"I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life;
to put to rout all that was not life and not when I had come to die, discover that I had not lived." ~Henry David Thoreau

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

On Being an Obnoxious Texan

I was born and raised in Harris County in Houston Texas.  My daddy was from Odessa and my mom was from Houston.  Dad was an engineer for Shell Oil and when I was three years old, he got transfered out to Bakersfield California.  We lived there for fourtneen months and because he wasn't one to play the political game and brown-nose his way up the ladder, he was demoted and moved back to Houston.  I know it was a huge blow to his ego, but I'm here to tell you it was the best thing to happen to our family.  My life would be drastically different had I been raised in the San Joaquin Valley.  My pride wouldn't be nearly as big and my chest wouldn't get all puffed up when I hear anyone even mention the great state of Texas, that's for sure. 

I'll admit something though- I had no idea just what a novelty Texas was until I moved away when I was nineteen years old.  I went to Utah because that's what lots of my other Mormon friends were doing after high school.  Finding Mormon friends was always quite tricky when growing up the Bible Belt.  Baptist churches and Church of Christ were as common as Mormon churches are in Utah.  And Mormon churches in the south are as hard to come by as Baptist churches are in Utah.  So naturally, there was the desire to go with my flock. But I lasted all of five months in Utah and packed everything I could into my little Nissan and drove the straight 23 hours back home.  I had never felt that out of place in my life as I did during those five months.  I hadn't ever spent more than a week at a time out of the State and it was a gigantic, slap up the side of the head, knock you sideways, culture shock.  I was miserable being so far from my comfort zone.

My nineteenth and twentieth years were hard ones.  My parents had moved from Houston to a tiny Texas town five hours north, called Joshua.  Population was about 5,000 and it was twenty minutes southwest of Fort Worth.  It didn't feel like home, but then again, Houston didn't feel like home anymore either.  I was in the ultimate state of limbo.  When I moved back from Utah, Joshua became my home and it didn't take long for me to fall completely and utterly in love with that part of the state.  I made an amazing group of friends that I cherish to this day.  The accents were different (see #17 on the below list), the people were different, and life seemed a little slower paced.  It quickly became my new Texas home.

But then, by fate or destiny or just plain blind love, I met Cody and moved back to Utah, leaving a huge part of my heart behind.  But I started school at the University of Utah and became immersed in Utah culture and traditions and fell in love with ANOTHER home.  It was vastly different than Texas, but it had it's own kind of charm.  And I was with the love of my life so things were good.

And now as my children have been born in Utah and their birth certificates all say "Salt Lake City", my heart aches a little.  Does it matter where they are born?  Nope, not really.  But part of me wishes that it was different.  I wish they'd know what it was like to drive through Washington on the Brazos every spring and see the fields covered in the bluest bluebonnets and reddest Indian Paintbrushes.  I wish they'd never know another kind of ice cream than Bluebell. I wish they knew all the words to "The Stars at Night" and "Texas our Texas" and sang them starting in kindergarten.  I wish they learned square dancing in elementary school.  I wish they could see the ocean whenever he felt like having a day trip to the gulf.  I wish they could catch love bugs and fireflies in jars during the summer.  I wish they saw people like Sam Houston and Stephen Austin as heroic as George Washington.  Our kids are being raised in a wonderful place surrounded by wonderful people and traditions.  But it makes me a little sad that they only get to be immersed in Texas culture for a short two weeks each year, and even then they don't really understand. 

But it's alright.  I'm Texan enough for the whole crew of 'em.  My Texas twang might be completely covered up by a Utah drawl, but the verbage is still there.  And my heart will forever be there!  And so, I admit that I am one of those obnoxios Texans that loves to talk about Texas and feels instant camaraderie with anyone from there or who even has a relative living there.

"Texas our Texas, oh hail the mighty state!  Texas our Texas, so wonderful so great! Boldest and grandest, withstanding every test! O empire wide and glorious, you stand supremely blest!"

