san antonio shenanigans |san antonio + luckenbach, t.x.

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When one goes to Corpus, one must go to San Antonio. Home to my dad's family and Los Spurs, we go up to hang out, eat velveeta queso and ghost-peppered pickles, shop, explore, and ring in the New Year.

This year, our mission was to find ballet folklorico costumes for my mom, so we ventured into "South San," where we found exquisite street art, a santeria shop, a huge mural of Selena, a low road-scrapin' dog (reference to our favorite children's book...worth the listen, y'all), and then Wyatt made his best attempt to blend in with an army of piñatas. We finally ended up at La Gloria, an eclectic Mexican Street Food cafe with prickly pear margaritas and tacos al pastor to satiate our hungry bellies. Wyatt later passed out with Grandpa Charlie's hairless cat on his face.

The next day, we ventured out to Luckenbach and Fredricksburg to go be tourists. Luckenbach, Texas, made famous by Waylon Jennings ("...Willie + the boys"), is a small used-to-be town that is all about beer and good music. We went real early in the morning, so we didn't get to hear any guitar pickin' but we did get to meet Virgil the Storeguy. You guessed it, he runs the general store, which is housed in the old post-office. Virgil is quite the joker and has the most unique and full-hearted and contagious laugh I've ever heard. He said he plans on riding out to N.C. on his Harley to visit his son and daughter-in-law at the coast. If you ever get out this way, Virgil, I suggest a good Eastern Carolina BBQ, hush puppies, and a solid craft beer. For those of you traveling to or through Texas, get out to Luckenbach, make sure you get an ice-cold Shiner, appreciate all the musical memorabilia, listen to a good round of guitar pickin', stay far far away from the evil roosters, and give Virgil a big ol' handshake and a reason to joke around!

New Year's Eve can be summed up in three topics: Head's Up, champagne, crappy fireworks. Either way, it's always a good time. Grandpa Charlie acted out a t-rex, Komodo dragon, a sloth, and an elephant while playing Head's Up. Wyatt went and bought a bag of fireworks, that ultimately failed to be as awesome as usual but were still a lot of fun. We rang in the New Year with champagne and kisses and many hopes for a great 2015.

New Year's Day: Rudy's BBQ + Blue Bell Ice Cream. No need to elaborate on that greatness.

And finally, today, we said adios (or a see you later) to Wyatt as he embarks on his journey to ABQ. He is going to live with our Tías, start fresh, and make awesome music. Godspeed to you and all your adventures out west (I also hope you finally befriend Chispa)! I expect killer snapchats, sweet instagrams, and all your greatness to beam out of you! Miss + love you, fool!

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santo niño cemetery | duval county, t.x.

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On Christmas Day, we drove out to our family's cemetery, Santo Niño, in Duval County to wish my grandpa a merry Christmas. The cemetery is now a Texas Historical Landmark and was established in June of 1908. My grandma, who should be a docent, told us stories of our ancestors up to my great great great grandparents. This humble cemetery has so much history in it and is the resting place to veterans, ranchers, and educators to name a few professions. My grandma is an avid genealogist and has traced parts of our family back to the year 608 with names and dates and is currently in the 500s with her tracing of another branch of the family (yes, that far back...1500 years ago!).

She told stories of our family's history, how my great grandma got grazed by a rifle at the ranch, how my grandmother and sisters spent her summers at her family ranch in San Diego, Texas, how her family survived the Texas City explosion in 1947, and how my great grandmother moved her family to Kingsville to run a boarding house so they would have the money and the opportunity to go to school at Texas A & I (now Texas A&M Kingsville). I suggested my grandma start recording all her stories as they are so full of Texas and Mexican American history. Hopefully we can make this a reality in the coming years!

Our family cemetery was recently deemed a Texas Historical Landmark and we are raising money to post the sign and have a dedication ceremony (it's that official, y'all). If you're interested in donating, contact me and I'll pass you along to the right people.

Prospero Año Nuevo!

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Hill Country's Greatest Vied's (pt. 3)

It was January 1, 2010 and we were leaving Texas. On the way out, we stopped in Castroville to see Great Grandpa and Great Grandma. We had lunch at the local diner and got one last Hershey's Bar with Almonds and a Diet Coke (hey, one thing has to be sugar-free, right?).

Lunch at Sammy's consisted of cheeseburgers, coffee and Big Red. The quick wit of Great Grandpa even had Dad laughing, which is unseen unless he's watching America's Funniest Videos.

You can't even keep the junk food out of the nursing home. Wyatt pulled back the curtain and found Ritz. Hidden in the fridge are Hershey's bars, Baby Ruth's and Diet Cokes. I love great grandparents!

When I see this, I see hands of a Great Grandma that form a heart. She is full of love, smiles and an occasional surprise curse word.

Great Grandpa's hands have always had his Shriner ring and a half chewed cigar. It's been this way for as long as I can remember.

A subtle smile appears on Great Grandpa's face as he gives me a hard time for taking photographs. In the background is one of the few things he brought to the nursing home. Amidst his old tape recorders and reading machine, he has his shadow box of his military accomplishments. He's a war hero. And even a WWII honoree.

As Great Grandpa said, "What makes a clock run faster, then?" I've been trying to answer that for a while now. I guess nothing makes it run  faster, it's just the good times that make time fly right before our eyes and in a moment, it's all over.