During the summertime along the banks of the Medina River near our home there were sightings you could count on every day. Among the regulars were Doc Gray, who would either be fishing or digging worms in preparation for an upcoming fishing trip. Don Hicks from the Mayan Dude Ranch would be seen leading a string of horses with dudes mounted up for a look at our town. Those dudes were the real thing, not the ones you hear about in conversations among the younger generations of today. I.G. Thetford had a residence set up on the river in a wagon so it was a cinch we would run into him and his horse pretty regularly. Early pioneer style was his choice in living quarters and transportation too. He made trips to the grocery store on horseback and when he passed by our house I would smile knowing he had the same struggles with those brown paper bags as I did on my bike. His traditional attire was a sure sign of his whole life being that of a real cowboy. Mr. Deskin's routine never varied in time or direction in his daily walks around the river roads. You could set your watch by him. Well, I could have but the truth is I never wore a watch. Watches that some of my friends had back in the day didn't have a good survival rate as I recall. Those early models didn't mix well with water which is where we spent most of our time. Both on purpose and sometimes by accident. My friend Brandy Humphries went through more watches than anyone I have ever known. He was accident prone and his watch would often end up being a casualty. I always made it a real up close personal greeting with Mr. Deskin because he carried a pocket full of hard candy with him at all times. Usually it was root beer barrels and he was sure to share. As long as I knew him he walked the same roads every day with his old walking cane. I sometimes carry one of my dad's old walking canes with me when I'm taking a stroll to get some wildlife pictures along the river. I wish I could retrace Mr. Deskin's steps and those of my dad in his young days here in Bandera but most of those areas are closed to the public now. Another sign of the times. As my years of Growing Up In Bandera go rolling on they are peppered with disappointments more and more because as bad as I want to hang on to the old I know that time marches on.
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