Easter Weekend at a Texas State Park

*Things started to change around Thursday as the vacant sites on our tree-lined park road started to fill up and the voices, energy, and comradarie of Hispanic families brought a new vitality to the neighborhood. Pickups full of camping gear, kayaks, bikes, and coolers rolled in and soon we could hear salsa music and the yells of bike-riding kids.

I know that Texas State Parks promote holiday use of their campgrounds but we have never been here before on Easter. A park friend of mine told me, "It’s especially big in areas with lots of Hispanic families – Laredo gets more than any." A Falcon park staffer told me that they get thousands and it can be an hour wait just getting into the park.

Lots of families tent camp and cluster in family/friend groups wherever there is room.

I see lots of chunky kids but few are looking at electronics: soccer games in the road, lots of volleyball practice, tree-climbing, bike riding with very little "organized (or monitored) by adults. Adults, with exceptions, tend to relax and let the kids romp.

Speaking of romping, I was out on a bird walk this morning when suddenly this girl comes racing down the path followed by a boy on a bike and a portly dad biking along. "Can’t keep up with her," he said as he rode by. I didn’t think about it until a few minutes later, when the same girl came flying by on the oyster shell trail followed by her family cyclists. Now, I was impressed. Later, back on the main park road, up they came and she stopped, bent over for a moment to recover, and began walking. I immediately asked her whether she ran in school, complimenting her as her dad answered for her.

He told me that she runs for a club, had just broken a world record, and come in second in a national race. I got her name, wished her well, and told them that I would follow her successes down the road. And off she jogged. It was a chance encounter with a young woman who may, some day, be an Olympian. Here’s part of a writeup in February by Rachel Cole for a Corpus Christi TV station:

*CORPUS CHRISTI –
Corpus Christi is the home of a brand new world record holder. Ciara Martinez, 12, is proud to have crushed the standing record in a 15K race.

Her coach, Edward Ortiz with Elite Feet of Corpus Christi says, 15K is 9.3 miles and she did it in an hour and six minutes, just about a seven minute mile pace.

Martinez set the new world record over the weekend in Dallas. Her time clocked in at four minutes faster than the previous record.

"We went to go race the 5K that I’ve been training for 6 months to break the world record, I came up short but I got first overall out of like 4-thousand women," she said….

This campground will be a ghost town Sunday night as all the local visitors return home. It will be nice to have some peace and quiet just before we head out – but we’ll miss the chaos of kids at play. It is a reminder of our grandkids and how much we miss them. Feliz Pascua.

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