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Hats off to the graduates!
by Kenda Nelson
May 29, 2009 | 1240 views | 12 12 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
If a down-side exists to living in a small, rural community, it’s having to say goodbye to our children. Inevitably, they depart for universities or jobs across the country seeking their own dreams—a good but sad occurrence each year at graduation.

As my daughter who lives on Cape Cod says, “at least I live in a nice vacation spot.” Having spent the last week on this beautiful outer bank of Massachusetts, I have to agree. Cape Cod is alive with a lush cover of greenery and flora. New England didn’t suffer the draught that robbed South Texans of springtime Indian paintbrushes, bluebonnets, buttercups and even the wonderful white thistle blooms.

The scenery is strikingly beautiful on Cape Cod this spring. No wonder my daughter Rebekah is happy there.

I have resigned myself to the notion that she will not return to Texas soon and our time together will be in one-week spurts. Many other parents are in the same boat. Yet, for me, Refugio County will always be home.

As one honor graduate from Austwell-Tivoli once relayed, “my mother spent 20 years trying to get out of Tivoli and the next 20 trying to get back,” —out of the mouth of babes.

This weekend, ex-student Vince Cantu was in town, speaking at the Memorial Day celebration on the Woodsboro Square. Vince still has family here. His brother Fanny, or Fernando for those who don’t remember the boys of the 1960s who started the locally legendary Rockin’ Dominoes band.

Vince’s and Fanny’s dad, “Charro” Cantu bought all the instruments to give the boys a start. Vince says, “Of course, we paid him back.”

How well I remember my dad going to the bank with me and my siblings to finance our first cars. The investment in our children is an age-old tale.

Fanny, who drives big rigs cross country is a technical wiz with his Blackberry, emailing pictures to his 1964 classmates of snowstorms in Minnesota and sunsets in Wyoming, never out of touch. His RHS class meets regularly at the Heard cabin off Kelley Road for reunions.

Like those who came before them, no matter how far they roam, this year’s graduates will always consider this little niche on the Gulf Coast Plain their home.

This week, parents across the county will open a new chapter in their lives. Smiles through tears will be shed on graduation night as school days end for another generation. We tip our hats to their accomplishments and say a prayer for their futures.

If Charro Cantu or Kenneth Herring are looking down from their heavenly perches, I suspect they are smiling down on them, too.
Comments
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anonymous
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June 09, 2009
native lands? the land was inhabited by native americans namely indians it was originally their land. read some of the land records and you'll find where many of the 'settlers' stole land from the mexicans. not to mention killing the indians out of their territory.

maybe refugios demise is just what goes around comes around. now I hope I haven't kept your refugians away from you gossiping about some poor soul.
nativeamerican
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June 09, 2009
native lands? the land was inhabited by native americans namely indians it was originally their land. read some of the land records and you'll find where many of the 'settlers' stole land from the mexicans. not to mention killing the indians out of their territory.

maybe refugios demise is just what goes around comes around. now I hope I haven't kept you refugians away from you gossiping about some poor soul.
R2
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June 08, 2009
Since talk is cheap and our time is short, who’s got an idea to improve the situation?

People can take jabs at the community that raised them any day of the week, but who has the drive, the intelligence, or the will to make a positive impact on the situation?

It is my belief that the creator, visionary, and/or administrator of these comment boards did not install them to provide an avenue for haters to express themselves, but rather as a forum for readers to discuss the issues and perhaps, just perhaps, solve a problem.

So my friends, let's make this a PROGRESSIVE conversation and share some ideas for the betterment of Refugio.
andrewpate
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June 08, 2009
I have just written a Pipelines column for the Press that answers much that is being said here. I didn't realize it would be when I completed it yesterday. To read the column I invite readers to read the column when it's published, perhaps as early as next week, June 17. But here's my main point: there's much that is "bad" or "Sodom and Gomorrah" like in every town or city, not just in Woodsboro or Refugio. Try Houston. The remarkable thing is that the Refugio County towns have survived extremely difficult social and economic changes at all, with as many strengths as they still have, particularly in the schools. True, Refugio County has not adjusted as well as it probably should have to changing times. But there's a long history to that, which needs to be understood. Settlers who were once denied landownership in their native lands have held tightly to what became theirs and what they built--too tightly for real growth many think, including me....and I cherish the settlers and their families.

Andy Pate, Jr.
anonymous
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June 08, 2009
lol, refugio/woodsboro aka sodom and gomorrah, these towns are full of incestous inbred hypocrits!
yeahrite
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June 08, 2009
Refugio wasn't really a small town when I lived there, it was a small minded town, never looked to the future which is why the pool they built when I was a kid is now worthless.

Its just a depressing small town now, litter everywhere, buildings not kept up and buildings left empty.

Cities have some wonderful good quality schools and a larger pool of Teachers, Refugio will hire anyone with a teaching degree regardless of their character. Which is why I never considered living in Refugio and allowing my children to attend their public schools.

That's probably whats wrong with Refugio people coming from the cities with their hoodlums kids and enrolling them in school.
holly8
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June 08, 2009
In response to yeahrite's comment on Monday, June 8:

I find your last comment offensive and agree wholeheartedly with R2. Regardless of your feelings towards Refugio, there is something to be said of small towns. My parents actually chose to move to Refugio from Corpus so that their children could grow up in a tight knit commnity.

Though we no longer live in Refugio, living and attending school in such a small town was rewarding. I have not been at a disadvantage because I attended a small high school and grew up in a town where people were truly invested in each other. By moving to Refugio, my parents acted in my best interests.

And whether or not you plan to return to Refugio, you have to acknowledge that small towns are crucial to America. Small towns are actually civilizations, though from your original post it seems that you are probably one of those people who defines a civilization by the presence of a Walmart.

America is a nation of communities (many of which are tiny). George HW Bush beautifully described communities and community group as "a brilliant diversity spread like stars, like a thousand points of light in a broad and peaceful sky." I believe that Refugio is a strong unit of our nation and has a wealth of future potential.

yeahrite
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June 08, 2009
I prefer to progress rather than regress. I was born and raised in Refugio have no overwhelming pride about it... not sure why I should. I guess I'm not typical of others that 'hail' from Refugio County as I wanted more for my children. Which is 'typically' what most good parents want for their children, unless your a 'typical' Refugio County native..?

R2
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June 07, 2009
in response to yeahrite's post on Tuesday, June 2nd:

I would like to say thank you for NEVER moving back to Refugio. Your negativity and lack of respect is not typical of the people that hail from Refugio County or the type of influence I like to see exhibited for the children of the county. I realize there are numerous opportunities for children that will lead them away from the place they grew up, but that does not translate into; running them out of town ASAP and telling them don’t come back.

Instead of adding to the problem, why wouldn’t you want to try to improve the situation and attempt to be part of a solution? You should be proud of where you’re from, especially since its Refugio County!

yeahrite
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June 02, 2009
I've NEVER once considered moving back to Refugio and NEVER will. I didn't like living so far away from civilization. It actually depresses me when we go to visit our family and see how much the town has deteriorated. Which is probably why they all prefer to come visit us in the City, I think their sick of it, but too old to move.

There is so much more out there for our childrens future and it isn't in Refugio, Woodsboro, Tivoli.

Grady
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June 02, 2009
Fanny Cantu's response to the article:

Would you please post another comment and ask her to include Ray in the brothers who made up the band. Kenda remembers me because I was a classmate of Carla and Vince because of his tour in Viet Nam but she is forgetting Ray who was a much better saxophonist than I was.
Grady
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June 02, 2009
Fanny is our (RHS Class of 1964) "travelling phone gnome". He keeps us well informed.