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Man on Main St for Sept. 10, 2009

By Gary Rollins

    Boerne, Texas is a charming bedroom community a half  hour’s drive from San Antonio. These days,  Boerne serves as a magnet for the people who always wanted to retire to a place in the Hill Country.  Boerne is the Texas Hill Country at its best.

    As I was approaching Charlie’s Market after a stop-off at the La Veta Library this morning,  I spotted a couple exiting their Dodge Durango. 

    Bingo!  Texas license plates.  The fact that I was wearing a Texas A&M cap gave me away as a fellow Texan, so we zipped through the short list of people I knew who resided in Boerne.  It should come as no surprise that we had some mutual acquaintances that served to open the door for today’s interview.  My son-in-law’s family proved to be that wonderful initial contact point from which we could expand our visit to almost a half hour.

    And what a delightful story they shared with me. 

The fellow, a retiree, was wearing a Kendall County Sheriff’s cap and he revealed  he had been visiting La Veta for 55 years.  His very first visit came at a time when he was motoring up from Texas and found no place to spend the night in Trinidad.  Walsenburg was “sold out” and so they moseyed along to La Veta, where they finally found a place to stay at the now long-gone Park Lane Hotel.

    They typically come  by car and they always shop at Charlie’s Market.  I was told the ice cream counter in Charlie’s was once a part of the local drug store.  That was news to me!

    Though they confessed to an occasional break in their string, I learned they usually stay in Cuchara Camp.  They guess-timated  their  expenditures while they’ve been visiting would probably be about $1,000 for the week.  They said they were “good will ambassadors” for La Veta.

    I was told Boerne was long on charm,  but short on mountains.   We talked about the weather in La Veta vs. Boerne and the word they used to describe August in Boerne was “brutal.”  Temperatures  at mid-day frequently stay in the 90’s through Thanksgiving.  

    As they headed for Charlie’s ice cream  counter  to claim the “reward “ I offered for our interview, I marveled at the fact that this charming couple had brought tens of thousands of dollars to Huerfano County over the past 51/2 decades.  The point I have been seeking to make is the dollars the outsiders bring to La Veta and Cuchara help ease the burden for one and all when the tourism season finally ends.

    We are so lucky there are people like the delightful visitors from Boerne who take pride in making the annual trek to La Veta.   I promised to let them know if I found anyone who could even come close to their 55-year  record.  There are many interesting stories that come to La Veta’s Main Street each and every day.

    This is one I will remember  for a long time.