Periodically I re-read some of my past “Just a Thought” columns and recall with some delight what I wrote. Now beginning my eighth year of the weekly column, it is hard to believe I have had three publishers: Tino Duran, Nina Duran and now Steve Duran. It appears being a Duran equates to La Prensa Texas! For me it is “A walk down memory lane.” Many long term readers might remember that for the two previous years before “Just a Thought” I also wrote a weekly column called, “Ask the Judge.” I informed readers on everything you wanted or needed to know about finding yourself in a Justice of the Peace Court. For me I got to be Judge Judy two days a week among other things! Those are positive memories. In an August, 2013 column, I grappled with the question, “Am I making a difference?” I wrote, “For us old timers who grew up with the movie ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’ with actor Jimmy Stewart, (aka George Bailey) the question is about whether or not we make a difference in people’s lives. Hopefully the answer is ‘yes.’ ” Sometimes I still reflect on how my life as a former Judge has made a positive impact or difference on people’s lives that showed up to my courtroom. I do believe many people from all walks of life have entertained similar types of thoughts more than once in their lives as well. Having taught in the public school system for 26 years, my students would share with me that they dreamed of wanting to be a doctor, nurse, policeman, or firefighter to be able to literally save lives and “make a difference.” How many La Prensa Texas readers have at one time had those thoughts and never expressed them to anybody?

In my case I wondered in that column if I did a good enough job to affect my students in a positive way. I would like to think so. Even now I still go on Facebook and am able to connect with a number of my former seventh grade students as well as former high school students who are now parents and even grandparents. One of my students back in the day was a County Court Judge, Walden Shelton who is currently 57 years old. You don’t know how old that makes me feel!! When he took the bench, I had already been on the court for two years. I said to him in his robe when he was sworn in, “Judge do not overturn me.” He looked at me “jokingly” and said, “Judge take it to the 4 th Court of Appeals.” A year later he came back and told me, “I got two of your cases.” I asked, “What did you do?” He said he upheld my decision! Now that was good news to me. I taught him well. Back then there was no such thing as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like. It is great however keeping up with them and their lives as they share with me about their families, where they have been, the type of work they now do and on and on. I remind many of them on Facebook, how I vividly recall them back then sharing with me their goals and aspirations to do exactly what they are doing now and “making a difference.” Fortunately my memory is still intact! It makes me feel that I somehow contributed to their success and not their failure. One of my former 9 th graders, Joseph Medina is a school board trustee in Northside ISD. No longer a teacher or Judge, I guess I will move on to the next phase of my life and continue trying to “make a real difference.” Hopefully writing a weekly column for La Prensa Texas makes a big difference too. Only you the reader can decide that one. Si Se Puede. And as always, what I write is “Just a Thought.”