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What Texas Means To Me

Issue Date: Thursday, Oct. 27, 2005

I was coming back to the office from lunch a few hours ago and I realized something. It is October. Today is the 26th (Whooops, 27th… I got sidetracked). In the year of our Lord, two thousand and five.

Well, smack my ass and call me Lucy.

As of this month; on the 24th at four pm to be exact; I have been in Texas for twenty-two years.

Twenty Two.

22 – Like older than Ashlee (extraneous EEEEE’s) Simpson.

I would like to take this time to do one of those, “What I did this summer” essays but… about what Texas means to me. So yeah, cheesy, but with more words than a 4th grader would use.

What Texas Means To Me

Texas was a foreign place to my mind before I stepped a foot on Lone Star soil. I was convinced that every home was a large ranch style house with acres and acres of rolling hills and plains. Just perfect for the herds of wild mustangs and a lone palomino pony that I could rustle up with just a whistle or a click of my tongue. I would ride an oil jack at midnight to be perfectly silhouetted against the full moon; all the better to toss my fro long luxurious hair and giggle knowingly. And I would definitely have a boyfriend named Bobby, or JR. You know. Like on Dallas.

Yeah. I was twelve. Apparently a sexually ramped up twelve year old with an imagination that was running away with me.

So, when I got to Texas in October of 1983, I was slightly disappointed that all the homes in our neighborhood looked pretty much the same. Not one ranch or Sue Ellen to be found. I didn’t even have a horse tied up in my backyard… by the alley or next to the home that I could touch if I was walking between it and the one I lived in. Well, that is an exaggeration. I may have had to lean a bit. But I could mow that little strip of lawn in three passes.

Three passes!

Seriously, look how close the houses are together. I lived in the third house from the end… the first one on the bottom right of that street with a pool*.

And where the hell were the trees in my neighborhood? And please, a fucking crape myrtle does not count at a tree. It is a tree like substance, sure, but I was used to pine trees and forests. I grew up in this neighborhood for goodness sakes. On a large piece of property. It took us hours to do the yard work. And we had our own garden.

Three passes. Gah.

I was also distraught to find that all of the women in Texas are beautiful. No matter what age, race or creed the girls, young ladies and women are… Texas has the largest amount of hot women per capita than any other state.

I had this fantasy – totally unfounded of course – that I would be the sweet smiling Georgia peach and that being the new girl had its advantages. Well, it worked for this guy** when he was the new kid in our school. It should have worked for me. I should have been the prettiest little filly these cowboys had ever seen.

What? There is not one Bobby or JR in my 6th grade class?

Well, fuck.

I wasn’t a total outsider for long. My bubbly personality (read: can’t shut the hell up) and my charismatic charm (read: possible future flight attendant for Delta) ensured that I would reign as queen of the dorks for years to come. Sure, sure… I tried to break into the cliques of the popular crowds, but um… they are called cliques for a reason, and while I had a lot to offer them, the only thing that they… er I mean Kris C… (::cough:: HO! ::cough::) wanted from me was my boyfriend in the fall of the seventh grade.

I was supposed to be talking about Texas, and here I am… again hijacking the entry to work out my own personal issues.

Point? Ermm… uh…***

Ah, Texas… It took a while for you to grow on me. Like a fungus. I kept hearing all of these people talk about “Bigger in Texas, Better in a Dodge!” type of sentiments. Lone Star State this, and the biggest state that. Coming from humble southern stock, I thought it was all a bit egomaniacal. But then I was able to swim… in our pool… on Christmas Day.

Spring came and the huge expanse of sky that I looked up into on my way to school everyday became so intensely blue that my eyes would water. The “trees” began to bloom and there was so much color everywhere. And… AND… there were season passes to Six Flags!****

I began to love you Texas. When asked where I was from, I would say Dallas as opposed to Atlanta. My extended family is still in Georgia, but my heart belongs to Texas.

When I started college I moved to a place that looks a whole helluva lot like Georgia, East Texas.

Pine. Trees. Everywhere. And hills… even a tiny little mountain.

