High Points from El Camino Real

by Chris Davis

Folks along El Camino Real are on the downhill side of summer and the days will fly by for the teachers and students going back to school and they creep by for the husbands and parents waiting for those big yellow buses to start rolling.
Its hot and most folks are clinging close to their air conditioning or favorite shade tree. I was able to flush a little news out but after over 21 years of writing this column I know how hard it is to get six bits worth of news between now and September.
The 121st Holcomb Family Reunion was held at Cold Springs on Sunday. When a family has been gathering for this many years, you just know what has to be done to without any prompting. When I was young all I had to do was worry about showing up to play in the spring or the creek with my cousins and enjoy great meals and deserts prepared by my old aunts and people I didn’t even know.
My Uncle Rayford Holcomb never missed a chance to tell me about our rich heritage and the importance of the Holcomb Family Reunion every chance he got. When I became a teenager it seemed that all the prettiest girls were at the Holcomb Reunion every summer. A few years later at sixteen I started courting Jay Anna Holcomb and eight years later I married her. I didn’t marry just any one of the pretty girls there, I married J.C. Holcomb’s daughter and he was the President of the Holcomb Family Reunion.
When Jay Anna and I started dating it was beat into my head some more about the importance of the reunion and the work that had to be done to put it on. My mother-in-law griped and cooked and griped some more as she put everything she had into preparing the best dishes she could to try and show up her sister-in-laws and the other ladies at the reunion, as they all attempted to do the same.
They cussed the heat and the work, but they all came to show out for the rest of the kin folks. I remember all the sisters making sure you tried some of what ever was made. It was a public disgrace if you carried more than a little dab of something home that you cooked. As they all grew older, I became pretty handy to have around. I could go down the day before and sweep off the concrete, align the tables, haul ice water, and help load and unload casserole dishes and coolers for all the folks. I did this for about 14 years and then we had our first child.
Charles Holcomb was the Master of Ceremonies for many years and sometime in the early nineties I had to leave the church to go outside with a fussing baby. When the folks came out the door they all congratulated me on being the new master of ceremonies. Every year the people cuss the heat of another Texas summer, the women fuss about having to cook so much for the reunion, the ones who bring a piddling amount of nothing, and talk about the ones that were there and weren’t.
We all miss the ones that have gone on before us and we try to honor them and the dedication they had for the family by keeping the reunion going. Some years we have bigger crowds than others, when new faces show up to rekindle their family ties, and sometimes people that were always there never come back. Things have changed a lot since the Holcomb Reunion started back in 1897.
I’ve stored up a lifetime of memories around this family gathering and I plan on storing up a lot more. We can’t turn back the clock and keep the times from changing but when they do we have to grab hold of our family heritage and hold on til our knuckles turn white to keep it. A big thanks to all of those who came out for the Holcomb Reunion this year. Your ancestors appreciate your dedication to your family.
Beverly Milner is on her yearly tirade getting ads together for the Alto Yellowjacket Football Program. If you have a child or grandchild that is playing ball, cheerleading, or in the band you better be thinking about getting a little plug in for them.
If you have a business that needs some advertising then you get a shot at a lot of folks every Friday night. If you want to be a part of this year’s exciting Alto Yellowjacket Season in print then you need to call or email Beverly Milner at (936) 858-4836 or email her at spaceeteacher@yahoo.com . I can’t think about the Alto Booster Club without thinking about how much we are going to miss our friend J.C. Dover this year. He was the best fan a team could ever ask for.
I ran into Michael Knight of Rusk the other day and he gave me a copy of his new CD, “Live Your Dream”. It is an amazing collection of Christian Country music. Michael and I use to run into each other around town and talk about how hot it was finishing concrete, and what hurt, and music. I guess we both got too fat to finish concrete. He could sing and I could talk so he became a song writer and I became a politician. The callouses that were once in the middle of his hands from holding a trowel are now on the tips of his fingers from picking a guitar. Our life experiences prepare us for whatever God has in store for us and I don’t think Michael would have anything to write a song about and I wouldn’t be a very good judge if it wasn’t for what I learned finishing concrete. You have to have a firm foundation to make it in this life. Congratulations to Michael Knight on living his dream.
We are having a problem with people dumping their unwanted stray cats and dogs in the country and that is a totally irresponsible thing to do. Just because someone lives in the country doesn’t mean that they want a cat or dog. Have your pet neutered or spayed, so you won’t have this problem.
It is so hot no one is coming to town. If I had about six tumbleweeds I could throw them out in the road and call Alto a ghost town. People are really staying close to the air conditioning this week. I guess I’m going to have to start window peeping if I want to get any news around here. I’ll see ya next week! And remember, Your conscience never stops you from doing anything. It just stops you from enjoying it.