And how was your Thanksgiving? Mine was extra special with a visit from my grand nephew and his father. It is so great to have family come visit, especially when one of them is a champion at almost every cook off that he enters. So naturally, he cooked the turkey … and I had never had smoked turkey before. Since I had already cooked two turkeys for a special early celebration, I was more than glad to turn over the chore to someone else.
However, I still wanted to do my share and contribute to the festivities. Desserts seemed to be in order along with homemade cranberry sauce. It had been a while since I had prepared that and oh it is so good – much better than the canned you buy at the grocery store. The supply chain interfered somewhat with preparation of the pecan pie – there was just no Karo syrup on the shelves at my local store. What a disappointment. For years, our family has been ordering green label Karo from Amazon – but not to find any Karo at all on the shelf, that is really unusual.
Read more: Now on to the Christmas festivities
Thanksgiving! It’s a time for caring. It’s a time for sharing.
As we turn our thoughts to the Thanksgiving celebration, let us remember how much we have to be thankful for. How grateful we all should be to be living in a beautiful world. And to be able to see and enjoy the flowers and trees that surround us. How thankful we should be to be able to communicate with each other. How grateful we should be for the skills, the attributes, and the talents that we have.
But what are we doing with our talents? Are we sharing them with other people? Do you have skills as a mechanic? Are you sharing those skills by offering to help a neighbor with a problem that he cannot fix? That he knows nothing about?
Perhaps you were a teacher or a tutor. It’s not too late to give of your time and talent to a local school or to your church.
So many of the Winter Texans share their skills with us. Thank you for your time and talent. Let us follow their example.
Read more: Sharing your talents this holiday season
Thanks to the Winter Texans, I now understand more about the game of Cricket … at least on paper. Now all I need to do is make time to go to one of their games. In fact, one way to keep up with all the happening in the Rio Grande Valley is to read the Winter Texan Times.
And there is a lot going on. Just take your pick – there is something for everyone – music, art, dances, garages sales, cruises on the Rio Grande River or on the Laguna Madre for fishing. The Rio Grande Valley has just about all you could ever want. Sure, we are not really a Valley, and we don’t have any mountains. In fact, we are virtually at sea level.
I live in Harlingen, where just a few miles up the road is a small town named Combes. Now old timers would call that town Combes Mountain. But why?
When I look up the elevation of Harlingen, my computer tells me that the average elevation of Harlingen is 46 feet. The elevation of Combes is just 39 feet. Could it be because Combes is somewhat north of Harlingen, people identified north with going up? Now I am really beginning to wonder why or how we look at things.
Residents of Harlingen have always said that downtown Harlingen is 33 feet. Since the Rio Grande River is actually higher than downtown Harlingen, it stands to reason that when the river floods, Harlingen, as well as most Rio Grande Valley cities, are going to be flooded. The natural flow of the flood waters will be from the river toward the Gulf of Mexico. Anyone living in the Rio Grande Valley in 1967 when we experienced Hurricane Beulah will remember how most of our Valley towns experienced major flooding. With excessive rain and slow drainage how can we not flood?
Read more: The water and rich soil of the Valley
November – truly a wonderful month to enjoy the great outdoors… It’s not too hot and not too cold – it’s just right. Our beautiful weather should be enticing all of us to step outside. I am sure the golfers are having a field day. Golf must be a wonderful sport. In the little farming community where I grew up, nobody knew anything about golf. Our school had a baseball diamond and a basketball court. Those were our two sports and that was it … you chose one or the other or perhaps, even both. If you learned to swim, you learned in the creek.
Read more: Enjoy the great outdoors with sports
A big, big Welcome Home! We have missed you…. And you missed a hot, hot summer. In fact, we had record-breaking heat and very little rain. When the temperature dropped below a hundred it was like a cold snap and were we ever relieved.
Now the weather is just perfect for enjoying an early morning walk or a golf outing or a game of shuffleboard with your friends. In fact, the weather is just right.
Our Winter Texans contribute so much to the Valley. I know economically. You help us out. And we appreciate that. But you offer so much, much more to us and you do it with so much love and understanding.
You are a pleasure and a great benefit to us. We will never be able to tell you how much we appreciate your sharing your talents, your experiences, and your loving nature with us – The most wonderful thing is that you are willing to share with us. Thanks!