I found this list and most of it is pretty accurate.  I could tell that the person who compiled it was likely from west or south (as in Mexico) Texas because of all the talk of drought, heat, and wind.  In Houston (south/east Texas), we get the most amazing thunderstorms and things are lush and green.  I also loved #61 about Coke.  I still call anything carbonated a Coke and Cody will forever make fun of it.  And #85?  I can totally vouch for that.  My old school district recently built a $75,000,000 stadium for the high school football teams.  And that tiny rural town that my parents live in?  Their stadium alone, for ONE school, is simply gorgeous and cost about $14,000,000 to build.  Yeah, we take our high school football very seriously down there!!  Where does all that money come from?  Largely from property tax.  I'll admit that huge property tax is one drawback to the state.  But how else can we support our football passion?!

The ones in bold are my favorites-

  1. You know someone who ate the 72 oz steak and got it for free (and you know where it came from)
  2. You attend a formal event in your best clothes, your finest jewelry, and your Cowboy Boots.
  3. You can write a check at Dairy Queen for 2 Hungr-Busters and fries.
  4. You prefer Whataburger to McDonalds (or In and Out Burger)
  5. You dress up to go shopping at the mall.
  6. You've hung ornaments and tinsel on a tumbleweed and used it as a Christmas tree.
  7. You're disappointed when a food doesn't come in spicy flavor.
  8. You know from experience that rattlesnake meat tastes like chicken.
  9. You can tell a rock from an armadillo at 300 yards.
  10. You know what a 'Cowboy Cadillac' is.
  11. You have both a dog and a brother-in-law named Bud
  12. Your local grocery store sells cactus in the Fresh Produce department
  13. You watch the movie Urban Cowboy and laugh at the phony Texan accents
  14. You choose a brand of Mexican salsa with the same care that another might use to select a bottle of fine wine
  15. You think that the 4 basic food groups are nachos, bar-b-que, fajitas, and Copenhagen.
  16. You refer to the Dallas Cowboys as "God's favorite football team"(Nah, I'd say the Houston Texans)
  17. You know whether another Texan is from South, West, East, North, or Central Texas as soon as they open their mouth.
  18. You dream about Schlitterbahn from October-April
  19. Your Pastor wears boots.
  20. There is no such thing as a "secret" sin.
  21. The Blue Book value on your truck goes up and down depending on how much gas it has in it.
  22. Armadillos sleep in the middle of the road with their feet in the air.
  23. Roadrunners dont say Beep Beep
  24. There are 5,000 types of snakes and 4,998 live in Texas.
  25. There are 10,000 types of spiders. All 10,000 live in Texas, plus a couple no ones seen before.
  26. Possums will eat anything.
  27. Raccoons will test your crop of melons and let you know when they are ripe.
  28. If it grows, it sticks. If it crawls, it bites.
  29. Nothing will kill a mesquite tree.
  30. There are valid reasons some people put concertina wire around their house.
  31. You cannot find a country road without a curve from corner to corner.
  32. A tractor is NOT an all-terrain vehicle, they do get stuck.
  33. The wind blows at 90 MPH from Oct. 2 until June 25, then it stops totally until Oct 2.
  34. Onced and Twiced are good words.
  35. It is not a shopping cart it is a buggy.
  36. Fire ants consider your flesh as a picnic.
  37. Graduating 1st in your class means you left in the 8th grade.
  38. Coldbeer actually is one word.
  39. People really grow and eat okra.
  40. Green grass DOES burn.
  41. When you live in the country, you dont have to buy a dog. City people drop them off at your gate in the middle of the night.
  42. When a buzzard sits on the fence and stares at you, its time to go to the doctor.
  43. Fixinto is one word.
  44. The word dinner is confusing. Theres only lunch and then theres supper.
  45. Backards and forards means I know everything about you.
  46. Jeeet? is actually a phrase meaning Did you eat?
  47. You work until you're done or its too dark to see.
  48. You measure distance in minutes.
  49. Youve had to switch from heat to A/C in the same day.
  50. Stores dont have bags; they have sacks.