While in college my parents moved to Denver and I stayed behind. For one, to finish college, and for two… because I love you Texas. When my folks retired in 2002 they made their home in Texas again. And Texas, we could almost hear you sigh with contentment from their screened in porch on Lake Palestine.

Texas, I have traveled your interstates, your country roads, your farm to market roads and your highways. I have been swimming in your man made lakes and in your natural lakes. Lakes so beautiful for the cypress trees and Spanish moss that I could have sworn that I was in Charleston. Your big blue sky continues to amaze me and I am thankful for your warm weather… notice I didn’t say hot… because Lord… you can get hot. Hawt.

I have loved you for a long time now Texas, but I never realized how much until this past January.

In January Mister was in the midst of unemployment. He had an offer on the table from a company in Florida. The company wanted us to move so Mister could be closer. I left to go to a convention in San Diego on January 22nd. I was in a plane that left out of DFW International Airport and the skies were beautiful and cornflower blue.

There was no cloud cover until we hit Lubbock.

Before the clouds covered the view I was watching the plains and cities pass beneath me at 40, 000 feet when we passed over Breckenridge, TX. In Breckenridge there is a large lake called the Hubbard Creek Reservoir. When we flew over this lake the beauty was so incredible; the sharp contrast of the blue from the water and the green from the surrounding country; it brought tears to my eyes.

I was not just struck by the beauty, but the realization that my time in Texas could be short due to the circumstances of Mister’s employment. Of course I would follow him anywhere and eat whale blubber if I had to, but… BUT… I love Texas.

I love Pat Green.
I love salsa.
I love how weird Austin is.
I love TexMex food.
I love that we want to elect Kinky Friedman for governor.
I love the wind.
I love the lakes.
I love the ocean.
I love the hills.
I love the plains.
I love the desert.
I love the Piney Woods.
I love two stepping.
I love three stepping.
I love to waltz with your cowboys, Texas.
I love that a five hour road trip is no big deal to me.
I love the bars on 6th street.
I love the Italian place right next to Loop 12 and Marsh.
I love the bushy fu-Manchu/Texas mustaches.*****
I love that I know there is a farrier school in Scurry, TX.
I love the crisp nights and warm days of fall. This morning? 51 degrees. Now? 72.
I love Robert Earl Keen.
I love Southwest Airlines.
I love the hard angles and right edges of the Dallas skyline.
I love that if I turn north and drive for just a little bit I will be in BFE.
I love Mrs. Baird’s bread.
I love the big fucking farris wheel, the Texas Star, at the state fairgrounds.
I love boots.
I love horses.
I love how much time seems to slow down when you enter Fort Worth.
I love the bronze mustangs in Las Colinas.
I love tight jeans on cowboys… Jeezus.
I love that I was a member of an actual rodeo club in college.
I love shopping in Dallas.
I love that I went to a school with only two grades (11th & 12th) but that it held 3000 kids.
I love the rows and rows and scores of auto dealers.
I love that Ford, Dodge and Chevy do Texas packages for their vehicles.
I love Big Tex.
I love the big oak tree in my yard that sounds like the ocean when the wind blows.
I love that we have green grass way longer than most people.
I love belt buckles.
I love big hair.
I love David Allen Coe.
I love the Broken Spoke.
I love fried food.
I love my hats… straw and felt.
I love Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.
And… I love Asleep at the Wheel.

There are so many things about Texas that I love. But I know it isn’t just about location, geography, topography and convenience. It is about the people I have know and loved here for twenty-two years.

I am proud to call Texas my home.

*Dear Google, what the hell is up with you not putting your little pointer on the correct house when I give you the right address? Huh? It was all jacked for the Somerset map. I actually lived at 3412, but could you point to the right house? The one with the additional acreage? Noooo. Hmmmph. Google, you are not the cousin for me today.
**He moved into town in the 5th grade and while still riding high on the ‘new guy’ wave, he gave me a box of Andie’s Candy’s mints for Valentine’s Day and asked me to be his girl. Smooth man, smooth.
***That was for you and your erm-ing neighbor Anne. Heh.
****Much like Six Flags over Georgia… Six Flags over Texas smells like afro sheen, pot and orange crème sickles. What?
*****On the right people.

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