Sunday, January 01, 2006

New Year's in the Rio Grande Valley

Last night as we counted down the seconds to midnight, I went outside to see the fireworks from around the neighborhood. My children were out of town last night, so I had no excuse to buy fireworks this year. This year's celebration was a bit surreal in that it was so warm. Many people were enjoying themselves outdoors. You could hardly see around the neighborhood from so much fireworks smoke. There was also the smoke from all the grilling still going on.

One thing of concern to me is that many of my mom's neighbors shoot their guns up in the air for New Year's. This year, the neighborhood had more shooting than in the past. It wasn't just pistols, you could also hear automatic weapons and long sequences of gunfire. I know that it was gunfire because of the distinct sound guns make and because I saw the muzzle flash from the guns. I went back inside after getting pelted by fireworks debris. Every year, there are public service announcements telling people not to shoot their guns up in the air because the bullets have to come down somewhere. Every year, people do it anyway.

Things die down after midnight, there is the hugging and wishing a Happy New Year. Traditionally, people eat grapes for New Year's. Just as on Christmas, there were tamales and buñuelos. In our case, there was plenty of alcohol to liven everybody's mood. Life is good; life will be good this year. Sometimes, it's frustrating in the Rio Grande Valley because the pace of life is so slow here. It's said that Americans live to work and Mexicans work to live. The Valley is a bit of a middle ground. We have plenty of hard working individuals here. Yet, things are slow-paced. If you want change, it takes a while. I look forward to the changes that come about in 2006. The Rio Grande Valley will no doubt continue to improve the standard of life of our residents and we will continue to root out corruption from our local governments. Let's also continue to reduce ignorance amongst our population. We can do better.

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