I cannot believe - nor do I want to accept - that this is the last issue of the Winter Texan Times for this 2020/2021 Winter Texan season. Where did this year go? It has just flown by. Sometimes I feel that I just stood still, and the world passed me by. What did keep me in the loop was reading every issue of the Winter Texan Times from front page to back and keeping up with what all the different parks were doing. And it was all positive.
Just like many of you who are preparing to travel North for the summer, I have been studying the map and wondering why in the world when we get behind the wheel of a car most of us are just hell bent for leather to reach our destination. Why in the world do we not stop to explore along the way? We may never travel that way again. So, let' s take time to smell the roses and add to our knowledge of all the wonderful destinations and people we should meet along our way.
When you were younger, did you ever play the game with your siblings where you chose an animal that you felt most represented a member of your family? I only played it once as it seems that my siblings did not like the fact that I felt my mother was like a mother dog. With five youngsters to look after, I considered that a compliment as mother dogs are very protective of their young. Not only are they good care givers but they are also good trainers - training their young to be loyal and to defend their care givers. Now as I look back, if I were to choose what animal I would like to be, I personally would choose for myself to be an insect - a Monarch Butterfly. They are beautiful creatures.
It seems to me that the best thing we can do right now is to look forward. Certainly, looking back at what we have gone through this season does not bring us too many happy memories. If we look outside, all those dead plants do not present a very pretty picture either. But it is going to get better!
Certainly, we have had plenty of time to reevaluate and I have good news for those of you who have requested the Painted Churches. As I looked at some of the tours and routes, I realized why not? Why not - for the Winter Texan Season - combine the Painted Churches with the Waco Magnolia Silos Tour. That should have been a no brainer all along. It is a straight shot up Highway 77 to Schulenburg, home of the famous Painted Churches. Not only that, but there is a perfect place for lunch in Schulenburg.
We survived! We survived that record breaking freeze. It was no fun, but sometimes difficulties - and we had plenty of those - will bring out the best in all of us. Wonderful stories were circulating of neighbors helping neighbors, sharing their homes, taking over hot meals, crawling under houses to fix broken pipes, making room by pulling out air mattresses and extra blankets. One family had seven grandchildren for a three-night slumber party. Must have been a little challenging for the grandparents but just imagine what a good time those children had. It will be an experience they will remember forever. Best of all, the experience will influence them to share their love and their blessings when some emergency occurs later in their own lives.
They say that time flies when you are having fun. Perhaps that is true. But it seems to me that time has flown this past year...and it has not been much fun.
A little over a year ago, the Corona Virus found its way into the United States. By mid-March, we were really in the midst of a pandemic that was truly affecting all of us. Soon mid-March will be here again. Have we progressed? Did time fly by? What progress have we personally made in the fight to conquer the pandemic?
TEXAS! Yes, TEXAS is BIG and we might as well admit it’s true... “Texas is a Whole Other Country.” And why shouldn't it be? Any state that has 367 miles of coastline, desert, dry plains, and swamp land along with canyons and caverns, snow, drought, and floods and covers a total of almost 270,000 square miles is BIG. No doubt those of you who drive down to spend the winter in Texas realize quite well just how big we are.
What glorious weather we are having...not too hot, not too cold...it is just right. Yep, it is just right for being outdoors and enjoying our beautiful South Texas. The gurus of the travel industry say that the plus side of the pandemic has brought more and more travelers into eco-tourism and enjoying the great outdoors.
TEXAS! What a huge state we live in with a history as big as the state. Texas was tamed originally by settlers who established ranches and farms so big they boggle our minds. Those early settlers, those men of vision left their mark on Texas - Richard King who fulfilled our American dream of from rags to riches was just one of those many famous settlers who left their mark on Texas.
The year 2021 started off as no other in our memories. Still reeling from the effects of the Corona pandemic, astonished and saddened by the breach at our Nation’s Capitol, we were left wondering what possibly could happen next. Almost overnight the world's attention was focused on the Rio Grande Valley when our nation's president announced he would visit Alamo to dedicate a section of "The Wall" that had been completed or repaired during his term.
This would be his second visit to the Valley during his four-year term. Many were overjoyed and some were fearful that there could possibly be another confrontation between opposing factions. That certainly was not the case.
It is a NEW YEAR! And let us hope that 2021 will bring an end to the pandemic and the problems we all encountered in 2020. Hopefully by mid-year, we all will have been vaccinated and we will be on the road to our... ‘new normal’ or whatever is in store for us in our future.
Oops! Christmas time and family celebrations have now come and gone. I hope that you practiced social distancing and followed the suggestions of our CDC and government mandates and stayed home. Yes, it was difficult not to visit with family and loved ones. But if we are to conquer our battle in this pandemic, we must do all possible to fight it.
Although there have been some adjustments made due to the pandemic, the Rio Grande Valley has not forgotten Christmas and the reason for the celebration. Many churches have been unable to celebrate with their usual posadas held on church properties. Instead, the churches are encouraging people to celebrate within their own families and neighborhoods. For those of you new to South Texas, a posada is the enactment of Mary and Joseph seeking a place for the Christ child to be born. Special songs requesting lodging are sung as the group moves from house to house. The most beautiful posada that I have ever witnessed was in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.
The Brownsville Historical Museum has a wonderful display to delight young and old and all those in between. Not only is this an outstanding museum, but each year for the Christmas Season they have a special exhibit of a miniature village. Filling stations, houses, stores and even a Starbucks will all be displayed in miniature.
Today is a beautiful day. Even if it is raining, it is still a beautiful day - the farmers need the rain, our yards need the rain. And soon the rain will stop, the bright, warming sun will shine down upon us and we can all go outside and enjoy our beautiful world. If it is a foggy day, that too will go away by mid-morning and the sun will shine again. Or perhaps the day will be one of those gorgeous November days from the very beginning.
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