Why I Love Texas
Apologies to Opine Needles readers from afar; this is a blog about Texas. I do not expect you to understand, and I ask you to lend me your ears on this one.
I don’t know about you, but once every few weeks, I receive an email from someone written by somebody who loves Texas and wants the world to know why. Strangely enough, every time I read one of these emails, I say “yep, that man is right.” (For some reason the author is always a man. Don’t ask me why; that’s just the way it is. I think it has something to do with the fact that men are actually much more sentimental about this kind of thing). So I just got to thinking about this great state, and decided to take a detour from the dismal state of affairs in Washington D.C.. I mean, really, the fact is that next week’s blog can pick right up on health care and taxes (and it needs to!) and not miss a beat. But, for now at least, health care and taxes are on the backbench. (“Backbench” is British Parliamentary jargon.)
I don’t imagine I’m about to unleash a torrent of praise that hasn’t been rained on readers by someone sometime before now. But that is not really the point. Today’s blog is a metaphoric pinch. Every once in a while we all need to be pinched to be reminded how lucky we are.
They say “happiness is Lubbock in a rear view mirror.” Well, they (whoever “they” are-I am not sure) got that one wrong. For me, happiness is any state but Texas in a rear view mirror. The best decision I ever made was to pack up my stakes (at the age of 25) and move to Texas. I was in the oil and gas insurance business, and even then I knew it made as much sense to do that from New York City as it did to eat chips and salsa made anywhere but in Texas. (Have you ever eaten Tex-Mex up north? Do yourself a huge favor and wait until you get home.)
Upon arrival in Houston, I encountered some anti-Yankee sentiment; and still do upon rare occasion today. I am always amazed. I’ve lived in Texas for thirty years. That’s longer than 50% of native Texans have been alive! I’m a walking chamber of commerce advertisement for Texas. I AM the bumper sticker which reads “I wasn’t born in Texas but I got here as fast as I could!” So I don’t really cotton much to those who cling on to the Yankee thing. I prefer to look at the vast majority of hard working Texans who welcomed a 25 year old kid and said “If you’ve got something to offer, bring it on.”
Whenever I leave Texas, I invariably end up feeling like an alien in a distant galaxy. How on earth can I be so at home with all who surround me in Texas, and seemingly drop off the face of the planet as soon as I land in New York or Los Angeles? Leaving Texas is an out of body experience. I know this much; I can’t tell you how happy I am that my children are growing up in Texas. I don’t know where they will end up, but I know they will be the luckiest kids in the world to have spent their youth here in Houston, Texas.
I’m not done yet. I am also sick and tired of people coming to Houston and telling me how ugly it is. Those people need to get a life. I think all of us wish the “paths” from Bush or Hobby were not littered with billboards, strip malls, and car dealerships (or what were car dealerships). But have you ever driven into downtown NYC or LA from their airports? Take a good look around. It ain’t pretty. Anyway, I’m talkin’ about Texas. Texas is beautiful. From east Texas to Big Bend, we have it all.
Cutting to the chase, we have a sense of pride in this state that is unmatched anywhere in the world. Texas is not a place; it is an IDEA. Texas is HOPE unbridled (hope, not “change”, I should hasten to add), and Texas is THE place that thinks BIG. Texas is OPPORTUNITY for someone willing to work to make it happen. Texas is FRIENDLY. People help other people all the time. Texas citizens are not embarrassed to embrace FAITH. Texas does not know its limits. That is powerful, and that is good.
Texas is burnt orange AND Aggie maroon, and BOTH are colors of which to be proud. Texas is multi-racial, multi-ethnic, and multi-national. Texas is a melting pot. Texas is home to more Fortune 500 companies than any other state. Texas does not have a state income tax. Texas is Friday night lights in the fall, and little league baseball in February. Texas is a place where it is ok to be a cheerleader.
The list goes on. If you want to make your own list, you can get in your car in Texarkana and drive to El Paso (yes, that “west Texas town”) for another 12 hours (or 860 miles) thinking about it. All the while, you’ll be in Texas!
The detour now draws to a close. For those of you who are able, as you look at events in Washington and wonder with perplexed incredulity how things have gone so wrong, you can still take heart and thank your lucky stars you live in Texas!!!
More to follow-