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?
- 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.
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.