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By Carina A. Brunson

Us here at the Winter Texan Times have been trying to connect with our Winter Texans more this year. In doing so, we have developed relationships with some that we are finding hard to say goodbye to for the season, and with the COVID-19 pandemic we are now worried for our friends – for all of you.

Y’all have been on our minds as we are making our own decisions on working from home, shutting down the office, and other decisions that we don’t have to face on a day to day basis.

What we are hearing from those we talk to is that you are taking this one day at a time for now – as we all are. We are all watching the news, staying on top of the current findings, current regulations in our city, county, state and nation. It’s a bit chaotic to stay on top of everything, but we are trying our best.

With staying on top of things, we have decided to not publish calendar items for the month of March. We know most, if not all, of these events have been cancelled – some until further notice. So, we are only publishing events that are in April and after for now. When we get more feedback on when events are happening, we will update our website.

For now, we want to err on the side of caution since we don’t know what next week, or even tomorrow, will be like.

If you do need to get in touch with anyone at the office, you can call our office phone at (956) 580-7800 or email news@wintertexantimes.com or ads@wintertexantimes.com. Although our office doors will be closed to visits, we will still be answering calls and email.

This week will also be our last week that we are open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Next week we will begin business at 9 a.m.

What are you doing?

We have been able to reach out to a couple of Winter Texans at various parks to get an idea of how everyone is coping with this, especially those that travel back to their northern homes.

Marcie Swenson said this is the first time they have locked their gates at Bentsen Palm RV Park. In the recent weeks, one by one activities have had to be cancelled.

“I was quite sad when the lady from Mr. Gatti’s called and said we couldn't have our function at their place,” said Swenson. She was concerned about the lady that called – a single mom of two. “I am not only concerned about us, but also all of those that are losing their jobs,” she added.

“We can do it one way or another,” said Swenson. “But these young ones – I worry about them.”

At Bentsen Palm, she said quite a few residents are staying another month, others are in limbo on wondering if they should stay or leave. Kids are calling them and telling them they should head back home closer to them, she said.

Residents are thinking of the traveling hazards, of how much they would be exposed to when getting gas, staying at a hotel.

“If there isn’t a reason to go home, most are staying,” she said. “We are doing what we are being told to – one day at a time.”

For now, “All is well,” she said.

“It’s interesting because this is nothing we have ever encountered,” said Swenson.

Leisure Valley Ranch resident Angie Radosevic said everything at her park has been cancelled as well. The office is only open through this Friday.

“Many of us are staying in,” she said. They are only going out to do any necessary shopping.

Many of the parks Winter Texan residents have left already to go back north, she added.

Angie and her husband are Texan transplants, so they only travel a bit during the summer. They are hoping to go to a wedding in California in August, but aren’t sure how that is going to work out yet.

Beryl Stovell, who winters at Palm Resaca Park, said most of the Winter Texans in her park are on their way home or are already are at their northern homes. Or, she said, are like them – who are in their second day of traveling north to Ontario.

“There is a core group of Canadians in Palm Resaca,” she said, “who have chosen to weather it out till mid-April or later.”

Stovell added that Canadian retirees under teacher pensions had to leave first and quickly. Their pension board announced that they had 10 days to be back in Canada after the pandemic announcement, or they would not be covered under their medical travel insurance.

All events at the park had been cancelled and the office and the Thomas Center are closed – “for the first time ever,” she said.

As of this past Monday, the pool was still open, but to no more than 10 people at a time.

“No hugs, no touching others, but lots of quiet visiting,” said Stovell. “One on one, at a distance, and usually outdoors.”

She said there were many email edicts and encouragement from the Park Manager, Misty, about self-regulations and necessary isolation.

“Everyone seems to have cooperated with social distancing and we are sad to have to leave a month early.”

“So, it seems that we seniors of Palm Resaca are doing the best to follow necessary changes, which seem to come frequently,” said Stovell.

“The graveness of the World’s health issues have caused us to take the situation seriously, and we are living, one day at a time.”

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