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Growing Up in Bandera

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The sound of the bells at St. Stanislaus Catholic Church are a soothing reminder of my raisin' while I sit in my backyard watching the garden grow. All those memories from the years I spent serving mass with Father Victor come racing back. There are thoughts of friends who have grown old with me and those who left us way too soon.

I have lost track of some schoolmates from back in those early elementary school days while others have been a continuous part of my life. Charlie Fellows and I still live in that same old neighborhood we grew up in.

My friend Angel Martinez was almost a daily companion on the schoolgrounds of St. Joseph's Catholic School after classes let out each day. We shot marbles and played baseball with a passion that even our moms couldn't comprehend. That was obvious as we often received threats of "get home now" by way of our younger siblings.

In high school we remained friends but saw each other less frequently as we traveled in different groups. We both received greetings from Uncle Sam around the same time. I completed my tour of duty and returned to continue a blessed life in Bandera but my friend lost it all in that damned Viet Nam War. Sadly, what could have been was not to be.

Bubba Montague was a classmate through 8th grade before he headed out of Bandera for his high school education. We lost touch for years after that but we had some good times at St. Joseph's when we would walk to his house after class and get in a jeep to go to their ranch out on Ridge Route Road. Bubba passed away in recent years and it seems he had a good life but was too soon gone.

What can I tell you about my friend Richard Kinsey? Among other things there are statutes of limitation to consider. It's funny how some tales become bigger than life when you refuse to acknowledge or comment on them. But then there are others that are just a sneak peek at the truth.

Richard and I didn't become close friends until we were in high school which may have been a good thing. Let it be known that I never had a better friend.

Richard's dad was the town marshal so we had to tread lightly around town. Most people saw the quiet reserved Richard but I knew more of the guy behind the curtain. That is true of his knowing things about me too while we were Growing Up In Bandera so we'll just let sleeping dogs lie.