Yup. I’m back in Texas for a visit and it has not changed a bit – Thank the Lord! Standing in line at the grocery store behind two middle-aged women dripping in diamonds, leather, and hairspray, my heart swelled with pride. I am home. After seeing these two, I was overcome with the desire to rush home, tease up my hair and put on more mascara – and my cowboy boots, of course. Texas to the bone, they looked like models in a Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo catalog – albeit one for the more “mature” and plus-sized Texas gals. Wide leather belts encrusted with chunky turquoise and rhinestones wrapped around their overflowing bellies and the latest Lucchese boots were worn proudly on their feet – and it is nowhere near rodeo season! Both sported bleached-blond hair, piled up high and sprayed into submission, and more makeup than I had worn in the past two months – all at once. Pushing two carts filled to the top with boxed wine and Sara Lee coffee cakes, I overheard them coo to the check out clerk, while addressing him as ‘darlin’ and ‘sugar’, that all of these goodies were for their office Thanskgiving party. I have no idea what kind of business they were in, but I would have given my eye teeth to go to that party!
There was a time when I would have rolled my eyes at such a display of ostentatiousness, but no more. After traveling the world, I have come to appreciate how unique and wonderful Texas is, and view this ‘Texas-ness’ as legitimate culture, not merely an oddity of geography. I’ve found It is even harder to shake the pull of Texas than it is to get rid of my accent, try as I have to do both.
Yes, Texas is a very special place. What we lack in refinement, we more than make up for in live-out-loud enthusiasm and genuine friendliness. I dare anyone to move here and keep to themselves. Within an hour of your arrival, someone will show up on your doorstep with a pound cake and a long list of questions. The typical Texas woman will know your life story in about ten minutes. In contrast, after living on London for three years, I could not pick my neighbors out of a line-up! We lived in two different apartments during our time there, both were five story buildings with three or four apartments per floor. In both cases, I actually laid eyes on only one of my neighbors, and only one time in each building. The apartments were occupied, as evidenced by the trash in the hallway and noise from within each flat, but the only time I saw an actual human being was when I was moving out. The British are the most polite people you will ever meet, and funny as hell, but not the ‘let’s have lunch’ kind of friendly that you find in Texas. The friends I made in London were overwhelmingly American and predominantly Texan – and what a fun group of ladies they were! We met every Wednesday for “Wine Time” at a different pub each week. Our hen party could be heard long before we were seen, and so we naturally cleared more than one pub with our cackling – but that is a another blog…
Being back in Texas for the holidays means taking in all of those things that make this place so unique: small town antique stores and barbecue joints, holiday markets filled with more rhinestone-covered clothing than should be legal, and country music on nearly every radio channel. Heck, stopping at Buc-ees on a road trip through the Texas Hill Country is something everyone should experience at least once in their life. Sure, there are wonderful road-side convenience stops in many places. The UK has huge, clean, service stops along the highways, complete with mini versions of my favorites, like Starbucks and Marks & Spencer. But only at Buc-ees can you pull up to no less than forty gas pumps and even more toilet stalls – plus they have Beaver Nuggets! And Buc-ees has an entire department-store-sized section of merchandise featuring that crazy little beaver on their logo saying things like:
“Eat here, get gas.”
“My overbite is sexy”
And my personal favorite, “Restrooms you gotta pee to believe.”
There is just something about the wide open spaces here in Texas that makes me smile, and every place takes credit cards – a huge plus after my all-cash dealings in Luanda. Unfortunately, the convenience of ready credit and merchandise-a-plenty, means I’ve been shopping like it’s 1999. So sorry, hubby! Can’t help muh-self…
Of course, more than anything being back in Texas means the chance to reconnect with treasured family and friends. Our Thanksgiving pies will taste extra sweet this year, after being so far away. We may have traveled the world, but Texas has always been in our hearts. So let’s break open an extra-special box of wine while we give thanks for our many blessings, and fry up our Texas-sized turkeys to golden deliciousness!
Happy Thanksgiving, Y’all!!
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