Sunday, March 02, 2008

Texas Independence Day

March 2, 1836 marked the signing of Texas Declaration of Independence from Mexico. This year it happens to fall during Go Texan Week here in Houston so I thought I’d take a few moments on the subject. Friday all the trail riders made their way into town from all over Texas and even as far away as New Mexico. Yesterday was the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Parade through downtown, today I wore my Texas “goin’ to church” tie that Lucy gave me and had a friend take my picture prior to going to my meetings. I picked the wrong shirt to wear and couldn’t button the neck or it would strangle me so I left it open; probably Texas pride made the neck swell just a mite.

I wrote on the idea of being Texan before and you just don’t see folks sportin’ their State of Ohio tie; perhaps a Buckeye tie in support of their team, just not the same. We have fans for the University of Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and any other great school here in Texas; but that’s different than the natural pride of being a Texan.

I’ll give you an example; right now I’m finishing off some spaghetti left over from last night’s date; Lucy and I went to a place called Zios, on I-45 across from Tom Peacock Nissan where I’d made keys for that 1984 Cutlass earlier. I didn’t want to take a chance on getting any red sauce on my Texas tie so it’s tucked carefully inside the seam of my white shirt which makes no sense. Most folks would cover the white shirt and consider the tie secondarily; but they would be from some place like Hawaii and probably could care less about the shirt or the tie.

Now I know some folks up in Colorado aren’t too keen on Texans. I heard one of them ask if I knew the difference between a dead skunk in the road and a dead Texan in the road. “There’d be skid marks in front of where the skunk was hit.” No, I don’ think he thought too highly of Texas; just envious I’m sure.

Then there was an old Texan went to the local church and asked to join. The preachersaid, “OK, but you have to pass a small Bible test first.”

The first Question is, “Where was Jesus born?” The man answered, “Longview.”

The preacher said, “ can’t join our church.”

Soooooo....he went to another church and asked to join. The preacher said, “We would love to have you, but you have to pass a Bible test first. Where was Jesus born?” The man said. “Tyler.” The preacher said, “ can’t join our church.”

Soooo....he goes to another church and asks, to join.

The preacher said, “That’s great; we welcome you with open arms.”

The man said, “I don't have to pass no Bible test first?” The preacher said, “No.”

The man said, “Can I ask you a question?”

The preacher said, “Sure.”

The man said, “Where was Jesus born ?”

The preacher said, “Palestine.”

The man mumbled to himself, “I knew it was in East Texas somewhere.”

I got an email from my friend Richard Sutton listing various points of interest regarding Texas which I’ll use to finish off my thoughts. There’s a line in there, you’ll see it again a little further down that sums it up. “In every man, woman and child on this planet, there is a person who wishes just once he could be a real live Texan and get up on a horse or ride off in a pickup.”

Have you ever looked at a map of the world?

Look at Texas with me just for a second. That picture, with the Panhandle and the Gulf Coast, and the Red River and the Rio Grande is as much a part of you as anything ever will be.. As soon as anyone anywhere in the world looks at it they know what it is. It's Texas.

Pick any kid off the street in Japan and draw him a picture of Texas in the dirt and he'll know what it is. What happens if I show you a picture of any other state? You might get it maybe after a second or two, but who else would? And even if you do, does it ever stir any feelings in you?

In every man, woman and child on this planet, there is a person who wishes just once he could be a real live Texan and get up on a horse or ride off in a pickup.

There is some little bit of Texas in everyone.

Did you ever hear anyone in a bar go, " you're from Iowa? Cool, tell me about it"? Do you know why? Because there's no place like Texas.

Texas is the Alamo. Texas is 183 men standing in a church, facing thousands of Mexican nationals, fighting for freedom, who had the chance to walk out and save themselves, but stayed instead to fight and die for the cause of freedom. We send our kids to schools named William B. Travis and James Bowie and Crockett and do you know why? Because those men saw a line in the sand and they decided to cross it and be heroes. John Wayne paid to do the movie himself. That is the Spirit of Texas.

Texas is Sam Houston capturing Santa Ana at San Jacinto.

Texas is huge forests of Piney Woods like the Davy Crockett National Forest.

Texas is breathtaking mountains in the Big Bend.

Texas is the unparalleled beauty of bluebonnet fields in the Texas Hill Country.

Texas is the beautiful, warm beaches of the Gulf Coast of South Texas.

Texas is the shiny skyscrapers in Houston and Dallas.

Texas is world record bass from places like Lake Fork.Texas is Mexican food like nowhere else, not even Mexico.

Texas is the Fort Worth Stockyards, Bass Hall, the Ballpark in Arlington and the Astrodome.

Texas is larger-than- life legends like Michael DeBakey, Denton Cooley, Willie Nelson, Buddy Holly, Waylon Jennings, Janis Joplin, Kris Kristofferson, Tom Landry, Darrell Royal, Joe Davis, Eric Dickerson, Earl Campbell, Nolan Ryan, Sam Rayburn, George H.W.Bush, Lyndon B.Johnson, George W. Bush.

Texas is great companies like Dell Computer, Texas Instruments, Compaq, Lockheed Martin Areospace, Home of the F-16 Jet Fighter and the JSF Fighter.

Texas is NASA.

Texas is huge herds of cattle and miles of crops.

Texas is skies blackened with doves, and fields full of deer.

Texas is a place where towns and cities shut down to watch the local High School Football game on Friday nights and for the Cowboys on Monday Night Football, and for the night in Old San Antonio River Parade in San Antonio.

Texas is ocean beaches, deserts, lakes and rivers, mountains and prairies, and modern cities.

If it isn't in Texas, you probably don't need it.

Texas even has its own power grid!

No one does anything bigger or better than it's done in Texas.

Our state capitol building is the only one in the country that is taller than the capitol building in Washington, D.C. and we can divide our state into five states at any time if we wanted to! We included these things as part of the deal when we came on. That's the best part, right there.

By federal law, Texas is the only state in the U.S. that can fly its flag at the same height as the U.S. flag. Think about that for a second. You fly the Stars and Stripes at 20 feet in Maryland, California, or Maine and your state flag, whatever it is, goes at 17 feet. You fly the Stars and Stripes in front of Pine Tree High in Longview or anyplace else at 20 feet, the Lone Star flies at the same height - 20 feet. Do you know why?

Because Texas is the only state that was a republic before it became a state.

Y’all have a good day and figure out a way git here. As my friend Stan Ellis would say, “Any time you wake up in Texas it’s a great day.”

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