  51. You know what cow tipping and snipe hunting is.
  52. You only own four spices: salt, pepper, ketchup, and Picante.
  53. You think sexy lingerie is a tee shirt and boxer shorts.
  54. You think that the first day of deer season is a national holiday.
  55. You know which leaves make good toilet paper.
  56. You know all four seasons: Almost summer, summer, Still summer, and Christmas.
  57. There is a Dairy Queen in every town with a population over 1000.
  58. Going to Walmart is a favorite past-time known as goin wal-martin or off to Wally World.
  59. You describe the first cool snap (below 70 degrees) as good chili weather.
  60. A carbonated soft drink isnt a soda, cola, or pop .. its a Coke, regardless of brand or flavor.
  61. You no longer associate bridges (or rivers) with water...
  62. You can say 110 degrees without fainting...
  63. You eat hot chilies to cool your mouth off...
  64. You can make instant sun tea...
  65. You learn that a seat belt makes a pretty good branding iron...
  66. The temperature drops below 95, you feel a bit chilly...
  67. You discover that in July, it takes only 2 fingers to drive your car...
  68. You discover that you can get a sunburn through your car window...
  69. You notice the best parking place is determined by shade instead of distance...
  70. Hot water now comes out of both taps...
  71. It's noon in July, kids are on summer vacation, and not one person is out on the streets...
  72. You actually burn your hand opening the car door...
  73. You break a sweat the instant you step outside... at 7:30 a.m. before work...
  74. No one would dream of putting vinyl upholstery in a car or not having air conditioning...
  75. Your biggest bicycle wreck fear is, "What if I get knocked out and end up lying on the pavement and cook to death"?...
  76. You realize that asphalt has a liquid state...
  77. Its illegal to have a tattoo until youre 18, but children of all ages can play with guns
  78. You dont think its weird to drink a beer at anytime of day, even the morning
  79. You think its weird not to drink a beer
  80. You can drive all day and not leave the state
  81. The confederate flag is flown at your high school, the team is even named after it
  82. You shop at HEB
  83. The town you live in is bigger than Rhode island
  84. You see more trucks on your daily commute than youll see in the state of New Jersey
  85. Your high school football stadium is equal to, or better, than most professional stadiums
  86. You know there are more longhorn, cattle and steer than there people in the state
  87. We dont have an ocean; we have a gulf
  88. You know someone who is named Pedro or Martin
  89. Their last name is Gonzales, Martinez or Rodriguez
  90. You eat tacos for breakfast
  91. You think Dr. Pepper is the best damn coke in the world
  92. The extensions of the index and pinky make for the best hand gesture in the world besides the shocker
  93. The best parties are on at least two acres of land
  94. You can go anywhere with a gun on your truck and no one thinks twice about it
  95. You know someone with a gun related injury
  96. Getting stuck in the mud is a challenge, not an avoidance
  97. We panic when there is an inch of snow on the ground
  98. Air conditioning is standard on every car sold here
  99. You've said I've never met a Jewish person before
  100. You design your Halloween costume to fit over Wranglers and cowboy boots.
  101. The mosquitoes have landing lights.
  102. You have more miles on your tractor than your car.
  103. You have 10 favorite recipes for deer meat.
  104. You've taken your kids trick-or-treating when it was 90 degrees outside.
  105. The preacher says, "I'd like to ask Bubba to help take up the offering." and five guys stand up.
  106. A member of the church requests to be buried in his 4-wheel-drive truck because "It ain't never been in a hole it couldn't get out of."
  107. When it rains, everyone is smiling.
  108. The choir group is known as the "OK Chorale."
  109. Four generations of the same family sit together in worship.
  110. There is no such thing as a "secret" sin.
  111. Baptism is referred to as "branding."
  112. Finding and returning lost sheep isn't just a parable.
  113. High notes on the organ can set the dogs to howling.
