Archive for the 'Boerne' Category

To grow or not to grow

I need to grow. On several fronts. My employers have invested in a new office that I run. They expect it to grow. My family needs me to grow in leadership and provision.

By nature, humans grow. Throughout history, humankind moves forward with innovative technologies and sophistications that cure ills and improve standards of living. As a result, the world population has continuously increased.

Economies are also destined and designed for growth. Our expectation of the Gross Domestic Product, the stock market and other investments is that they will grow. Historically, they have. The trends, over time, are up and to the right.

Growth is the norm, not the exception. However, growth is not always a given. Just ask the fired employee. Just ask any number of rural, West Texas towns.

So, when people say, in effect, “Shut the gates behind me!” my eyebrows furl at their naivete. “Shutting the gates” is either a death knell or an exercise in futility. It is not an effective governing strategy.

Kendall County, Texas, made national news in March when U.S. Census data identified it the 5th fastest growing county in the country.

Of the four counties ahead of Kendall, 3 are in the oil patch and one is a master-planned retirement community in Florida. So, if you take out the counties associated with gas production- the roughnecks and the old farts- Kendall is the fastest growing county in America.

Kendall County and its seat, Boerne, located in the Texas Hill Country between San Antonio and Austin, have long wrestled with growth issues. Scenic landscapes, interstate accessibility, exceptional schools, proximity to shopping and services; all these drive attraction.

People want to live here; therefore, developers want to develop here.

With the uptick in the housing market, developers have dusted off subdivision plans. Five thousand residential lots are in the works in or near the Boerne City Limits. But let’s have some intellectual honesty about the development.

According to the City of Boerne Planning Department, only a few hundred lots will even be available to build on in the next twelve months. After that, lots will come online in units and phases over time.

It will take years before all the proposed lots, houses and people come to fruition. And who knows what might change between now and then?

In 2007, developer-bedevilling doomsdayers predicted the passing of Boerne as we knew it. The reports of Boerne’s death were greatly exaggerated, as Twain might say.

I know personally several of the developers who either have built or are now building local subdivision projects. None are the rape and pillage type. They themselves live here, after all. They see no good in biting the hand that feeds them.

Plus, the development process in Boerne is arduous. The margin for error is slight and not conducive to fly by nights.

In the short run, will some traffic spots get worse before they get better? Sure. Will growing pains plague us from time to time? Of course. But given the alternative of economic stagnation and the flight of our youth, I’ll take a sore joint or two.

So, when you hear smeone say “Boerne: No Vacancy,” think to yourself, “Brain: No Occupancy.”

Kevin Thompson writes weekly for The Boerne Star in the Texas Hill Country. Follow him at

Man’s dark struggle with Christmas lights

I’m generally a hopeful guy, so I rarely quote Dante’s Inferno. But one place needs the poem’s most infamous line: “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”

It’s the Christmas lights section at Home Depot.

Christmas lights are the bane of man’s existence. I do not overstate the point.

Of all the electrical appliances a man might assemble, there is nothing, I repeat, nothing like plugging in a freshly strung strand of Christmas lights and having nothing, I repeat, nothing happen.

Yes, smarty-pants, I checked them in the yard before putting them up. Yes, Mr. Know-It-All, they worked then.

Clark Griswold, the Christmas Vacation character who put 25,000 lights on his home, knows the feeling. He had spent days creating his masterpiece amidst spousal questioning: “Are you out here for a reason or are you just avoiding the family?”

When the time came to plug it all in, only criticisms lit up.

“I hope you kids see what a silly waste of resources this was,” derided Clark’s mother-in-law.

“He worked really hard, Grandma,” defended his daughter.

“So do washing machines,” reported his father-in-law.

At this point a man doesn’t want a diagnosis of the problem. He doesn’t want a handful of solutions. He just wants to be held. And he wants a trust fund to pay someone to do this tragic chore for the rest of his life.

For most men, the trust fund is not to be. The Christmas lights are his cross to bear — alone. And if he has small children, the stakes are as high as the roof line.

I understand the logic: no Christmas lights, no Christmas tree, no Santa, no presents.

But man’s dark struggle against the lights is anything but logical.

If it were logical, the extra replacement lights would actually fix a problem once in a while. If it were logical, there would be no microscopic replacement fuses – I last saw fuses like this in my grandfather’s 1982 Datsun.

And if it were logical, the Federal Trade Commission would close every light manufacturer known to man for their most reliable failure rate. 

Instead, a baggie of extra lights and fuses is taped to each strand by a belly-laughing factory worker. Instead, giddy consumers swept by the joy of the season keep forking over hard-earned dollars for what amounts to an exercise in character formation.

Sure, there have been decorative advances: the net of lights you can throw across your shrubs, the dangling icicles, the inflatable Santas and Frosties. Projectors can put a holiday Mickey Mouse on your garage door. Custom homes have exterior outlets lining soffits and eaves for easy access to power.

But there is simply no substitute for the hard work of installing one’s own creation, for overcoming the broken bulbs, for triumphing o’er the inexplicably expired segments.

There is no trading the thrill on the kids’ faces when the job is done. It’s the equivalent of a 1,000-volt attitude adjustment.

Even Clark Griswold’s easily embarrassed teenagers were moved when his lighted sight came to pass. As the Hallelujah Chorus rang out,

“Dad! It’s beautiful!”


Kevin Thompson writes weekly for The Boerne Star in the Texas hill country. He can be reached at


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