I didn’t have much blogging time today, since most of the time I was in meetings or driving to and from Cedar Park (Austin suburb) to get my teeth cleaned. That was unpleasant, since I’d delayed it 2-3 times due to all that COVID exposure.
I ran to Tractor Supply in the way home, so all animals have food. But I had to hurry and feed horses so I could get ready for this year’s Chamber of Commerce banquet. I hadn’t been to one in a while due to COVID and trying to keep a low profile with the family business.
I mainly enjoyed seeing some of my friends in town that I’ve missed. It’s nice to know you have a few friends, wherever you are!
Lee and all the Chamber Board and volunteers did a great job. It makes you proud of your little town to go to these events. We heard how great the Texas economy is doing from the speaker, and really enjoyed the yearly awards, which didn’t just go to rich business owners. Awards went to regular folks who helped out their neighbors in the freeze last year, a family plumbing business and the new high school basketball coach. It was nice to see people of all races, ages, and genders recognized.
We had a fine dinner and conversation, too. The wine selection was great, too, much of it local. Since the venue was the Youth Livestock Pavilion or something like that, the Texas decor looked great. I hated to help tear it down!
Now you know why I’m not a fascinating blogger today. But it was nice to get out to a well ventilated place. Glad it wasn’t tomorrow. It’s getting cold again, and all that fresh air would be chilly.
Now that there is no COVID here, things have started to happen. So, a bunch of Cameron Chamber of Commerce members joined family and friends of the owners for an open house at a beautiful new event venue, Reed’s Simply Local.
It’s out by Marlow, which is a place like Walker’s Creek, which everyone knows about but isn’t incorporated. In fact, it is under the water tower. Anyway, the place is beautiful.
It’s very simply done, but with quality. The owner has done a fine job supervising the construction and making choices. Their Facebook page has lots of pictures.
I had a good time tasting wine, bourbon, hard soda and food. They had all the new local vendors that are cropping up. It felt so good to see such upscale stuff here!
The best bonus was seeing and hugging so many of my friends! Second best was the ribbon cutting, where Lee and Kathleen got to be in the picture.
I’m glad to have hugged so many times, though Lee got peopled out. I know hugging was ok, because even Judge Young hugged me, and he was the biggest social distance role model in the county.
It was fun looking at the views, too. They chose the site well.
We left there and then visited one of the vendors, 4C Brewery, which has a charming store/restaurant out of town…somewhere.
Mainly we went there, because they make their own boudin, a thing our family likes. They also have fresh milk and yogurt. Of course, beer and wine, too. It was quite cute.
That was a fine Sunday afternoon. Hope yours was fine, too.
Times are getting more exciting here in little Cameron, Texas, and it’s not just because Anita will move here soon. Lots of new businesses and jobs have been coming in, and the upcoming relocation of some of the County offices to the old hospital will be freeing up some cool places for investors to come in and start new businesses. We all have our favorite “dream shops” we want to see, but which buildings are right for what?
That question is what led to my fun day yesterday. A few people who are members of the Cameron Chamber of Commerce got together, and let by the fearless Melanie, trekked all over the downtown area to look through the buildings that would soon be available and “re-imagine” them. Looking through historic buildings and offices is my idea of fun, which is why I volunteered to tag along and was so grateful for the opportunity to help out in a small way.
We looked at buildings that are still being used, buildings that were full of mold, buildings in great shape, and ones that required some imagination. We all had clipboards to write down our ideas.
I was enthralled by how many county records are in the old buildings.
I liked that some old buildings have cool windows up high with views, which makes me envision loft living. Other places would make great bars, bookstores, restaurants, gaming places (one even used to be a roller rink…could it be again?).
My favorite things, I guess, were seeing how many dang old jails there are in this town. The one we looked at yesterday was really big, and I had NO idea it was there. Ooh, scary.
Old jails make excellent, secure storage.
This jail adds to the ancient hoosegow, old jail museum, jail in the old police station (where someone lives now), PLUS the actual County Jail that is in use. My big idea was to have a “Jails of Cameron” tour, with little jails painted on the sidewalk to lead you from one to another, each with something interesting to see or do. That didn’t go over terribly well.
