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Saturday, April 13, 2024

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Another Great Read

Under the Chinaberry Tree

This Week On
The Sound of Texas

Monday, April 8
Fran Houser Adrian Midway Cafe
Tuesday, April 9
Peter Avila San Benito Conjunto Museum
Wednesday, April 10
Suzanne Theis Houston Car Parade
Thursday, April 11
Dorinda Millan Pecos Museum
Friday, April 12
Troy Grusendorf Brownwood Harmonica
Complete Schedule for April

In Print: On News Stands Now


by Tumbleweed Smith

For this old boy who lives in a dry country, seeing a million bathtubs of water a minute go over a cliff is a sight to behold. It's been happening for nearly 400 years.

Niagara Falls is a fun, exciting, beautiful place. There are two Niagaras: one in New York, the other in Ontario, Canada. The Niagara River connects Lakes Erie and Ontario and provides a border between the two countries. To get the full impact of the falls, you must go to the Canadian side. Our hotel in Canada gave us a full view of the two waterfalls (the American Falls, a straight line of water cascading down for 184 feet and the Canadian or Horseshoe Falls, which are 170 feet tall). Niagara is an Indian word meaning Thunder Water.

And boy, does it thunder. The roar can be heard all over the area. Casinos have been built on both sides of the Niagara River and they have created a tourist boom, attracting 14 million visitors a year. Niagara, New York has a population of 54,000 while Niagara in Canada has a population of 76,000. New hotels are being built on both sides of the river.

We saw beautiful flower gardens all over the place. Hanging baskets full of blossoms decorated light posts on the walkways on the north side of the river. We watched a juggler perform to an appreciative audience on a grassy area near a restaurant by the falls.

Niagara has always been a romantic place known as a destination for honeymooners. We saw couples of all ages holding hands as they strolled along the walkway looking at the falls. We saw a wedding in a park and watched a man sitting next to us in a restaurant get on his knees and propose to his girlfriend.

Everywhere we went people were taking photographs. I don't remember ever seeing so many cameras in use. Couples were handing cameras over to strangers, asking them to take their picture with the falls as a backdrop.

When we travel, we try to experience as much as possible. We rode on the Maid of the Mist, the boat that circles the bottom of the Canadian Falls. Passengers are issued blue plastic rain ponchos because the mist is like rain and the falls create strong winds. We went behind the falls wearing yellow rain parkas. We went to the bird aviary, the butterfly conservatory and Niagara-on-the-Lake, an upscale shopping city at the end of the Niagara River Parkway. We walked through the nation's first state park on the New York side and got to within a few feet of the water at the edge of the falls. Twice we watched the falls at sunset from a high vantage point and stayed until dark, when the falls are bathed in colored lights. We went to the Skylon Tower and watched a dazzling fireworks show at eye level. We missed the tightrope walker, who walks across a cable stretched between two buildings during the summer months (no net below). We saw rainbows at the falls.

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