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Reflecting on past as county tenions rise

Letter to the Editor
Sunday, September 22, 2019

Editor,

As a seven decades member of this community, I would like to share some thoughts regarding the recent controversy on the Commissioners Court of Hays County.

What comes to my mind is an incident which happened to me in the mid 1950’s. My family has had various businesses in San Marcos – one of them a Grocery store with the name of San Marcos Grocery.

All segments of the community would buy their groceries at this store due to the fresh vegetables and great meat market we operated. My father would drive to the San Antonio Produce at least twice a week to purchase fruit and vegetables. He would leave in the early morning hours of 2 or 3 a.m. to arrive early to select the vegetables of his choice for the grocery store. During the summer of my post 3rd grade, I accompanied him to the San Antonio Produce market. To make the trip enjoyable for me he would stop at various cafes that were open to buy me a doughnut and chocolate milk.

One trip was stunning which made me realize the real world around me. This small diner was in the Alamo Heights area of San Antonio. As a youngster I didn’t look around as we walked in and headed to the counter to sit for our coffee and chocolate milk. The waitress and cook/manager were standing next to the kitchen door. After waiting for several minutes for service my father called out to the waitress for service. She nervously looked at the man, who then proceeded to where we were seated. My dad ordered a cup of coffee, 2 doughnuts and a chocolate milk.

The man answered, “we don’t serve Meskins here!” Hearing those words, I felt ice cold water run down my spine. I had never heard that word used to describe us. My father stood up and told me to stay sitting down as he stood up – turned and went to a table where a Mexican man and woman along with 2 children were sitting and told them what occurred and suggested they leave. When my dad returned, he told the manager “if you ever come to San Marcos to the Arredondo Café, I will personally grab your collar and kick you out!” (our family also owned a café and a truck stop). I have never forgotten that experience.

For more than 40 years I have been involved in civic community work; which brings me to recent events. The recent actions by two members of the commissioner’s court remind me that much as things have changed, they are still the same. The rude public display of shaming an absent county employee who is Hispanic was uncalled for and the discussion should have taken place in executive session. The fact that the highest elected office in the county is now held by a Hispanic, who is not given the respect the position holds, is telling on the action by those same commissioners. This office which has been occupied for 176 years by an Anglo Saxon is now being attacked because a Hispanic now occupies that revered seat of power. Shame on them! The demographics are rapidly changing and if the current court majority does not respect the voice of the Hispanic, they will receive a rude awaking when the majority changes!

Elected officials who are not professional will find an electorate that is fed up with their antics of racism.

America was founded by immigrants which built this country and this diversity has made us all stronger.

Frank Arredondo

904 Stagecoach Trail

San Marcos, Texas

San Marcos Record

(512) 392-2458
P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666