Monday, January 12, 2015

The stories we tell

The last time I was in an airliner, I happened to get a window seat, and I found myself looking down at the towns and cities we passed.  Some were just a few buildings at a crossroads; others were crowded metropolises.  Each has a story, and as I looked at them from above the clouds, I wondered what some of those stories might be.
I'll never know those stories, of course.  But I do know at least some of the story of our community, and I hope to share what I learn of that story here.
Tranquility Island and River Trail, 2015
While much of our community's story is similar to the stories other communities tell, there is much that makes our story unique.  Mostly, it's the unique people who live here -- and those who lived here in earlier times.  The setting of our story, in many cases, also makes it unique.  We are blessed with a beautiful place to call home -- a blessing other communities cannot claim.
Here's the thing about stories: we use them to make sense of the world around us, just like our ancestors did.  It's my opinion a good story makes a good community; if we know the story, it helps build community.
Part of that story has to be what happened here before any of us arrived on the scene, the history of a place.  I enjoy history, but not because of the various dates and facts most people associate with that word.  I enjoy history because it's a story in which we generally know the ending.  These people did this at this place -- and this happened -- and this is how their efforts changed things.
I've noticed, in researching the history of this place, several others before me have attempted to tell the story of our community, some better than others.  One or two of these storytellers focused only on the positive parts of our community's story -- in the old days they'd be called boosters.
I hope you'll agree with me that telling the whole story -- even the warty sections -- makes for a better story.  I hope to tell the stories I find as accurately as I can, whether the stories are positive or negative.
For as long as the newspaper will allow me, I would like to present at least a part of our community's story in this space.  Taken together, like tiles in a mosaic, they might give hints about the larger story of this place.  Some of the stories will show our similarity to other communities; others will demonstrate what makes our area special.
Our part of Texas seems to have a story in each canyon, a tale in each bend of our Guadalupe River, and an chapter on each hilltop. Legends abound here. I hope you'll join me here as I explore those hidden stories, even the ones hidden in plain sight.
The journey ought to be fun.
Until next week, all the best.

Joe Herring Jr. is a Kerrville native who once flew an airplane -- although very briefly, and only after it was safely in the air.

This column originally appeared in the Kerrville Daily Times January 10, 2015.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad to be hearing from you again; we've missed you!


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