Monday, November 26, 2012

I'm thankful for our community

There is much to be thankful about here in the heart of the Texas Hill Country, Kerr County. I am thankful for many people in our community, and there are quite a few things for which I am also thankful. It is good to have a holiday where we can count our blessings.
It would be hard to live in such a beautiful place and not be thankful. Ms. Carolyn pointed out to me the “rusting” of the cypress trees, that time each year when the soft green needles on the trees turn orange red and brown, they become brittle and fall to the river below.
I remember years ago tramping through the woods one early evening as the cypress were rusting and coming across a flutter of monarch butterflies. There were thousands of them, and they made a cathedral of the towering cypress trees — some clinging to the branches, others floating silently between them.
I remembered that moment this weekend when I crossed the Veterans Highway bridge near the Kerrville Schreiner Park. Looking upstream, the familiar green of the Guadalupe was now framed in red.
But it’s not just the fortune of living in this place for which I’m thankful. There are so many folks here for whom I’m thankful as well.
I’m thankful, of course, for my family, especially for my patient wife, and thankful all three of our kids came home to share the Thanksgiving meal with us. I’m thankful I get to work with my sister at the print shop, and I’m thankful for how close Judy, Mom, and I have become since Dad's passing.
I’m thankful for friends who put up with me and my eccentricities — many have been putting up with me for a very long time.
I’m thankful for people in our community who work hard every day trying to make this community a better place.
There are a few who get a lot of notice, their names and their deeds showing up in the pages of this newspaper. But there are many, many more for whom notice is not the reward they seek, their reward is helping others.
Over the past year, the old hospital came down and a new city hall rose up, complementing the work done on that block at the Kerr Arts and Cultural Center, Charles Schreiner’s home and the Schreiner Building.
I’m thankful for the new clock tower. I really like to hear the hour struck; it reminds me of my days at the University of Texas at Austin, when my dorm room window faced the tower. Perhaps it reminds me of my distant youth.
I’m thankful for the renovated library, and though that institution has faced some rough water lately as the politicians bicker about its funding, I’m thankful for all of those who work there and share their knowledge so freely. I know I would not be the person I am today had the library not been there when I was a boy, and I hope others have been made better persons for the library being there.
Though it hurts my heart to see Tranquility Island paved with a wide sidewalk, I am thankful those with mobility issues will have a chance to share the river with those of us who have grown up beside her. I have been an unpaid keeper of many things about our river, surveying and exploring wild stretches of it. Now others can share in that duty.
I’m thankful for our community, and I’m thankful to be a small part of it.
Until next week, all the best.
Joe Herring Jr. is a Kerrville native who likes a beautifully roasted turkey, but only once a year, please. This column originally appeared in the Kerrville Daily Times November 24, 2012.


  1. Bravo, Joe! I enjoyed this one alot.

  2. Joe, your readers are thankful for you!


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