Thursday, March 21, 2019
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20190109 WTsCelebrate David Howard and wifeDavid Howard politely excused himself from the conversation. Time was of the essence.

“I have to go give my wife our New Year’s kiss,” he said.

The time was early still for South Texas standards on this day - 9:30 p.m. - but the happy couple rang in the New Year before anyone else. It’s something they are used to doing because of where they live the rest of the year, in the extreme eastern province of Labrador and New Foundland – more than 4,200 miles from the Rio Grande Valley. “We’re closer to England than we are here,” Howard said.

Yet the annual 10- to 14-day drive didn’t hinder them from being at Bit ‘O Heaven RV Park, in Donna, where they reside in the winter months, for the New Year’s Eve dance. They were listening to the country band Buck ‘N Crazy on this night and celebrating along with another 250 people dancing, eating and drinking to usher in what soon would be 2019.

20190109 WTsCelebrate John and Linda HollemanThe Newfoundland Time Zone, as it’s referred to, consists only of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador and exists because of the location of the island and the fact that it was a separate dominion when the time zones were established. Because it was separate from Canada at the time, it had the right to adopt its own time zone.

Because of where it is located, New Foundland gains a lot of attention for many “firsts.” An example would be in the movie world, where it will be the first to show “World Premieres,” and the province makes sure the rest of the provinces know this.

Obviously, they tend to also be the first ones to “spread the love,” when the New Year rings in.

“That’s why we have the saying ‘May you be in heaven a full half hour before the Devil knows you’re dead,’” Howard joked.

Texas Trails Celebration

It wasn’t just Winter Texans who enjoyed celebrating the end of 2018 and the new beginnings. A group of local Valleyites joined the Winter Texans at Texas Trails RV Resort in Pharr as they enjoyed the country sounds of Jealous Heart.

Dan and Nancy Sharp, or Grand Rapids, Mich., were especially enjoying the night at Texas Trails. Dan is the chef at the park and had the opportunity to be on the receiving end as opposed to the cooking end. Still, he said when he’s cooking – from Angus burgers to a special chicken breast to other options – he does it “homestyle.”

20190109 WTsCelebrate Jim Evins 1Debbie and Arnie Lorenz, from Malden, Ill., have been married for 38 years, lived in Bit ‘O Heaven for five and said they planned their lives accordingly, so they would be ready for the retired life. That being said, there was no need for any New Year’s resolutions – other than continued health and more chances to be with friends.

“I don’t do resolutions,” Debbie said. “Besides, I’d break them in a week or two anyway.”

The New Year is a great starting point for so many things in life.

“I really want to quit smoking,” said John Holleman, who along with his wife Linda has been a Winter Texan since Nov. 6, this year. “I really need to quit smoking.”

His laugh and smile only added to his determination that this could be the year where that resolution – one of the most common and toughest resolutions – became reality.

For Jerry Evins, the New Year was a bit bittersweet. One of the first ones to arrive for the New Year’s Eve bash, his contagious smile and friendly personality overshadowing the fact that his world has not been the same since his wife died a year ago.

“We were married for 65 years and went together for four before that, starting in eighth grade,” he said, adding that they knew each other since the first grade but once they started dating he knew “this was the one, the love of my life. I knew it immediately,” he said. After all those years together, following her passing he sold his 3,000-square foot home in Edinburg and decided to look for a Winter Texan park to move into.

20190109 WTsCelebrate Jack Comeau“What did I need that big of a home for,” he said. “I found this place, bought a mobile home, built a deck and my daughter helped me. I’m going to get some furniture to put on the deck and then just blow smoke at people. I like doing that.”

While he has only been in the park for a short time, he’s made some friends and on this night even hit the dance floor a couple of times.

Talk about hitting the dance floor, that was where many couples spent most of their night, either line dancing, waltzing, doing the polka or just freestylin’ it as Buck ‘N Crazy – made up of lead vocalist Roy Torres, guitarists Jason Moreno and Isaac Bazan, drummer Adam Garcia, bassist Patrick Garza, keyboardist Jesse Flores Jr. and accordionist Jess Flores - played a wide assortment of music where the dance floor was always active.

JoJo Tessier and Jack Comeau, of Manitoba, Canada, were on the dance floor more than at their table of fellow Canadians who danced the night away.
“We are passionate about our celebrations,” Comeau said. “We like to have a good time and to party and celebrate things like this. This is fun. This is why we worked so hard for so many years. Happy New Year!”

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