience will build a special memory.

I wonder - will this tradition disappear? Will we get too busy to observe this tradition? As we celebrate this special season, will we remember the true meaning of Christmas?

First hole in ones

20191218 hole oneDawn Moore gave out some simple, but direct, instructions to her golf ball recently, while playing with her Sunday scramble group at Stuart Place Country Club in Harlingen.

A resident of Sun Valley Village with her husband Phil, Dawn made it clear to her ball what its part was in playing for her that day.

“I just told the ball to go right up there and don’t dilly dally around,” she said. “I hit it and the other lady in our group (Pauline Crist) was standing beside me and she said, ‘I think it went in the hole’.”

When the group, which included Bob Dark and Gary Anderson, reached the green and looked in the cup, sure enough that golf ball listened to the commands and obeyed.

“I was pretty sure it was in the cup,” Dawn said. “I watched it land on the green and saw it roll right up there, straight and pretty.”

It was her first hole-in-one after about 10 years of playing. Her husband Phil added jokingly that he has three. It’s because of Phil that Dawn took up golf while they lived in Lake of the Ozarks in Arkansas.

“When he retired, he started playing golf and was leaving me home all the time. All of our friends golfed too,” Dawn said. “So, I decided to take it up as well.”

She was asked what club she used on the 100-yard par-3. She said it was her driver.

“He couldn’t believe I used a driver,” she said. “I’m not a long hitter. But it still went in.”

After the recent ace, she probably won’t be giving it up anytime soon either. However, with the early Christmas present came an ounce of not so great news upon returning to the clubhouse.

“When we got back, they asked if I was part of the hole-in-one club,” she said. “I wasn’t and they told me I could of won $100. I said that was ok because I probably would’ve just bought drinks for everyone in the clubhouse with it anyway.”