Saturday, June 23, 2007

When in Texas...

I'm from New Jersey. When asked, I'll admit it without a trace of shame, but it's not something I go around advertising either. It's neither a place to be proud of or ashamed of, it's just a place to hang my hat.

Texans don't feel quite the same way about their homestate. But we all knew that anyway.


Meet Cindy (and her horse Christian). She's a true-blue, dyed-in-the-wool Texan, and proudly believes Texas to be the best state in the nation. Why?

Moments after arriving at Cindy's home in Lubbock, we sat in her living room as she gave me a quick list of Texas facts, including the following:
  • Texas joined the Union under the stipulation that it could secede at any time.
  • Texas is the only state whose flag is allowed to fly as high as the American flag.
  • Her county just passed a new law allowing a homeowner to shoot an intruder for any reason.

As my surprise at Texas culture grew, Cindy appointed herself my Texas ambassador, and we made up a list of things to do during my night in Lubbock, including the following:

  • Shoot a gun.
  • Go to a rodeo.
  • Ride a horse.

She began to call in favors from her cowboy friend Doug while simultaneously planning an outing to a local club which featured an indoor rodeo ring where dancers are hit with dirt kicked up by the bull. Seriously.

Unfortunately the club had recently closed, and we soon found ourselves in a small Mexican restaurant where we spent hours discussing our travels over enchiladas and margaritas. Cindy and I couldn't be more culturally or politically different (I nearly choked when she told me a woman should never be president because they are the weaker sex), but we somehow managed to politely agree to disagree and at least found some common ground around our travels. She spent two years living and working in Italy where her mother visited, who is now writing a book about their travels entitled "Two Nuts in Italy." I've heard some of the stories that will be featured in the book, and it won't disappoint. Look for it in a year or two.

It was fun to see the goal of this trip so sharply realized, to experience the opinions and lives of the locals in order to get a better sense of this enormous country.

But my Texas ambassador wasn't finished with me yet.

There wasn't a rodeo on that night, but the next best thing was a team roping competition.


The competition consists of teams of two: a header and a heeler; one to rope the bull's horns, the other to rope the bull's back legs.

We watched for a half hour or so while I tried to get pictures, and soon Brady, the man prodding the cattle, asked why I was taking pictures. I explained that I was visiting from New Jersey.

"So how do you like the Mexican food?"

"Oh it's great."

"Yeah, I don't like all that pasta... and pizza they eat up north."

"Um..."

When I told him I'd never ridden a horse before, let alone been to Texas, he stared at me for a moment and said, "Heck I don't think I ever met someone like you."

Ever the ambassador, Cindy asked if there were any horses I could ride. Brady enthusiastically set me up with Dunny and showed me how to steer him and make him trot. At the camp where I used to work they would have made me wear a helmet, pants and boots, go through a few hours of instruction, etc. etc. Here I was given a few pointers and off I went, loping around the arena.



Cindy told me that Texans consider themselves Texans first and Americans second. It seems a tad cocky, to me.

"Are the people in New Jersey as nice as they are here?" Brady asked me.

"Not all of them, unfortunately."

You know what? I'll take the cockiness, the ridiculous gun laws, the slow drawl and everything else that goes with it. As long as they're as nice as Cindy and Brady, they can be as cocky as they want.

2 comments:

Dad said...

You were in Lubbock and didn't mention Buddy Holly???

the chef said...

I wish Texans would stop holding that "Texas joined the Union under the stipulation that it could secede at any time" bullshit over the heads of the rest of us patriotic Americans and fucking do it already.

What are you waiting for?

Oh... you're never going to? Then lower your state flag like the rest of us and shut your talk hole Cletus.

I dare someone to name 5 things Texas has contributed to the United States of America.

And if anyone says... "Protect our Southern border."... I'll reach through the internet and...

Well... I haven't mastered that yet but... be forewarned... that answer is unacceptable.

GW and GW2 are also unacceptable as answers although I may accept Jennifer Love Hewitt as an answer if you can provide pictures of her in a bikini, sunbathing 9 miles east-northeast of her hometown of Waco, Texas, on the charred remains of the Branch Davidian Compound.

I should be quiet now and wait until the glorious day when someone from from a more forward thinking state takes office.

Sorry Scott... I really have to stop reading your blog. It keeps bringing out the... I was going to say "brings out the worst in me"... but it's more like the best. Oh well.


Be good... and "when in Texas"... get out of Texas.

Jason.