I have said that Texas is a state of mind, but I think it is more than that. It is a mystique closely approximating a religion. And this is true to the extent that people either passionately love Texas or passionately hate it and, as in other religions, few people dare to inspect it for fear of losing their bearings in mystery and paradox. Any observations of mine can be quickly cancelled by opinion or counter-observation. But I think there will be little quarrel with my feeling that Texas is one thing. For all its enormous range of space, climate, and physical appearance, and for all the internal squabbles, contentions, and strivings, Texas has a tight cohesiveness perhaps stronger than any other section of America. Rich, poor, Panhandle, Gulf, city, country, Texas is the obsession, the proper study and the passionate possession of all Texans.
I think Steinbeck hit the nail on the head with this one. It’s been awhile since I’ve been back home and my forehead started sweating at the mere thought of it being over 100 degrees before breakfast. Aside from the heat I’ve slowly grown to accept, a part of me will always be in love with the friendly folk that Texas breeds.
I don’t know what did it (maybe it was the hats, the boots, and the country song ringtones), but by the time I boarded my flight my tongue was warmed up and ready to drawl. It didn’t hurt that the old man sitting next to me had a hat, leathery forearms with thick grey hair, faded jeans, and a twinkling smile. Our conversation went something like this:
Me: Y’all goin home? (I swear, it just came out like that)
Mister: Now how do you know we ain’t Las Vegas gamblin natives?
Me: Guess I don’t.
Mister: Hell I’m just kidding. We’re goin home. How’s about you? You goin home or are you one of those Vegas show girls?
Me: You guessed it!
Mister: Now would you like a cigarette?
Me: No, sir. (I say this as I take out my oatmeal)
Mister: Well look at you, you brought dinner. You plannin on sharing that snack, right?
Me: Definitely. Want some oatmeal?
Mister: Shoot, do I look like I eat oatmeal? Hell Ima stick with my whiskey and cigarettes thank you very much.
Doesn’t get much better than that. Texas, I’ve missed you. But now I need to go to bed so that I can get up at 6am and run before it becomes oh so unbearably hot.