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The beauty of being a bustling town

Hey Boerne and Kendall County residents, whether you like the recent population explosion or not, we should feel pretty fortunate things are happening the way they are.

As the saying goes, it’s certainly better than the alternative.

And after all, thriving is a good thing.

This past weekend, Nancy and I traveled west a ways to spend the weekend at one of our state parks. We’re big fans of fun and beautiful outdoor spaces and enjoy venturing to new places.

We haven’t had the time to explore that many spots in Texas yet, so were anxious to see what this mini trip would bring.

The state park was pretty and we had a wonderful time spending the majority of Saturday outdoors hiking, looking for and listening to birds and taking in the surroundings of the western edge of the Hill Country.

During our hikes, we spotted a road runner (but no Wile E. Coyote) and a couple of armadillos, right side up, as well as several varieties of our feathered friends.

And, when we were way off the beaten path – and I mean waaaaay off – we made it a point to enjoy the sounds of silence. There’s just something magical about being in a spot where you can stop, listen and hear nothing.

Absolutely nothing!

It was truly awesome.

If you haven’t ever listened to the quiet, I suggest you find a place to do so.

The state park we visited was attached to a small town. Life was somewhat evident along Interstate 10 as a few fast-food restaurants, gasoline stations and motels attracted some folks.

But the downtown was like a ghost town.

Most of the stores along the town’s main street were either closed, for sale or boarded shut. Only a scant few were open for business on a Saturday. Like three.

Less than a dozen vehicles were parked or driving in the business district. We saw only two people walking – and they had just come out of a liquor store.

When we stopped at a local eatery for dinner at rush hour, it was nearly empty. In fact, the same woman was waiting all the tables, clearing all the tables and acting as cashier. Of course, we were two of the fewer than 10 or so customers inside the entire time we were there.

And, according to online reviews, this was the best place in town for a meal.

It was so quiet downtown that I’m sure if we would have stopped and listened, we also would have heard nothing – just like in the backcountry area of the state park.

What does that tell us?

In all my years and in all my travels, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a town deader than this one.

It truly was sad.

So ... what if that was Boerne?

When we returned home on Sunday, I did a little research.

Eighty years ago, this town we visited out-populated Boerne by 64 percent. It was still larger by 222 people 30 years later in 1970. Its population then was 2,654. Boerne’s was 2,432, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

While Boerne continued to grow and thrive, this town remained stagnant. By 1990, Boerne claimed 4,274 residents while this town had 2,654, the exact same number it had 20 years earlier.

In fact, the population of the town has diminished ever since and now has about 250 fewer residents than it did in 1990.

Boerne, meanwhile, has grown four-fold since that 1990 census. We now have almost 15,000 more citizens than this other place.

And, we have a vibrant downtown, vibrant life along I-10 and more new subdivisions than we can count.

We saw no new construction anywhere over the weekend.

And although our growth is rapid – too rapid for a lot of folks who think Boerne “is gone forever” – and our housing options are way too expensive, look at this one alternative.

Where would you rather live, work and play?

Please know I am not knocking this other city. But I do feel sorry for its residents and the handful of merchants who remain. Remember it, too, is along I-10 and is in the Hill Country but does not have a metropolis like San Antonio nearby.

And don’t get me wrong. I love peace and quiet. I’m a small-town guy who relishes living in a smaller community.

But, I prefer my community to be alive and well like Boerne is, even if it is growing out of its banks rapidly.

The alternative is ghost town living.

No thanks.

Let’s be thankful we live where we do. Let’s be thankful our downtown and our entire community is exciting. Let’s be thankful we’re a destination.

The pendulum has swung in our favor. It swung against this other town.

Life is good here.

We need to count our blessings instead of curse them.

Again, just think about the alternative.

As always, thanks for reading.