Saturday, January 24, 2015

Border Impact

I made an appointment Friday to get my hair cut and Carmen did a great job.  I have used her while here for several years.  It was so windy, there was no sense having it styled.  So it was just blown dry with a brush and that's all.  She said her business is down, many folks have not returned.

When Ted picked me up we headed west to La Joya to El Rancho Charco, a beautiful venue on the Rio Grande River.  I have carried an ad around for about three years advertising wagon rides, exotic animals, waterfalls, dance bands and a restaurant.  There is going to be an outing there for the folks of Retama but it is scheduled for after we leave.  I think one Sunday we will go there with Eileen and Tom.

In the evening we attended a production right from Branson, A Tribute to George Strait.  The couple presenting and singing were terrific and the history and life of George Strait was so interesting.  A short stint by an impersonator who could mimic anyone was a bonus.  I am going to find out where he is performing because he can talk like Gomer Pyle and sing like Elvis.  We had an enjoyable evening.

Saturday we headed to the flea market to pick up a few things we knew we needed.  These included a card holder for Carol, parsley flakes in a larger bottle than available in stores, greeting cards, wild rice from Minnesota, oranges and grapefruits.  About 1/3 of the produce vendors are missing and several vendors we frequented are gone.  

Afterwards we went to Gonzales Burgers since we hadn't stopped there on Thursday.  Best burgers ever!  We sat with a couple from Chicago and had a nice visit.  They are taking their motorhome to Houston 3/1 and taking the same cruise twice because 7 days is too short!  

I was developing a headache so I came home to lie down and we decided to go to church in the morning.  After about two hours I felt better and we went next door to play Card Bingo.  Unfortunately neither of us won.

Morning church was as crowded as evening church.  Fr. Roy gave his usual interesting homily but we had a different music group.  However, we were treated to Clay Walker's song I Want To Live, Laugh and Love.  There is always a cowboy song for the week's message as far as Fr. Roy is concerned.

When we got home Ted picked up Don and met Dave at the Skeet Club to shoot.   When he came back we went to the grocery and then over to check out Pepe's on the River.  The first 5 years we came here we loved going to Pepe's for $10 all-you-can eat fish or shrimp, $10 pitchers of margaritas and a country band for dancing.  When the river flooded in 2010 Pepe's became IN the river not ON the river.  It stayed that way until this year when it reopened.

Now they are only open on Sunday, there is no food other than a food truck and lots of motorcycles.  I am not sure we are going to frequent the place much.  We passed Riverside Club when we left that reopened in 2012 and there wasn't a parking spot anywhere.  I am sure people came from Pepe's to eat.  We like that place too and have gone there frequently and will continue to do so.  We actually saw it on Fox News last year filled with women and children filling the bar waiting for the Border Patrol to pick them up.

Ted grilled a pork tenderloin for dinner and I used some of that Minnesota wild rice to make a side dish and had some cranberries too.  We seem to be averaging eating out every other day, mostly for lunch.  Neither of us are big breakfast eaters so a big lunch and light dinner isn't so bad.  Today we skipped lunch because of our schedule and had a nice dinner, just going with the flow!

Now about my title.  For the past 10 years we had to make our reservations for the following year to insure a space.  There are a dozen or so parks on our road alone and they were all booked solid every winter.  This year every park has lots of spaces available.  The border situation is hurting the area which took in $700+ million from winter Texans last year.  

There were lots of folks over in Progreso, Mexico though spending money.  Renee's bakery was filled to capacity, all 13 chairs at the nail salon were filled with folks getting pedicures and the lines back through Customs at times have been longer than ever seen before.  I guess you have a lot of folks who still feel comfortable in the area and others not so much.  The wave of newcomers each year just didn't happen.  The answer will lie in the total spent by the Winter Texans.  People vote with their feet and pocketbook.  Until the border is truly secure, I think the Rio Grande Valley will suffer.

Choices made, whether bad or good, follow you forever and affect everyone in their path one way or another.” 
― J.E.B. Spredemann

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