Some of you may drive a little slower than some of the others who are always in a hurry to get to their destination. But I drive a little slower than I used to also. You may not see as well as you used to, but then I don’t either. But why not go a little slower. Let’s enjoy this paradise.
Read more: Welcome home and enjoy this paradise
What a wonderful contribution our Senior Citizens make to the Rio Grande Valley. They are just so willing to share their talents. Some volunteer to tutor in public schools. That is a great service not just to the teachers, but what a blessing for the students who may be having trouble reading or with math.
I think back to the time when my only grandson needed a tutor in math. He was a June baby and just a little behind in math comprehension. Today, at age 25, he is a straight A student in a prestigious law school on the East Coast. Many thanks to that tutor who was able to give her time and talents to help a child succeed.
Read more: Quilting: Just one of the things you do
I know many of our Winter Texans have already started home. Those who have not already left are probably thinking of packing up and closing down their winter homes. We are going to miss you and look forward to welcoming you back again in the fall. Have a wonderful summer wherever you may be.
But now as you think about the drive home, will you stop along the way? Yes, you are anxious to be home but why not stop and enjoy a little bit more of Texas as you head home? One of your first stops could easily be at Schulenburg - located some five hours straight up North Highway 77. Schulenburg is the home of the Painted Churches and well worth a stop as you head North.
Truly, Texas has been blessed to have so many different nationalities and cultures to settle in our state. Remnants of a European culture still exist in Schulenburg where the original settlers were from Germany, Poland and Czechoslovakia.
It was in 1848, when the German speaking countries were in revolution that so many who were seeking a democratic form of government over a monarchy decided to leave their homeland. Even so, to leave everything behind and start life anew must have been very difficult. It is no wonder that these immigrants missed the architecture of their homeland and the beautiful churches they had left behind. Farmland abounded around Schulenburg but art and materials to copy the beautiful artwork and marble found in their homeland was sadly lacking.
Read more: Stop and smell the roses on your way
Sometimes those of us who live in the Rio Grande Valley just take for granted all the wonders that surround us. Regardless of our age, we have so many opportunities to enjoy our life.
For the young or more active, how about canoeing down the Rio Grande River or perhaps kayaking in the Arroyo Colorado or in the Bay at nearby South Padre Island. Hiking trails and nature parks are scattered all over our semi-tropical area. Spring and Fall migrations attract many residents and visitors who want to add to their Birding Life List. For those of us who are more sedentary, river boats can take us up and down the river. Simply said, the Rio Grande Valley is virtually a natural paradise.
There are so many opportunities for travel and exploring. How about a Sunday afternoon drive down what is now referred to as the Memorial Highway. At one time bandits on horseback rode in this area often intercepting and robbing the mail wagons that not only carried the mail but often more valuable payrolls. Later this same road became the thoroughfare for the Oblate Fathers who were the ministers of the Christian faith to the ranches scattered along the river road. Those ministers were named the Cavalry for Christ.
Read more: Beauty and opportunity surrounds us in the RGV
Spring is in the air! Or at least that is so in the Rio Grande Valley. But not so in parts of the United States. Some places are still feeling the chill of winter with morning temperatures of around 35 degrees while temperatures for those of us in South Texas are enjoying 70 degrees - just perfect for an early morning stroll.
We can't rely on the ground hog to predict Spring for they just don't exist in this part of the United States. We often depend on another method to predict when Spring is in the air.
It is generally in mid to late February when the ordinary dead looking mesquite tree begins to show signs of life. Almost overnight beautiful emerald green lacy looking foliage adorns this tree. Then we can be sure that Spring is just around the corner. Mother Nature is giving us a tried-and-true signal - Spring is in the air.
Read more: The hardy mesquite tree
Sometimes it is a good idea if the boss becomes a guide. I really enjoy being with the passengers and guiding. Even when I do have a backup guide, things can just go wrong and I get to step in and guide. And what fun that is.
That is just what happened this past Thursday on a King Ranch Tour. My backup had covid and so I became the guide for the day. What a history we have in the King Ranch and in the formation and settling of the Rio Grande Valley. As I related the history of our area, I was again impressed with how we became the State of Texas.
Read more: History of Texas and the RGV