Sunday, February 27, 2011


This week I visited an old friend in a rehabilitation hospital in San Antonio. My friend had been in intensive care for the last 4 ½ months. He underwent seven operations in a series of events that began with a check in at the hospital for pneumonia. My friend is 86 years old. I cannot begin to tell you how all of this built up, but one of the seven operations resulted in my friend losing his leg. During this 4 ½ months he drank no water, ate no food nor used his voice. My friend had just been moved into this rehabilitation center the day before my visit. Surprisingly, he looked good and was able to talk a little. When he told me how much he missed and longed to drink a glass of water, how he longed to eat and chew and swallow. It made an impression on me that I shall never forget. My friend has a ranch in the Hill Country and said how he longed to be there. I surely understand that as well. My friend will be undergoing physical therapy, learning how to walk with a prosthesis, developing muscle mass again and also speech therapy. It will be a long road back. How fortunate are you and I to have our health, our family, our friends and our love of Mother Nature, the natural world . . . . . . So what does this have to do with passion?

As I walked into the facility, the very first impression, just the very few first steps into the door, everything was neat and clean. The people I met in the hallway, the elevator, the nurses’ station, everything and everyone reminded me of the young staff here at Selah. I’ve always said that nothing great will be achieved without enthusiasm. Enthusiasm comes from a love of your life and what you are doing with your life and therefore, enthusiasm comes from passion. My friend has persevered not only because of his determination, but because of the passion of the caregivers. As I left my friend, I saw a small poster with this definition of passion. It’s impactful. It should be in the dictionary -


Steven Fulton, Ranch Biologist, and Colleen Gardner, Executive Director, plan and carry out the programs. It’s not an nine to five day. Photograph taken by Joanna Rees.

Bonham Elementary School kids were here for two days this week. Bonham is a Title One 125 year old school in the inner city of San Antonio. Good parenting and teachers who are passionate about their role in shaping these young people’s lives are so important to the future health of, not only these children, but our nation. Photograph taken by Joanna Rees.

Hes’ Country Store. It’s the last place where the kids come to before leaving the ranch. That’s me, J. David Bamberger, telling stories about my childhood. I’m passionate about the Store and the Ranch and want it to continue as a model to educate others. Even Cory, my dog, plays a role here by climbing a tree – that really gets the kids attention. The real story here is one overlooked in school. It’s encouraging the kids to visit their grandparents, to learn about the family’s past, to ask questions of them and to keep a journal about the experience. Photograph taken by Joanna Rees.

Selah will go on because of the passion of young people like Steven Fulton and Colleen Gardner and you who share our passion.

Perhaps you never thought about it, but Title One school children’s parents as well as the school do not have the money to send their kids to Selah for three days or to have trees planted on their campus. Frankly, neither do we. So we ask for financial assistance from people and sources who feel as we do about the need for nature exposure. If you would like to help us with a donation, we are a 501(c)(3) private operating foundation and gifts are deductible to the extent of the law. You can send your contributions to: Bamberger Ranch Preserve, 2341 Blue Ridge Drive, Johnson City, TX 78636 or donate through your computer by using PayPal.


Sallie said...

Glad to see you posting a blog entry again, J. David! You keep on educating all those young folks as only you can.

Artisan Arts said...

We have not forgotten Selah! It was so good to read about appreciating LIFE... I celebrate it with you! From our hearts to yours, Dan and Robin White