The jail could be turned into a restaurant, where you eat in cells and people serve you through the little door…right? Sounds romantic to me.
Other people had real ideas, so it will be fun to see what comes of all this! At least I know they aren’t building a subdivision next to my house or anything, because I made Lee buy all that land. I was a visionary, I guess.
PS: It sure was fun to do something with people like this. We couldn’t have a few months ago!
What the heck? This sure came as a surprise. I realized there was a little airshow coming up this weekend, and that Lee had volunteered to help out with the Chamber of Commerce table. I hadn’t considered helping, but I didn’t want him to go be social all alone, since he hadn’t done it in over a year. So, off we went to the Cameron airport this morning, to celebrate the recently renovated runways and such.
This was Cameron’s “soft opening” for events, too. There were vendors, including my friend, Pamela, plus Manley the king of jams, and even wine. They were all in an excellent open hangar, so we felt breezes and fine wearing our masks.
Lee and Melanie managed to sell a whole bunch of the Chamber of Commerce raffle tickets, so they felt quite successful. It was a lot of chatting for Lee, but he did well. Now he’s exhausted, though.
I mostly knitted and talked to my Master Naturalist friends. We got a little giddy when we realized we were all fully vaccinated and could actually stand near each other and talk. It was a small thing, but made us so happy. Sigh, maybe we can have real meetings again soon, if people keep being careful (like we were today).
Most of the action was outdoors, though, and it was so much fun to look at the 20-30 little planes that showed up. It was the most planes I ever saw at this little private airport. Lots of them were old and interesting, no doubt, and I’d explain more about them if I knew anything at all about private planes. I did ask our banker friend, Richard, who happens to be a private pilot (and has been a looooong time), so I knew that the one that did the tricks was a trainer plane from after WWII, and the cool green plane that blazed in from Georgetown was a Russian trainer.
One highlight of the day was cutting the ribbon to officially re-open the airport. All the local dignitaries were there, including the whole city council and mayor, plus the airport team, the engineer, and others. But the star of the show was Marion Travis, age 92. She was a pilot in her youth, and a true aviation pioneer. She is Cameron royalty (and a real hoot). She cut the ribbon.
There wasn’t much to the actual air show, since one of the trick planes had a mechanical problem, but the one that did fly had some tricks. It sure was fun watching that plane going upside down and making loops. I’m glad I was on the ground, though. I was told the pilot is a Southwest Airlines pilot for his day job.
I feel practically human, though really tired, after walking around looking at planes then walking around with Apache trying to figure out how he’s feeling (he was a bit weird yesterday, not cooperating and tossing his head a lot). But, hey, it was almost like a normal day from the olden times, other than all the masks people were wearing!
Ooh, one more horse note. Apache has shed most of his winter coat over the last two days. It’s been most impressive brushing him out. Some bird will be able to make many nests from his fur. By the end of today, I suddenly realized I could see his patches on his skin again. I got down to his summer hair! He’s going to feel a LOT better now that it’s slowly warming up. More goodness to look forward to over the summer, I hope.
Last night I went to the Cameron Chamber of Commerce banquet. When you are in a bunch of organizations, as well as more than one business, that’s a member, you sort of feel like you have to go. Since Hearts Homes and Hands was a Gold Sponsor, we got to sit up at the front of the place, which I’d never done before (never having spent the money to sponsor anything). At the event, I learned lots of ways to get things going and make small towns better. The first one was the most fun.
Lee, Kathleen, Chris and I were the HHH representatives, but we invited two of my Milam Touch of Love Board members to come, as well (wish we could have invited them all). It was nice to bring Jean Schara and Mark McKibben along with us for a fancy meal and some beverages. (Once again, though, there was nothing for non-drinkers in the wine and cheese time before the meal.)
At the end of the evening, the Chamber gives out awards to citizens and groups. After the big awards, they give out Excellence Awards to groups or people who didn’t quite make the cut, or aren’t in the in-group of Cameron movers and shakers, which is who usually gets things (not complaining, just noticing). In fact, Lee won one of these last year for our work renovating houses and buildings in the community.
