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Table Talk: A small town in Kenedy County

Find out where we found Kenedy County residents
Table Talk: Kenedy County
Kenedy County Line picture
Kenedy Table Talk2.jpg
Table Talk: Kenedy County
Sarita post office
Kenedy Ranch Museum
Sarita Elementary School
Posted at 6:53 AM, Jan 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-14 12:12:07-05

SARITA, Texas — It's Tuesday and that means another edition of "Table Talk."

This morning, as we continue to hit the road covering 12 Coastal Bend counties, we find ourselves in Kenedy County where we faced a challenge we haven't seen before.

But that didn't stop us from fulfilling our promise to you to come to your county to find the issues most important to you.

If you're looking for the hustle and bustle of a big city, you won't find it in Kenedy County.

"I love it here," Norma Alaniz said. "It's nice and quiet."

The only business is the Kenedy Ranch and that means the 400 or so people living in the county, most of them in the only populated area in Sarita, go to other counties for whatever they need.

"A lot of traveling, " Alaniz said. "A lot of miles on our cars."

So with no restaurant for "Table Talk," we decided to go to the busiest place we could find.

It turns out that place was the post office where we met Norma.

On the outside, Norma seems fine. But when she began opening up, she told us about her family, including her stepdaughter Lisa and all about her deteriorating health.

"She has to go through a lot," Norma says. "A lot."

Her 30-something stepdaughter is on dialysis and that means the couple must travel to Corpus Christi constantly so Lisa can see her doctors.

Norma says it's very painful for her family to experience this in their lives.

"Very painful," Norma says.

All this, while they're doing their best to ensure Lisa doesn't come down with the coronavirus.

"We are trying to keep her safe from that," Norma says.

That's also exactly what Mario Castillo is doing for his family.

"Right now, we don't go nowhere unless we have to you, you know?" Castillo says.

His daughter is an elementary school teacher in nearby Kingsville. Mario has been worried she'd get infected at school.

"Well, yes, but she is one of the persons, she knows what's right and what's wrong, you know?" Mario says.

Eventually, she tested positive though in the end, she recovered.

These days, she's teaching from home.

All the while - it's Mario's faith that keeps him going.

"Praying. That's the first thing I do in the morning," he said.

But even in one of the least populated counties - not only in Texas, but also across the nation - some like 74-year-old Bill Lothrop seem to be taking the pandemic a day at a time.

Lothrop says he's not that concerned that older people are at greater risk for the coronavirus than others.

"Not especially," he said. "Everybody's got their own time."

And despite the significantly small population, many people here use masks and practice social distancing.

"Well, I guess you have to," Lothrop said.

The pandemic keeping Bill and countless others cooped up at home - even more isolated - he says -than pre-COVID. It's a common thread he says that connects many of us.

"You have to admit that there's some, a general little oppression that comes from the whole thing that everybody shares," Lothrop said.

Norma shares in that oppression. And while whatever she can to keep her family COVID-free - she's doing her best to help her stepdaughter - praying and being there for her.

"Yes, I believe God will help her," Lothrop said.

Holding on to hope that Lisa will get better and that officials will get the coronavirus under control.