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Jack and Joyce Smith

Couple of 50 Years from Missouri Helping Introduce New, Safe Activities to Park

by Rocio Villalobos

Jack and Joyce Smith made their first trip to the Rio Grande Valley three years ago and quickly fell in love with it, immediately getting involved with all the activities Mission’s Split Rail RV Park and Resort has to offer.

Although they were anticipating a slower season this year, the Missouri couple ventured down anyway and have dedicated their time to helping around the Park and creating new activities for everyone to enjoy.

“The first two years, we did a lot of crafts--painting, playing cards, and swimming,” Joyce said. “This year, we’ve done things like judging Christmas lights and caroling.”

While there is less to do, Jack said it was still worth coming, if just for the climate. “A lot of people don’t think of Texas as having a tropical area to go to; I’ve never been to the tropics, but I’d imagine it would be like this,” Jack said. “Everything is so green, and you see many different types of flowers. We love it down here.”

After so much time together, they still enjoy each other’s company and working on the same activities and projects.

“He’s pretty good to go along with, whatever I do,” Joyce said.

“We’ve been married 50 years now and, boy, did that go fast,” Jack said.

One new thing they learned this year is how to cook for almost 100 people. The pair enjoys helping out wherever they’re needed, and this season that was in the kitchen for holiday dinners. Though they didn’t arrive until mid-November, they jumped right to work by helping cook and serve Thanksgiving meals.

“We miss being able to get together and have potlucks, but we’ve done what we could so we can still enjoy the food,” Jack explained.

The normally communal meals were offered via takeout or delivery, and through these methods they are also able to adapt and continue another tradition: ice-cream socials.

“We used to have ice cream every Sunday night, so now we go around and deliver it to all the Park,” Joyce said. “We’re just finding different things to do outside.”

Other things the Smiths enjoy about the RGV is the closeness and prioritization of family, along with the community’s welcoming attitude toward visitors. The Smiths will be returning home in April and say they look forward to picking back up to normal in the upcoming season, but are still glad to have found good use for their time by helping others.

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