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Growing Up in Bandera

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We all have to grow up sometime. Or so we are told. It’s taken some of us a lot longer than others. I believe I fall into that category. Looking to the future always leads to looking back for me. Maybe it’s the modern day troubles that make me long for the carefree life of my younger days here in Bandera.

As a kid if I was switched or swatted on my backside for some misdeed it was all forgotten by the next day. Even in school the nuns at St. Joseph’s Catholic School didn’t hold grudges except for maybe Sister John Bernard. I don’t even remember what I did to make her mad but it was a daily struggle. My mom on the other hand always made me breakfast the next day so she was either real forgiving or real forgetful. That was understandable since she had six kids and three were girls so that might help explain things.

There were plenty of adventures waiting just around the corner for me so I didn’t dwell on the past. One short block to walk and I could drop down into the world of the Medina River. It was a wonderland that I still find difficult to describe in words. It was so far removed from the world that existed just above. There were no distractions like we experience today. No sirens or traffic noise constantly making us aware that our community has grown beyond a peaceful existence.

The wind in the cypress trees or the sound of water rushing through the rapids brought a peace that can only be found in my mind now as I recall those carefree days. Now when the Evans boys were down there it was an entirely different scene. Peace and quiet were not to be found.

Playing King of the Mountain in the river on that huge tractor tube they had was a pretty rowdy spectacle. Add in the Jacoby boys and it was like a scene from Little Rascals or Tom Sawyer.

We sometimes would spend hours building a rock dam at Dripping Springs just above the big rocks and then make a small gap in it to provide a good flow for a tube ride. That side of the river included The Swing area where all the older kids would gather and it was much different than my home base along the Mayan Ranch Road.

I liked the solitude of the area close to home where the only people I might see were trailriders from the Mayan or Mr. Deskin taking his daily walk. Sometimes Doc Gray or Tom Anderwald would show up to dig fishing worms or I might see Cricket Kalka checking his minnow traps.

Growing Up In Bandera was a struggle for me over the years as I began meeting my adult responsibilities while longing for the freedoms of my youth. Simple things like finding a soda bottle to turn in for a deposit are gone forever. Just as well I guess because you can’t buy penny candy anywhere in town these days.