  114. People wonder, when Jesus fed 5,000, whether the two fish were bass or catfish.
  115. The final words of the benediction are, "Ya'll come back now, ya hear?"
  116. It's a common misconception that everything is twice as big in Texas, really, everything is 1.965 times bigger, but we round up.
  117. It's a common misconception that the women have big hair. In fact this was outlawed in July 1977. There is a task force and they are doing their best to reach every last woman. Bear with us.
  118. A visitor to Texas once asked, "Does it ever rain out here?" A rancher quickly answered "Yes, it does. Do you remember that part in the Bible where it rained for 40 days and 40 nights?"The visitor replied, "Yes, I'm familiar with Noah's flood." "Well," the rancher puffed up, we got 'bout two and a half inches of that."
  119. A sad Texan once prayed, "I wish it would rain - not so much for me, cuz I've seen it - but for my 7-year-old."
  120. Sunscreen is sold year round, kept at the front of the checkout counter . . .
  121. A formula less than 30 SPF is a joke and you only wear that to go to the corner store . . .
  122. You can properly pronounce Corsicana, Ennis, Waxahachie, Palestine, Decatur, Wichita Falls, San Antonio, Mexia, Waco, and Amarillo.
  123. A tornado warning siren is your signal to go out in the yard and look for a funnel.
  124. You think everyone from a bigger city has an accent.
  125. You listen to the weather forecast before picking out an outfit.
  126. Someone you know has used a football schedule to plan their wedding date.
  127. You have known someone who has had one belt buckle bigger than your fist.
  128. You arent surprised to find movie rental, ammunition, and bait all in the same store.
  129. A Mercedes Benz is not a status symbol. A Chevy 3500 4Ã4 is.
  130. You know everything goes better with Ranch.
  131. You go to the river/lake because you think it is like going to the ocean.
  132. You go to the gas station and there is a sign in the window that reads, No Shoes, No Shirt, No Service!
  133. Your family pet is the stray dog with one leg that came limping up to your door.
  134. Pull your droopy pants up. You look like an idiot.
  135. Let's get this straight; it's called a "gravel road."
  136. I drive a pickup truck because I want to.
  137. No matter how slow you drive, you're going to get dust on your Lexus. Drive it or get out of the way.
  138. They are cattle & oil wells. That's what they smell like to you. They smell like money to us. Get over it. Don't like it? I-20 and I-10 go east and west, I-35 goes north and south. Pick one.
  139. So you have a $60,000 car. We're impressed. We have $250,000 cotton strippers that are driven only 3 weeks a year.
  140. So every person in every pickup waves. It's called being friendly. Try to understand the concept.
  141. If that cell phone rings while a bunch of doves are coming in, we WILL shoot it out of your hand. You better hope you don't have it up to your ear at the time.
  142. Yeah, we eat catfish & crawfish. You really want sushi & caviar? It's available at the corner bait shop.
  143. We open doors for women. That is applied to all women, regardless of age.
  144. No, there's no "vegetarian special" on the menu. Order steak. Or you can order the Chef's Salad and pick off the 2 pounds of ham & turkey.
  145. You bring "coke" into my house, it better be brown, wet, and served over ice.
  146. You bring "Mary Jane" into my house, she better be cute, know how to shoot, drive a truck, and have long hair.
  147. College and High School Football is as important here as the Lakers and the Knicks, and a dang site more fun to watch.
  148. Yeah, we have golf courses. But don't hit the water hazards -- it spooks the fish.
  149. Colleges? Try Texas Tech, Texas A&M, University of Texas or Texas State. Kids come outta there with an education plus a love for God and country, and they still wave at passing pickups when they come for the holidays.
  150. We have more folks in the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines, than any other state
  151. Always remember what our great governor Sam Houston once said:"Texas can make it without the United States, but the United States can't make it without Texas!"

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