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Growing Up in Bandera

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Lots of people, myself included, complain about the trash along our streets and highways. A few of us do what we can to help alleviate the problem but it’s way too big to be overcome with so few people willing to get involved. If you think the problem didn’t exist back in the day, you are mistaken.

I remember an old saying about things looking like we were going to have a good spring because the grass was already beer can high. Any old rancher can explain it to you if need be. Those old cans weren’t made of aluminum so there was no bounty on them like there was on the glass bottles. I remember riding in our old Chevy truck and hollering for my mom to stop so I could retrieve a beer or soda pop bottle along the road. I was always on the lookout. That was a good source of income for many kids to be spent on penny candy at McGroarty’s Store.

Before the pull tab or pop a top cans and twist off bottle caps it was necessary to have an opener handy. It was most likely referred to as a church key and still is by some of us oldtimers because even today not all bottle caps are twist off. Like lots of other things from back in the old days openers of all kinds have become collectibles.

The old time breweries are long gone but the advertising items they produced are still available around the area. Jax, Falstaff and Schlitz were major brands in earlier times but disappeared years ago. Due to our close proximity to San Antonio, the Lone Star and Pearl memorabilia is still plentiful at yard sales locally.

The category of litter to be found is still mostly drink containers of all types but now we have plastic and styrofoam containers leading the way. I will not even mention the most recent face mask infestation on our streets in town. It is a shame that we can’t come up with a workable plan for recyclable materials. It’s obvious that we will never figure out why some people just have to trash our roadways. Trashy people just have trashy habits.

Maybe we could take a lesson from back during my early Growing Up In Bandera days and make picking up litter profitable. Then maybe we could talk James McGroarty into opening a penny candy counter like his mom and dad had on 11th Street during Bandera’s golden years.