It's that time of the year. Our Winter Texan friends are departing for their summer homes. No doubt your friends and family missed you while you were gone. But we are going to miss you also. Please have a safe trip home and come back again next winter. We will be waiting for you.
Our local golf courses have been attracting a lot of attention. It seems that most every golf course has made some improvement - more holes, water fountains or a re-sodding of the greens.
Some of us may not be golfers, but it must be a great game. Golfing is a fun way to exercise and a fun way to enjoy your friends and the outdoors. Now that we are having beautiful, sunshiny days, it is time to enjoy the wonderful South Texas weather.
There is a whole lot to see and do in South Texas. Those of you who want to know all about this area just need to go exploring and you can become a walking historian. History can be fun, entertaining, and educational. Why not set yourself a goal to visit every attraction in this area. This should keep you entertained for the whole year. Or maybe even more.
Time marches on. If you were exposed to covid and quarantined, you may feel that time dragged on. It doesn’t have to drag on - now is the time to do all those things you have been planning to do but just never had time. Well, now you have time so let's get on with it.
You can take control and believe me - time will fly if you take time to complete all those projects. The very day that my daughter and I learned that we had been exposed, we were out in my car exploring. It had been a year since I had been down past Space X and to Boca Chica Beach. So off we went.
Welcome home. By now most of our Winter Residents have arrived and we are so glad to have you back in the big, wonderful state of Texas and the sunny Rio Grande Valley. If you drove down, then I am sure you were once again impressed by how big - and varied - Texas is. If you flew in - especially if you came from Canada - you were probably just a little shocked when you stepped off the plane. What a big difference it is between European Quebec and the tranquil palm lined roads of the Rio Grande Valley. It is quite a shock. From East to West and North to South, all these different areas have their own personalities. Yep, Texas is a Whole Other Country.
In just a few days, 2021 will come to an end and a new year begins. It is time to look forward to 2022, a New Year. It is time to make those New Year’s resolutions.
This past year was a difficult year for many. Covid 19 attacked with a fury. Many lost family members or they lost jobs and much needed income. Now we have two Covid variants to consider as we make plans for the future.
Now is a time to care and to share our time and our talents. Last month my interest was really aroused when I was lucky enough to participate in a trade show where a representative from our Rio Grande Valley Food Bank had a booth directly across from mine. I had often wondered exactly how our RGV Food Bank operates and here was my chance to learn more. Have my eyes been opened? I learned a lot. Now it is time to share some of that information. There is not room to share all that I learned so I will just hit the high points.
The little town of Hidalgo takes center stage every December celebrating in a big way with the Hidalgo Festival of Lights. Festivities began on December 1 with the lighting of the Christmas tree in front of the Arena Box Office. The celebration continues through January 2nd but will be closed on December 24th, December 31st and January 1st.
Yes, Christmas is coming and there is so much to see and do. If you take part in only a few of the festivities, there is no doubt you will be in a Holiday Mood. Just imagine - beginning on December 3 - this Friday - you can choose almost any town in the Rio Grande Valley and see a grand Christmas Parade. The biggest and most impressive of all the parades might easily be the one in McAllen at the football stadium where giant helium filled characters adorn the floats. This parade is on Saturday, December 4 and begins at 7 p.m. There is an entry fee for this event. Tickets can be purchased at the McAllen CVB and will run anywhere from $10 to $25 depending on where you want to sit in the stadium. Check your local museums regarding the possibility of a Christmas Tree Forest display where locals have decorated trees with special Christmas themes. Some museums will ask for a donation, others will have a small entry fee.
Happy Thanksgiving. And we have so much to be thankful for. We live in a beautiful, wonderful world alive with trees and flowers and friends. Blue skies and warm sunshine. Most of us have plenty of food, a warm bed, and a sheltered home waiting for us at the end of each day. But not everyone is so blessed. Some families are without jobs and have too many mouths to feed. Or maybe they are handicapped or a single parent with just more than too much responsibility. Let us all give thanks for what we do have. Truly the months of November and December are months of celebration and thanksgiving.
Most all families have traditions. Perhaps it is decorating the Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving or maybe it is spending July 4th at the beach or going shopping early on Saturday mornings. Whatever your tradition may be, if you live in a state that borders Mexico some of their traditions may well have spilled over into our country.
For instance, the lasso that is still used in many Mexican weddings. The lasso - generally a white rope or garland of flowers - is placed over the bride and groom symbolizing their unity and eternal love for each other. Or the quinceanera, a big celebration that so many young girls look forward to with great anticipation. This tradition generally begins in the church where the parents ask God's blessing and guidance for their 15-year-old daughter as they recognize they have done their best to raise her to this so-called age of reason when she must make many decisions on her own. Maybe if you live in a border city you have had the honor of being invited to take part in a posada. The word posada translates to English as Inn. A posada then is a re-enactment of Mary and Joseph seeking a place where the Christ Child could be born.
Today is the first day for the largest festival that Harlingen promotes...the Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival kicks off today and will continue through November 14. The Valley is home to some major flyways so locals as well as those from out of state and even out of the country will convene in Harlingen to hear famous birders give seminars and lead bird watching expeditions. What a wonderful opportunity for all of us to learn a little more about the wonders of the Rio Grande Valley.
Seminar leaders and birding guides on the expeditions are famous for their knowledge, experience, and leadership. Take advantage of the opportunity to learn more about our bird friends when you attend the festival held at the Harlingen Convention Center.
I continue to be amazed at how many things there are to see and do in the Rio Grande Valley. It seems that every town has a festival or a special day to celebrate. There is the Butterfly Festival in Mission, the Birding Festival in Harlingen and another in McAllen, the Citrus Festival in Edinburg, the Festival of Las Palmas in McAllen and not to be missed the Festival of Lights in the small town of Hidalgo. Even Kingsville joined in with the Saturday before Thanksgiving celebrating ranch life with the Ranch Hand Breakfast. You name it, we've got it. And then we have the Parades - July 4th, Veterans Day and Christmas Parades as well as the Port Isabel Boat Parade just to name a few.
"I've got talent, a lot of talent" or "tengo talento, mucho talento." At least that is what a graduate of the Port Isabel High School Class of 2018 said as he prepared to compete in Estrella TV's show. And yes, the Rio Grande Valley has a lot of talent. Our schools and communities are doing all possible to offer our younger - and older - generations the opportunity to develop that talent. Just look around - almost every community has a performing arts theater. The choirs, bands and orchestras in our local schools are some of the most outstanding in our state. We are all missing out if we do not take time to attend their performances. Look at what your community offers. You will not have to travel far from home to enjoy a live, top-notch performance.
Welcome home! We have missed you. Let us hope and pray that the Canadian-US border will be open when our Canadian friends are ready to journey to Sunny South Texas. And has it ever been sunny this summer. Temperatures during the summer months never rose above the hundred mark most of the time staying in the low to mid ninety range. We have not had much rain but when it did rain it seemed to come all at the wrong time for our farmers - raining when it was time to harvest the grain and dumping just enough to interfere with cotton picking - even damaging the cotton bolls that were ready to be picked.