Tuesday, February 07, 2023
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Yahoo card games bringing people to the table

20230201 Cheap Seats Yahoo Courtesy 03 webMove over Bingo, there’s a new kid in town – Yahoo (not as in yippee – yahoo is the name of the game).

“It’s really growing,” said Robert Jacques, a Canadian resident who lives at Sleepy Valley Resort in Mission with his wife from October to April and has been a Winter Texan for 16 years now. “There are ladies that arrive an hour before the game. They have their specific chair and table and toys to put on the table. They’ll bring chocolates and candies and play other things until the game starts.

“It’s really a social game.”

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Hearts: Run ‘em or right ‘em

20230120 GAO Hearts HMiller 01 webThe card game “Hearts” has been around since the 1800s and took center stage last week at the City of McAllen Golden Age Olympics.

The Golden Age Olympics runs through Feb. 25 and there are dozens of active, and passive, events to compete in. From table tennis, golf and volleyball to card games, cheer, and walking, there are plenty of options for senior citizens to compete in.

“I’m surprised there aren’t more locals participating,” Darrell Paul said. “We definitely want to take advantage of so many fun things the City of McAllen provides.”

Twenty participants broke up into five tables of four to see who this year’s champion would be, using trickery, reading each other’s moves and hoping to shoot the moon.

Darrell Paul and his wife Barbara are hearts veterans who also plan to compete in other GAO events including euchre, pinochle and 500. Barbara is a three-time champ at 500.

“I’ve only got a bronze so far,” said Darrell. “My wife has played a lot more than I have but I’m hoping to get one this year.”

The Paul’s have been coming to the Valley for 15 years, skipping out on the four nastiest months back in Davenport, Iowa. When they’re here, they keep extremely busy.

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Winter Texans enjoy some competitive 8-ball

20230118_GAO_Pool_IMG_7123-web.pngMaurice Parent’s father died while he was in school and his mother worked to provide for the family.

While his friends were being paid allowances, Maurice wasn’t. Well, that’s not totally true. More often than not, Maurice won some of his friends’ allowances, beating them on one of 15 or 16 pool tables, actually snooker tables, set in the basement of a game hall.

“I let them win sometimes,” Maurice joked prior to the McAllen Parks and Recreation 43rd annual Golden Age Olympics men’s 8-ball competition at Fast Eddies in McAllen. “I didn’t get an allowance so I would take theirs.”

Maurice started coming to the Valley in 2006 and resides at Citrus Valley RV Park in McAllen. When he was in high school “earning” his allowance, they played snooker, a game similar to billiards but played with 22 balls, including a cue ball, 15 red balls and six other balls, called the "colours."

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January 11, 2022 - From the Cheap Seats

20230111 Winter Texan Bowling HMiller IMG 7089 webWinter Texans clash in local alleys

Stan Hawkins has bowled for 18 years. Wearing his “Flintstones” bright orange team uniform, designed by teammate Rich Michelena, the “Bowling Stones” and “Pin Pals” were two of several teams who hit the lane at Flamingo Bowl in McAllen for league play.

The lanes were dotted on this day with several neon-colored jerseys from different Winter Texan Parks. Hawkins is a Bentsen Grove resident.

Read more: January 11, 2022 - From the Cheap Seats

January 4, 2023 - From the Cheap Seats

20230104 Shuffleboard 1 webShufflers are shufflin’ again

It wasn’t very long ago that shuffleboard was shuffling itself in the wrong direction, not just in the Valley, but around the country.

Not only were fewer Winter Texans taking part in the long-loved sport, but COVID-19 added to its rapid slow-down.

But shufflers are shuffling again, and new shufflers are coming in at a rate not seen in many years.

Read more: January 4, 2023 - From the Cheap Seats

Square Dancing: A symphony for the floor

20220107 SquareDancing MissionBell HMiller 03 WEBA revival may be coming for those interested in square dancing.

Lessons and square dances are popping up at Winter Texan parks across the Valley. More importantly, both veterans and “newbies” are finding a keen interest in taking part.

A few couples attended recently at Mission Bell RV Park in Mission, where Robert Ferguson teaches a weekly class Friday afternoons.

