By DINA ARÉVALO
Port Isabel-South Padre Press
I used to think I grew up in a small town. Part of that is because there was rarely a moment growing up where one or both of my parents didn’t run into someone they knew.
Whether at a restaurant or the grocery store, or anywhere, really, I’d often hear friendly calls of “Hey!” which would inevitably lead to a 20 minute conversation between my mom or dad and the long lost friend they ran into.
The same thing happened just this weekend as my family and I celebrated Mother’s Day by taking mom out for lunch. She looked over at the next table and happened to see a teacher she had worked with decades ago. They soon struck up a conversation and caught up on old times.
Though I grew up and lived in the same town most of my life, I rarely had such experiences running into people. All that changed, however, when I moved to the Laguna Madre region and learned what living in a small town is really like.
Nowadays, I see someone familiar practically every time I go to Walmart or HEB. In fact, I think it’s becoming kind of a running joke that I seem to see two people in particular every time I’m grocery shopping. Last week was a first, however. I saw them both, at the same time, in the same aisle (the frozen food aisle, in case you’re wondering. I was buying ice cream).
The first was a man I’ve seen before at various community gatherings. The second is someone people might know if they’ve ever gone on a dolphin watching trip — Captain Noe.
As I walked up to each of them in turn to say hello, I learned that they knew each other, too. All three of us ended up laughing and trading jokes for the next five minutes before continuing on our separate ways.
The encounter left me smiling for the rest of my shopping trip and was a great way to end a long day spent working. And it’s a scene that has replayed itself several times in the short time I have lived here — friendly faces at the gas station, at community social events, at restaurants. Heck, I’ve even started running into Laguna Madre residents outside this area, too!
I may not have grown up here, but that small town vibe sure does make it feel like home. And now I’m starting to see that familial sense of community my parents have enjoyed for so many years. So, if you see me out and about, feel free to say hi! I’ll be sure to do the same. And as always, visit us online at www.portisabelsouthpadre.com.
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