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FLASHBACK: What spring break? - Odessa American: Columnists

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FLASHBACK: What spring break?

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Posted: Sunday, March 16, 2014 7:00 am

This time last week, many college kids and school kids across the state began a week of hootin’ and hollerin’ as Spring Break 2014 began in earnest.

The beaches at South Padre and Galveston filled up with college kids intent on partying during a week-long wild sabbatical from school.

But some of the beach folks in Texas say the hoards of kiddos expected at places like Padre Island did not show up this year. They reason that maybe it’s been too cold.

Well, maybe, but some annual events were cancelled there, maybe due to violence and debauchery during Spring Break a couple years ago? Could be.

Maybe, the crowds are thinning since due to some revelers who are just “breakin’ bad.”

Down around Padre and points around Corpus Christi, the DPS warned a week ago that state troopers would be out in force, and DWIs are the hangover that never leaves. One college is handing out date rape drug detectors to partying students. Wow. Sounds like a lot of fun … not.

Then there is the whole Austin destination during the week of SXSW (South by Southwest) which turned tragic Wednesday night when a 21-year old guy fleeing from police mowed down a police barricade and drove into a crowd on Red River, killing two and injuring 23. So sad.

Things aren’t slowing down these days in Panama City Beach, Fla., where the spring break revelers land. And this year, they have put up portable jails on the beach and hired extra police officers as they expect between 250,000 and 300,000 teens and college students to converge on the destination. Wow. Color me NOT there.

A lot of spring breakers go to Cancun to hang with thousands of their fellow students that flock there for a rocking good time. In fact, a colleague of mine was there last week and I’m sure it brought back memories of college antics since he and his bride are grown-ups now. But even a package from a cheap travel site can run between $600 and $1,000 for the trip. Ouch.

Since when did spring break become a national holiday (I have heard someone actually thought it was)?

Like a friend of mine recently said, I find myself saying “back in the day” a little too often, but here I go again, back in the day, we didn’t go ANYWHERE for spring break. Let alone a week-long stay at a beachfront hotel with 25,000 other crazed college students.

I knew better than to even ask. Down in San Marcos, at my alma mater formerly known as Southwest Texas State University, we took a few days off during spring break to float down the Guadalupe on tubes or hang out at the San Marcos River. Memories of floating down the river, with a tube for you, a tube for me and a tube for the cooler.  Ahhh … good times.

Then, the week usually continued with the proverbial visit home. I would arrive, laundry in tow, and mom and dad would commence to feeding the starving college student all she could eat of all the favorites – steak, shrimp and chocolate. Ahhh ... good times.

My sister made the mistake of asking one year if she could go to one of the beaches in Florida. My mom was cool and did not let on right away that she was going to answer that question with an emphatic “no.” She calmly said to my sister, “How much will it cost?” And the discussion ended abruptly.

A few years later, after saving a little of her tip money, she snuck off to Padre with friends and the folks were none the wiser. Ahhh … good times.

When my kids were in college, well, spring break for them was coming home for a visit — no trips to Cancun, Padre or Florida.

Even though they are not in college anymore, they did make the spring break trek to Odessa last weekend for a visit. And I was able to treat them to an evening at the Wagner Noël for Experience Hendrix, which was a superb show. It’s not too often that they thank me profusely for anything, but this time thanks to Zakk Wylde and Eric Johnson, they were ever so grateful. I was too, for a batch of homemade ceviche, a blood orange Margarita, good music and quality time with my girls. That was my spring break.

Ahhh … good times.   

Odessa, TX

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