Chuck Berry, not to be confused with the rock 'n roll Chuck Berry, and his wife Phyllis are part of the newbie group.

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Pickleball fun at Casa Del Valle

pickleball IMG 4841 webDawn Hardy is a self-described fierce competitor.

Watching her play confirms that unless you're watching the non-stop smile on her face when she's playing.

A former college athlete who has played volleyball, softball, and numerous other sports, it only took her a couple pickleball games back home in Topeka, Kansas to fire up those competitive engines.

“I love it,” said Hardy during the weekly pickleball mixer at Casa Del Valle in Alamo. “I especially love the friendships.”

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San Benito lights up

San Benito Christmas HMiller 01 webSAN BENITO – One year ago, children were studying from home, adults were working from home and a new hybrid way of life was taking shape as COVID-19 left an unbridled path of both fear and devastation around the world.

Even Santa stayed begrudgingly cuddled up in his North Pole home along with the Missus, the elves, and the reindeer, knowing full well that all rooftops and chimneys had become off limits, even if he wore a mask.

Last week, however, a much-needed spirit lifter and highly anticipated Christmas tree lighting in San Benito brought nearby and surrounding communities together to Heavin Park in droves. The annual event welcomed more than an estimated 1,000 people, many of whom were excited to return and take part in an activity that was just another step toward reaching normalcy, whatever their normal might be.

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Jams are back in session

20211105 McAllen Mobile Jam HMiller 05 webMaybe the single greatest sign of a return to normalcy happened last week at McAllen Mobile Park for the first “Opry” jam of the Winter Texan season.

Yet, the biggest sign was that the word that has dominated conversations around the world wasn't even mentioned. In fact, nothing about the year that was put on hold was heard.

That will stay that way too, at least for this article, because on this date, Friday, Nov. 5, everything seemed as it should.

Read more: Jams are back in session

Swinging, searching and talking: A perfect day on any golf course

2021 1015 GOLF Winter Texan Group HMiller 01 webIt didn’t take long for Larry Riesselman and I to strike up a conversation. After all, we were on a golf course and, as everyone knows, other than swinging, and looking for your ball, the time is spent telling tales and reminiscing about days gone by.

I happened to run into Larry, his wife Pat and Steve Glass on Palm View Golf Course in McAllen. Larry has been golfing since he was in his 20s and, well, since he’s a Winter Texan (who lives here 6.5 months a year now while back in Minnesota for 5.5 months), that means he’s done a lot of swinging (he has two holes-in-one!), a lot of looking for golf balls and a ton of conversing on the courses.

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R/C racing reminiscent of NASCAR

20210227 Alamo Rec RC Open House Henry IMG 3526 600px“No, no he didn’t slam you, he didn’t bump you, he didn’t nudge you… he rubbed you. And rubbin’ son is racin’.” -- Robert Duvall as Harry Hoggie in the hit movie “Days of Thunder.”

Cars blazed down the front-stretch, at one point hitting three and four wide on the cement track similar to the NASCAR venue in Dover, Delaware. The biggest difference here, however, was that sometimes when the cars were three and four wide, they weren’t all going in the same direction.

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Olympics, chili, and cornbread

20210203 cheap 3326 600pxSport climbing, surfing, skateboarding, karate, baseball, and softball are all new sports for the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics (baseball and softball making a return).

Maybe the International Olympics Committee should consider chili and cornbread cookoffs as well for future games. With McAllen Mobile Park giving a super-small sampling, if the results are anywhere near as tasty, it will surely be a hit and a long-standing event where winners will fiercely battle for the gold medal.

Read more: Olympics, chili, and cornbread

Softball: Camaraderie and Fun

cheap 3255 600pxPatrick Neel heard all the motivation he needed as he rounded the bases.

“Run faster, run faster,” the frantic voice of his wife Darlene echoed from the stands.

“I'm running as fast as I can,” Neel laughed.

In the end, Neel went into the scorebook as hitting a grand slam. It was during the Winter Texans U.S. versus Canada game that signals the end of the Winter Texan softball season.

Read more: Softball: Camaraderie and Fun

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