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.
Read more: November 17, 2021 - On the Road with Jo
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.
Read more: November 10, 2021 - On the Road with Jo
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.
Read more: RGV full of festivals and other events
"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.
Read more: The Valley abounds with talent
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.
Read more: On the Road with Jo - Memories and new experiences
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.
Read more: Have a Great Summer
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.
Read more: Take time to smell the roses
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.
Read more: March 17, 2021 - On the Road with Jo
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.
Read more: Looking Forward
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.
Read more: March 3, 2021 - On The Road