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Growing Up in Bandera

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Having reached the age of seventy-five I have come to the conclusion that I have probably reached my peak when it comes to my first time experiences. Some of them were great and some were tragic. Some were unbelievable. Like the first time kissing a girl while not knowing what to expect. So nervous because I was heading into unfamiliar territory armed only with tales supplied by my more experienced buddies. That is a favorite first and it was unforgettable. It would be years before anything even remotely comparable came along.

The first time being able to ride a bike. First time to ride a horse. First time on a motorcycle. Driving a vehicle with no one else around for the first time. That was a good one. Not comparable to that first kiss but it was nice.

It was exciting the time I first realized I could swim and also when I could do a flip off the swing down at the river. There were many firsts for me along the length of the Medina River bending around Bandera on it’s way to Medina Lake. Camping, fishing, tubing and first discovering the many wonders of nature that the river held. Nice!!! But that first kiss.........

My first job where I earned my own spending money set into motion a long quest to earn some serious money. That first experience hauling hay and watermelons. First learning how to dig a proper post hole and safely string barbed wire. That first kiss was way ahead of these.

I recall in detail getting fired from a job for the first time. It was actually a good experience which I enjoyed immensely since I hated that job so much. But it didn’t rise to the level of how much I enjoyed that first kiss.

First time losing a relative I was very close to hit me pretty hard. I also lost some very young friends and I was devastated and confused for a long time over how something like that was even possible. Some firsts were unbearable.

There would be girlfriends who would break my young heart from time to time but I still fondly remember my first time going steady.

After St. Joseph Catholic School as I was going to my first day in high school I was a nervous wreck. Then I remember how much I enjoyed my first day as a senior in high school knowing I was on my final leg. After graduation my freedom was short lived as I soon had my first job in the big city.

It was along about those latter high school years while Growing Up In Bandera that I finally found something that blew away that first kiss experience. It was another first kiss from a girl who would capture my heart and share fifty-six wonderful years of marriage with this Bandera boy. It will forever be my favorite first.