Thursday, April 26, 2007

Texas, My Texas

Texas is everything that you've heard about it and even more. Texas was its own country, which is why it's the Lone Star State. Texas is like a whole 'nother country, as the advertising slogan from a few years back proclaimed. Although it sits physically in the South, Texans are not Southerners in the way that those from Alabama and Mississippi are.

Texas is just Texas.

Three of the top ten largest cities are in Texas: Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio. They are urban--full of great restaurants, industry, science, medicine. The people are diverse--Mexican, African American, Vietnamese, Korean, Indian, Japanese. Religion is a part of the landscape--mega churches, Bible study leaders broadcasting on TV.

But the rural iconic Texas is still going strong. The Texas of fading main streets, cow pastures fenced in with barbed wire holding cattle of every color--brown, black and white. Real cowboys and good ol' boys.

There's food: Real Tex-Mex--fajitas, enchiladas, queso. Slow cooked barbecue with thick spicy sauce. Pots of beans. Pecan pie (that's pe-CAHN not PE-can). Chocolate Sheet Cake.

Words and phrases like fixin' to, do what? and y'all will be heard in the Lone Star State. Neighbors will be neighborly, but you best stay out of the fast lane on the freeway. In the cities you get on a freeway to go anywhere. Feeder roads in the cities make driving easy, but the landscape ugly.

The weather is diverse. Thunderstorms, flooding, dry heat, humidity, West Texas winds, perfect spring and fall days. Any of these could occur anytime of the year.

It's beautiful. It's big, so the terrain is varied. From tall East Texas Pines to scrubby West Texas Mesquites. Dense forests to barren plains. Rolling hills to flat prairies. There's limestone and marble and red dirt. Our state flower, the bluebonnet is a wildflower.


For a few weeks every year, the countryside is covered with wildflowers--blue, yellow, pink, and red. We were fortunate to catch this window and took the quintessential Texas pictures. . .
right off the freeway.

21 comments:

Appliejuice said...

What beautiful pictures! Texas is one state I really would like to see. I have heard that is it so different from top to bottom.

I have also read, and don't know if this is true, Texas is the only state that can (if they want) be divided into five states.

Granny said...

What a lovely tribute to my state! While we were active duty military and traveling the world, we used to joke that it was a lot more fun being FROM Texas than living IN Texas. But the older we get the more our appreciation grows for our home and we're thankful to be both from and IN Texas...

Kathleen aka Coffee Mom said...

I lived in Texas for a year, about 13 years ago. I miss the good food! Sunny Bryan's barbecue in Dallas is the best ever!

Dad said...

appliejuice,
The resolution amitting Texas to the U.S. did include two unique provisions: first, it gave the new state of Texas the right to divide itself into as many as five states. Second, Texas did not have to surrender its public lands to the federal government. This is one reason we have great University systems - led by Texas A&M and the other one, tu (Univ of Texas).
Kathleen,
Sonny Bryan's has the best BBQ (better than anything we have in Houston)

Lana G! said...

I have tagged you because you are in the Spring Reading Challenge and stopped by my sight! Would love to see your response!

http://airmiles.wordpress.com/2007/04/26/real-books-real-people/

Kelli in the Mirror said...

This is really very true. It's a place unto itself. I moved down here from New Jersey during my freshman year of high school and it was quite a culture shock. Now I've grown to love all those little things you mentioned. :)

Heather said...

uh-huh. i grew up in the northeast, and i don't exactly share your fondness for texas, even if it's where i live.
texas weather diverse? hot, hot, and hotter
spring and fall days? the one or two you may catch a year.
i'm glad you like it, but give me new jersey any day.
the one thing i do like is the diverse food you mentioned in the cities (although i miss philly cheesestakes, hoagies, water ice, and birch beer)

L.L. Barkat said...

oh, I love those blue flowers... the breath of spring drifting across the fields!

Big Mama said...

God bless Texas.

Great post.

And I'm not being biased at all.

John Ottinger said...

I thought you might be interested in the New Notions 5 Reading Challenge

Sarah said...

Love the picture of A and K.

Barb said...

This makes me want to go home again. I was born in southeast Texas (Beaumont) and never left there until I was 18. It's been 30 years since I've been back there ridiculous, I know.

You've described it beautifully. Texas is amazing.

Katrina said...

Loved this glimpse into Texas! And the picture with the kids is really great. The last time I was in TX, it was passing through the panhandle in the middle of the night, so I pretty much missed the whole thing... But I'd like to go back someday and see it for real.

Always Jen said...

Between this post and BigMama's Fiesta description I am seriously considering relocation. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

You are making me miss and long for My Texas!! Hope you had a good time!
DD

org junkie said...

Love that picture of the kids....definitely a framer pic!!!

Laura

Lindsey @ Enjoythejourney said...

I'm not from TX but everyone in blog world thinks I am :) It is kind of funny!

Terrillyn said...

Boy, you've made me homesick. I was raised in El Paso and lived in San Antonio for 14 yrs. I miss the Tex-Mex, real BBQ (it's supposed to be beef brisket, not pork), the blue bonnets, and the Hill Country.

Susanne said...

I loved reading this Jennifer! And the pictures to go with it were great! I'd be temped to blow up the bluebonnet one for my wall if I were you. It's such a great pic!

Jen Robinson said...

Love the wildflower photo, Jennifer! Thanks for sharing your travels. I'm glad that you had such a great time.

Jess said...

Oh, goodness! We DO have a lot in common! We Texans can sound overboard in our praise of it, but Texas REALLY IS a great place.

:) I like your blog. I'll be back!
Jess