Special to Welcome Home RGV
Palm Resaca Park is a gated community nestled snuggily on a Resaca in the middle of Brownsville Texas. It is a winter haven for seniors wishing to trade the cold climate and fierce snowstorms of a northern winter for the warmer sun-kissed days of south Texas.
At Christmastime Palm Resaca Park is transported into holiday season delight. Christmas lights and decorations adorn every corner of the park and the twinkling lights mirror the warmth of the community. As each new seasonal resident arrives they are greeted warmly and cheerfully and instantly made to feel at home. Within this gated community, old memories are shared and new ones are forged adding to the warmth of the Christmas season that is now upon us.
Wisconsin’s Pam Jablonski is a second-generation PRP resident and has been coming to Brownsville for 26 years. Her father and mother were permanent residents of the park. Her dad Bob Bloedorn was an Iwo Jima survivor and spent many hours running the museum in Harlingen. “I would love to come to Brownsville at Christmas times when I was younger,” she said. Pam and her husband Ron now winter in the park. “Christmas is the time of year that you like to spend with family,” she said. “Even though we may be far away from our families, we have formed close connections with our friends and neighbors in the park. It is these close connections that make us feel like a second family. The people in our park are like gems. Each one of them is precious and different and has their special value. And Ron and I have come to treasure everyone. “
Another highlight of the park is the palm trees wrapped in Christmas lights. Their nightly glow radiates a unique holiday charm, creating an atmosphere where Texas hospitality and Christmas cheer intertwine.
Each year many of the seniors go out caroling spreading Christmas cheer and warmth throughout the Park. There is also a golf cart parade where residents decorate their carts with festive lights and ornaments and drive around the park.
Saskatchewan’s Pat Thode is leaving the park to go back to Canada. “What I’ll remember most is how much everybody decorates for Christmas. It’s way more than what we do back home. And everybody is so friendly in the stores. People here in Brownsville and so polite, friendly, and helpful no matter where you go. And at Christmas, the children are so happy and dressed so fancy. I’ll miss being here but I am bringing home a lot of wonderful memories.”
Teddi Wheeler has been a full-time resident in our park since 2009. “At Christmastime, I enjoy the big meals that we have because it’s such a statement of family traditions where everyone is gathered around the table sharing their best homemade dishes. I miss my family up North but I realize that they all lead such busy lives. One time I did go home I barely had any time to share with them. Plus traveling at Christmas is so expensive and it can be such an ordeal.” Teddi also commented on how important the people in our park have become to her. Being with her friends gives her such a homey feeling because she is surrounded by people that she loves. For over 20 years Teddi has hosted a Christmas Eve party, entertaining nearly 50 people. Now that she is getting older she has been fortunate to have some friends volunteer to keep this tradition alive at her house so that it takes the load off her. “This is a wonderful way to share the real spirit of Christmas with friends,” she said.
As we get closer to Christmas each day brings new and lasting memories. The spirit of the season, the joy of friendship, and the warmth of the climate help make Christmas such a cherished chapter in our lives. Merry Christmas everyone!