Bigger and Better....and hotter!

People ask me, "Where are you from?" There is always a pregnant pause preceding my carefully phrased answer,

"I claim Texas as my home state."

And, I guess that's a weird way of answering that question, but it is accurate.

I was not born in Texas.

I have not lived in Texas the biggest percentage of my life.

I did not grow up in Texas, and in fact, excepting a couple months there in 5th grade, I didn't live there until 7th grade. And I did not stay. Because staying isn't  my strong suit. 

I never realized I was a Texan until I was much older, and realized I couldn't be anything else. 

Why do I call it home?

Because my father did. And my mother did. I had my first car, my first love, and my first child here.

I have an assortment of aunts, uncles, cousins, sister, and a few high school friends in Texas. My oldest son, and granddaughter, are life long Texans, too. I have a fragile but real connection here and not anywhere else.

Because whatever roots I do have, such as they are, stayed firmly planted in the dusty earth of Texas, despite, or, because of, all my wanderings.

You can't deny Texas.

It's certainly not the prettiest state. 

The climate is not exactly welcoming.

It takes a long time to drive across it. I think we have gained some Texans over the years  from people giving up on getting across it, and just saying, "Screw it, I will just stay here in the shade of this oil well awhile." A couple years later they are driving a pickup truck with a gun rack and saying they are fixin to do stuff.

Thats how it happens. It just gets ahold of you.

It's more about an attitude than a landscape. Standing a little taller in your boots..or your flip flops. Not being afraid to believe in things...strongly.

And yes, Texans like to exaggerate a bit and will get in heated arguments over most anything. They drink sweet tea and use a lot of pepper sauce and talk funny. 

We think our BarBQ is the best, and we will challenge you on that any day of the week. We like a steak. Pretty rare. We eat fried okra and we love Pecans.

A Texan will look you in the eye and give a firm handshake, man or woman. Don't start that snowflake business with us. ..that won't fly.

And yes we salute the flag, stand with our hands over our hearts for the national anthem,and honk if you love Jesus. I'm sorry, not sorry, if that offends you.  

But you could fly a different flag and you could believe in any, or no, God, and if your house was on fire a whole gaggle of Texans would show up with buckets, and blankets, and whatever else they could help with.

Because it's the right thing to do. 

Some people move to Texas and become Texans and some never get the hang of it. That's ok, it's a big state. Some leave Texas and never stop being Texans. If you're lucky enough to have a Texas friend, you know they are some of the most giving and loyal people on earth.

And while, once more, we will pass through Texas again, on our way to St. Somewhere, and travel on soon, I will again, like every other time I have left it in my rearview mirror, have a lump in my throat leaving.....home.