Friday, January 19, 2018

What Was The Best Part Of Living In The Rio Grande Valley?

Answering the questions people have
asked (or I have asked myself) about
my past, present, or future.
I only miss one thing about it, besides the people I worked with. I lived only one hour's drive from South Padre Island. I could jump in the car in the morning from McAllen and be on the beach sooner than you might imagine.

I made my first trek out there shortly after starting my KRGV job in August of 1994. That's when I learned Los Fresnos is a notorious speed trap. I couldn't figure out why people were plodding along on the road until I got pulled over by the local fuzz. The officer cut me a break since this was my first time rolling through.

I remember looking out over the water and thinking of my future. I'd come so far. What was ahead of me?

I'd return to SPI several times over the years -- by myself, with my brother and his wife, with my family, and as part of a work assignment. That last visit, in August of 1999, was the most memorable for all the wrong reasons.

KRGV was producing its annual half-hour show on the Texas International Fishing Tournament. I went out there to learn the ropes of producing it in the field, with the understanding I would take the reins next year. (Little did anyone know at the time -- including myself -- that plan would go sideways. I left the station four months later.) I joined the crew in the truck and watched how the producer operated and worked with everyone to get the results and commentary and late-arriving fish on the air. We had to troubleshoot various problems with cameras and wires and the like. But we pulled it off, like we did every year.

After we wrapped, I said my goodbyes to the cast and crew and told them I was headed to Blackbeard's down the road for dinner. They had this great BBQ sandwich I liked called "Hot Stuff," and it was good stuff. But my system didn't seem to cope well with the stuff.

I don't know if it was the heat, or the slimy fish, or too much soda, but something disrupted my digestive process. So while I was enjoying a sunset stroll through the surf, I experienced a blast of what I will politely call "Tenacious D."

Now I'm in trouble. My first instinct was to wade deeper into the water and let the waves wash away the foulness from my unmentionables. That didn't work very well. I had to find a stall -- quickly. As things would have it though, this public beach had no public facilities as I wandered around awkwardly, a walking Immodium A-D commerical.

I got back in the car and scouted out the nearest Circle K. That's where I was able to clean myself up and control the biohazard in my shorts, which I was glad were brown. And fortunately, so was the interior of my car. The hour-long drive home seemed a lot longer with my undies full of paper towels and an embarrassed countenance -- kind of like having to deal with that obnoxious redhead in the Viberzi commercials:

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