Are you on vacation? I hope so. I hope your current (or future) vacation is full of sun, fun, water, wine, interesting culture and new food.
I, myself, am in Texas helping out my mom as she recovers from surgery. It is July. It is hot. Incidentally, July is pronounced JU-ly in Texan…as in we don’t go up to the high school in JU-ly. We say, “the high school,” because normally there is only one in town. It may have 50,000 students with five satellite campuses and a football stadium that inspired Jerry Jones to build his own, but normally one high school.
I love it here. I’m proud to call myself a Texan. When I was younger, I poo-pooed all over being a Texan. Couldn’t wait to get out of this backwards dry spot and live somewhere, “cool.”
I mean, I got over myself and made a pretty good, “adult life,” in Texas. I even convinced my heat-hating Midwestern boyfriend (now husband) to move here and life here for us was good and sweaty.
Then we moved to the Northeast.
I like it there too.
But there’s no place like home.
Mother’s asleep (Vicodin) and I’m out on the porch. It’s windy, in that oven-hot, whoosh-y way it blows out of the south. Roofers are taking a well-deserved siesta under a neighbor’s shade tree across the street, feet propped up on a big red cooler, straw hats over their eyes. An anole lizard puffs out his rosy throat, looking for love from the back of the wicker chair closest to mine. Maybe he’s telling me this is his porch and I’m trespassing.
Who knows. I don’t speak lizard. Not very well, anyway.
Thanks to a rainy spring and early summer, the crackling, brown cover of this part of the world has yet to take over. We have soft, green grass in the yard and bright, pretty flowers in the beds and the pots. The Africanized bees and the wasps are not as angry as they could be and the fire ants can still find what they need underground. Watch for mosquitos carrying Zika and West Nile and you can sit outside quite a while before finding yourself devoured.
Outside of the cities, the life is quieter, the speech is slower, the BBQ tastes better and the radio sounds fantastic.
I’m not sure I ever remember actually seeing a gun rack in the back of a pick-up, but most people have a few guns. It’s not scary. They also grow roses and tomatoes, make wine and put up peppers.
When I was a little girl and visiting my grandmother in the country, we’d sit on the back stairs and hull peas and shuck corn. I took that time for granted. I’d give anything to only have to worry about getting through all those paper sacks of peas and corn before I could run off and play with my summer friends. You don’t have to travel to India to find your Zen. Just hull a bazillion peas on a sultry East Texas morning. You’ll find your center sure enough.
In spite of the caricature of the dumb, redneck Texan, education is highly valued, as well as having fine manners and loving your neighbor.
Just like the rest of America.
Now, I’m proud in Pennsylvania. We have Tastykake! Among other wonderful delicacies (oh, the french fries), sights and sounds.
What’s in your state?