It was really great, then, to see the look on Mark’s face when it was announced that Milam Touch of Love received an award for the work we have done for animals in the area. Jean had a clue something was up, because I’d told her it would really be a good idea to reschedule her Facebook Live event for her essential oil business. Mark just showed up for the food and friendship, but hooray! We were recognized. Both Jean and Mark have spent SO much time, effort and money for the group. It was great to have them join me.
ALL the volunteers and donors for MTOL are part of the recognition, though, because, as with all nonprofits, it takes a lot of work to succeed. I am really proud of them.
Remind Them It Doesn’t Suck
I have to admire Judge Young, who has been personally dragging the county into modernity by courting businesses and proposing things that disrupt the status quo. He spoke for “two minutes” at the banquet, and reminded everyone how much good has happened in the past couple of years.
He’s not kidding. All sorts of solar power companies are moving in, and I can’t complain about that. We in Milam County are also some sort of bitcoin mining capital of the country, and wile I’m not the biggest fan of that sort of thing, it does bring in jobs. And while a lot of people complain about moving the city offices to the former hospital in town, it WILL provide opportunities for new businesses to come in and make downtown Cameron an actual destination.
I hope he perked up a few people…
Bring in a Motivational Speaker
Another way to perk up a town like Cameron is to get the movers and shakers to think differently. So, this year, Melanie Reed brought in a young woman who has worked with small towns throughout Texas to improve their images and such.
Sarah O’Brien had actually done her homework, and presented a talk that wasn’t just ideas, but had concrete suggestions. She’d taken a tour of the town a few weeks ago (including the Pope Residence – so THAT was the lady who Melanie dragged through our construction zone).
One thing she said, in a talk about Lee’s favorite topic of mindset, just geared toward small town leaders, was that to get people to be positive about Cameron, we have to be positive. I saw myself and my blog about potholes in that one! Oops.
You do hear a lot of folks around here saying how hard it is to get good people to work for you, how the poverty mindset has made the citizens unmotivated to do better, etc. I see how being more positive might very well rub off! I’m going to make an effort to portray Cameron more positively and to continue to work to make it a place where people enjoy living.
Hey, at least I’ve helped increase the population by about ten people at the moment, some of whom are eating LOTS of donuts (the construction guys) and all of whom are buying things here! Thanks to Canova, Martha, Mike, Kathleen, Chris, Jim, Nicole, and Easton for saying yes to Cameron, even if you aren’t all here forever.
It’s fun being part of a small town trying to re-invent itself. No one gives a flip about me in the leadership of Austin, and that anonymity is nice, but it’s also nice to feel heard here in Cameron. I say YES!
Yes, that’s right, after nearly three days of the temperature outside not varying beyond 40-43 degrees, the blazing ball of sky fire showed up again this morning.
I had a lot of time to see it, since I kept being stopped by flaggers at the many, many pipeline construction areas along my way from Cameron. I’ll write more about those later, but wow, they make a mess.
I was in Cameron last night to attend the 85th Annual Chamber of Commerce banquet, representing both our Hermits’ Rest Enterprises company and the Master Naturalists. I was proud to see so many people I admire being singled out for honors, but MOST proud that my very own spouse got a special award for his contributions to the town this past year. He was truly surprised. Aww. I guess we are fitting in!
We enjoyed hearing the speaker, too, Bob Phillips, who has been doing the Texas Country Reporter television show since 1972. It’s the longest running independent television show in the US. He sure had some cool mentors, like Tom Landry and Charles Kurault.
I got ALL worried yesterday, when Mandi reported that no eggs had been in the nest boxes for two days. That seemed weird, since I got seven on Sunday, and at least two of them were definitely from the new birds (they are laying smaller “pullet eggs” still.
So, this morning I felt compelled to check on the hens before I left to go back to Austin to work. I gingerly walked in, disturbing two hens who were trying to lay. I looked in the last two boxes. There were a dozen eggs, plus evidene that the poor chicken who lays dud eggs had also laid.
My guess is that the chicken feeder/egg feeder person either didn’t look all the way in the nest area, or actually didn’t check and just told his mom there was nothing there. He also said someone else had fed the chickens, so there’s still some kind of mystery!
I’m happy to share that the hawk couple who nested where I work in Austin have returned. We’ve been enjoying watching them fly around together. This morning I heard some weird bird sounds, and looked up to see one of the hawks was scolding me. Aww.