Those Wonderful Winter Texans

By Don "Dad Feets" Wierenga, Part-Time Texan

Winter Texans are wonderful people!

Wherever you meet us . . . in your shops, restaurants or beaches, we are friendly, upbeat and happy. We love to talk, we smile a lot, we walk fast and drive slowly, fill all services at the local churches, take golf, tennis and fishing seriously and pay our bills on time. Maybe a bit too frugal, but generally we are nice people to have around. At least we think we are!

So how will this island survive when we are replaced next month with spring breakers? All that beer and strange music, exposed skin . . . and that language! Well I guess if you completely replace two cultures, only a handful of locals need to adapt. I have a feeling that they will adjust quite easily. Maybe too easily. Perhaps church attendance will drop off and the police may need to add some overtime, but our message of tolerance has rubbed off -- and besides, think of all those dollars.

And what about us? Will we slip back into our home communities, our comfortable church pew, our grand kids, our country clubs, and let someone else worry about all the mayhem that surrounds us? Very easily.

We hear a lot of talk these days about balancing the budget and preserving our life style for future generations. We hear that for the first time the American Dream, as we knew it, may no longer be obtainable. In this election year we will be bombarded by candidates explaining their solution for solving the economic ills of the world.

Yet, I wonder if that really is the issue. Sure we want to pass on to our grandchildren an economy that affords the opportunity for a life style better than our own, but is that really the best we can do? I think not. Perhaps we give too much credit and responsibility to our elected leaders for charting our course when it is, in fact, the gift of ourselves that will make the difference.

So, who will make the big difference when those two cultures leave this island paradise and re-enter the real world? At first glance I would bet on the spring breakers. Their youth, idealism, enthusiastic spirit and perseverance will lead us comfortably into the twenty first century. After all, we - of the "check out" generation - have made our mark and are running out of time and energy. Yet I can't help but believe that we still have much to give . . . .

I propose that we keep talking, playing golf, going to church . . . all of the things that we do best . . . only with a little more enthusiasm and a different perspective. Our purpose is not to be seen in the right places or to say the right things or be politically correct. Life after 65 is too short to worry about those things. This is the time to return to the hope of permanent truths . . . look to something beyond ourselves. . . . and make sure the world understands us.

Valentine's Day is a small way to start. I love my wife, she loves to go out for dinner. Our restaurant of choice will appreciate my patronage and our waitress will appreciate my generous tip. When done right, we are all winners.



sandy feet, Texan by Choice

Hey, dad! Didja hear the one about the local bartender who changed the lyrics of "Blue Eyes Cryin' in the Rain" to "Blue Hairs Drivin' in my Lane?"

All right. Though some of us locals may indeed be guilty of having a bit of fun at your expense, you gotta know we love ya and appreciate you being here. After all, someone has to keep the "parde" going until the spring breakers get here!

The increasing presence of bikinis on the beach and hormones in the breeze may be as refreshing as a breath of spring air -- but when all is said and done, we locals are uncomfortably aware of the fact that we will never see 21 again. Your presence makes us feel young -- and also gives us a glimpse of our own not-too-distant futures. What will the Island be like 20 years from now, when I am approaching your advanced years? Will the the current crop of local babies be making cracks behind my back about "that weird sandcastle lady"?

I hope so!

In the meantime, the locals have scheduled Winter Texan Appreciation week this month, featuring lots of activities to show you just how much we care. For example, you won't want to miss the SPI in the SKY Kite Contest, Fun Fly and Sand Castle Demonstration scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 11 on the beach at the Radisson. Bring your kite to compete for cool prizes -- or just fly for the fun of it. Members of the Borderwinds Kite Club will give demonstrations of their flying techniques and show off some really fine kites.

Nearby, the Sons of the Beach Sandcastle Wizards will be busy working on their traditional Valentine - themed castle. If weather allows, we will continue working on the project through Feb. 14th. Our goal is to create the perfect Valentine's Day photo opportunity -- so don't forget your sweetie and your camera.

With the exception of the kite contest -- which costs $5 to enter -- it's all free, brought to you by your friends at Windchasers Kite Shop, the SoBs, Pizza Express, BK's Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning, Padre Island Brewing Company and the Borderwinds Kite Club.

You will find the complete listing of Winter Texan Appreciation Week events elsewhere in this fine publication, Dad, and I hope you will take full advantage of the fun and freebies. Of course, as a fully-qualified Sand Castle Wizard, your presence will be expected on our sandpile.

As long as you drive slow in the slow lane, refrain from feeding the seagulls right next to my sandcastle, and remember to tip generously -- we should all be able to get along just fine.

Back to SoB