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Hello, it is now past mid-January and my mind keeps going back to Christmas. Maybe it is because I am reminded daily of the wonderful time I had with family and friends. One half of my dining room table is covered with a thousand-piece puzzle of the nativity. And then my bedtime reading is a historical book given to me for Christmas. It is about the revolutionary women of Texas and Mexico. So many of these women organized for equality mainly in education. But also, for the right to vote and for the right to choose who they wanted to marry.

Perhaps it was this book that finally pushed me into volunteering to be a tutor for children who were having problems with reading. Or maybe it was because I had so long admired our older citizens and Winter Texans who volunteered. Truly they make a difference. So yesterday I reported for my first day as a tutor to help children who had reading problems. Surely the ability to read is one of the most important skills that we can learn.

Earlier in the school year I asked my fifth-grade nephew how he was doing in school. His reply was that he made an A+ in science and in Math, but that you could not make an F plus or an F minus, it’s just an F. He was getting an F in reading. Later in the year, those math problems became written problems and his excellent grade in Math began to drop. Fortunately, some wonderful person volunteered to serve as his tutor. Finally, the book, the example set by so many retirees and my nephew’s experience encouraged me to volunteer.

I have requested to work with teenagers. Remember when you were a teenager…. You were neither an adult nor a child, but in between trying to find out who you really were. Although I studied to be an elementary teacher, junior high age has always been my favorite age. They need us.

Tours and travel are on the upswing. Two very popular trips are already at capacity – The Big Bend and the faith-based Footsteps of Paul are both on a wait list basis. On the Big Bend Tour, I could only block 15 rooms in the Big Bend National Park. Those are selling fast so if you are thinking about this one, you need to plan, and soon, as all hotels have a deadline when you must give up any unsold seats.

I will continue to keep the costs to you as low as I possibly can. Note that the King Ranch tours are not priced yet. One of the most expensive parts of any tour is the transportation. If tour and travel companies are overwhelmed with people wanting to travel. So are the bus companies in quoting their costs. Just as soon as all costs are furnished to me, I will price those tours.

Increases in costs of living filter down to the hotels, the restaurants, and the transportation costs. Expect an increase – I will keep the increase as little as I possibly can. That’s a promise.
Hope to see you soon.