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Growing up in Bandera

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Here in my retirement years when I wake each morning, I immediately start thinking about what needs to be done that I didn’t get done yesterday.

The urgency in daily chores has been cast aside for quite some time. Now my thoughts are focused on what priority should be placed on things that I no longer consider a priority. Wondering who might have a doctor appointment that day always requires some thought.

Back in the day, the only factor in determining my daily plans would have been the weather.

Pouring rain meant sitting in the house waiting for a break, hoping the river would get up enough to make tubing the area from the old Mayan bridge to Dripping Springs a quick trip we could do twice in a day.

Seems we were always needing some rain in the summertime when the temperatures were at their peak to get the river acceptable for swimming in my mom’s eyes. “Stay out of that stagnant water! Do you wanna get polio?”

If we had a strong, dry cold front blowing, I knew it meant we could gather pecans along the river without having to do any thrashing. Mother nature could always do a better job than we could.

We would throw sticks up into the upper branches until our arms gave out. John Evans would climb up and get on a limb and shake the pecans out. Well, he did that until one day when a limb broke, and so did John’s leg when he hit the ground. Not the first or last time my mom and our old ‘47 Chevy truck were put into emergency ambulance service.

Those brown paper sacks we carried our groceries in from the store came in handy during pecan picking and when gathering vegetables out of our garden. They were used as a lunch sack and book covers too during our school days.

My purchases at the liquor store these days still come home in a paper bag, but the squirrels around my neighborhood don’t leave me enough pecans to gather. Most years I’m lucky if I can manage to salvage enough for a pecan pie.

As a toddler, I couldn’t wait to go to school with my older sisters. Then I couldn’t wait to get to high school. Then it was wanting to get a job making good money to take care of my family’s needs. Now in retirement my goal is to have obligation-free days so I can take naps as I please.

As I’m writing, Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and my memories of Growing Up In Bandera are going back to the days of a kid hanging around and hoping to get a taste of something that was producing all those wonderful smells in my mom’s kitchen.

Pies along with turkey and dressing were in the oven. Our kitchen was never a lonely place to be. That was especially true around the holidays. It was always full of warmth, sweet smells and people sharing the love of family and friends.