This column is going to settle some bets, and lead to some “I told you so’s”, and it is a bit of a random mish-mash, but it’s summertime, so I hope you allow me the freedom to ramble a bit, and have some fun.
“Back in the day”… I really hate saying and hearing the expression “back in the day”, but I just can’t stop myself from using it. It’s probably because I’m getting old, and have to constantly draw on my life experiences to make decisions. This is a phenomenon that a young person cannot understand… until they get older. The phenomenon is not the same as being stuck in the past, or insisting that things be done the same old way. It has to do with having a long list of successes and failures to draw on to know what will work and what won’t. It gives you a certain amount of confidence when tackling problems. It also has absolutely nothing to do with the rest of this column.
Well anyway, back in the day, there was a local community leader named Jeep Kiel – who, by the way, is still very much alive, and is not related to me, but I’ll touch on that later. This is a completely unauthorized mention of Jeep, so I hope he will forgive any inaccuracies. Well, it seems Jeep came up with a bumper sticker slogan that said something like this: “There’s nothing happening in Houston – I’m going to Seguin!” Several people have mentioned that bumper sticker to me recently, and it really hit me a when we spent the weekend after July 4th in Houston.
Obviously, the slogan is not literally true. Houston has 5 million people in the metro area. It’s a human ant hill. It is buzzing all over with all kinds of stuff all the time. But it is all so shallow and impersonal – nothing really touches your soul and makes you feel a part of it – no real feeling of community. All you do is worry about how bad the traffic will be when you want to go somewhere, or where you will park when you get there.
Houston seemed very dull, after spending the 4th of July weekend in Seguin. To wit: First, The Chamber and Fields at Huber Ranch hosted a 3-day Nationals Softball tournament that brought nearly 3,000 people to town. Then came 4 days of Independence Day celebrations. Downtown pubs were hopping. There were class reunions, family reunions, street fiesta with dancing, kiddie parade, patriotic concert in the park, fireworks, and the Biggest Small Town Parade in Texas. All of those activities were done with a spirit of community and small town pride that is pure Seguin. Most everybody at these events knew each other and every event was very REAL. No traffic, no parking problems, and a heck of lot more fun than dealing with the Houston ant hill.
Now back to Jeep. Here’s where we settle some bets, and lead to some “I told you so’s” about how my last name is spelled and pronounced. One would think that after nearly 5 years as Mayor, this would be common knowledge, but somehow… it happens nearly every day.
Jeep’s family, the Kiel family has a long history of community service to the city. They’ve had a much higher profile and prominence in Seguin than my family, the Keil family over the years. Did you catch the difference in the spelling?
Often, I am mistakenly thought to be a member of the Kiel family that includes Jeep, his sister Karen Kiel Wallock, and brother Ken Kiel, who is married to our County Clerk, Teresa Kiel.
Please note the difference in spelling and pronunciation: Jeep’s last name is K-I-E-L and is pronounced “Keel”.
My last name is spelled K-E-I-L and is pronounced “Kyle”.
The best way to remember how to spell my name is to remember a variation on an old English Teacher adage:
I before E except after K!
Also, Keil rhymes with “Smile”.
Gosh, I love this town!