“Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
As the wildflowers finally begin to shake off the last vestiges of the winter storm, spring would appear to have sprung. It is a glorious Easter! It is a time for new beginnings and rebirth in this season of second chances.
But how did we sojourn to this point? This past week, a Founder’s Day proclamation ceremony was presented by the DeWitt County Historical Association commemorating the 175th Anniversary of DeWitt County. Folks in period costumes joined a procession of dignitaries traveling by way of wagons and buggies through downtown Cuero.
Born in Lincoln County, Kentucky, in 1787, Empresario Green DeWitt petitioned the Mexican government for a land grant in 1825 that would eventually lead to the settlement of 400 families in an area that would come to be known as DeWitt’s Colony. In 1824, Green DeWitt was serving as sheriff in Ralls County, Missouri, before heading to Texas to seek his fortune. In a time of new beginnings, these families would in many cases leave all that they had to resettle in what was still Mexico. Recollections of the journey were fraught with danger.
When I was younger, I remember my grandparents relating stories of the difficulties in traveling as they journeyed west into Texas. In the spirit of the Easter Fires, family lore has it that even my own great-great grandmother traveling alone with her two young daughters from Missouri to Texas and with food in short supply, hid a bag of beans in a chest of her own unspeakables when realizing that Quantrill’s Raiders were approaching her wagon. True grit there my friends. No complaints about bumper-to-bumper traffic on the Santa Fe Trail.
My earliest memory of Easter was in the cool fog-draped early morning mist walking in ankle-high patches of clover that surrounded our small Baptist church in Paris, Texas. I was 4 years old. The kids were all lined up after services for the Easter egg hunt. One of the Sunday School teachers announced that there was a specially colored egg that was to be the “prize” egg. The lucky urchin that found the prize egg would receive a crisp $5 bill for their efforts.
In an unmistakable northeast Texas twang, someone shouted, “Okay kiddos, git on yer mark, git set, go!” My mother shouted at me to hurry, hurry! I took off like the devil himself was breathing down my neck. How dare the devil breathe down my neck on Easter Sunday. The first egg I dug out of the deep wet clover was the prize egg. I held the egg up high and jumped up and down. My mother was so happy. My poor grandmother started bawling, and as I turned to go after even more eggs, I noticed that the other kids, as they stared at the prize egg in my hand, well, they were bawling, too. And so I teased my younger sister with that egg for the better part of two days. In those days, they actually hid real artificially colored hardboiled eggs. But on the third day, I was to learn a lesson of Easter humility, as there would be no resurrection of the prize egg, as my mother wrested it out of my artificially colored little hands and tossed it unceremoniously into the nether regions of our compost pile. But I still had the $5 bill and happily spent it all on junk at Kress Department Store.
And so we move forward. Always moving forward. Into a time of new beginnings, both literally and figuratively for our communities. Expansion of rural broadband is still at the forefront for expansion of economic and educational opportunities. If you are a resident of DeWitt County, please complete the broadband survey here: myconnectedcommunity.org/dewitt-county/. The deadline is April 30.
DeWitt County’s 175th Anniversary activities will continue through 2021. More shipments of COVID vaccine are arriving on a weekly basis. More businesses continue to locate to Cuero. The full-court press is already on to make Cuero’s Christmas in the Park bigger and better. To join the committee or contribute financially contact the CDC office. And in these uncertain times, as we look into our future, may the miracle of Easter bring you perfect peace.