Should a Texas shaped skillet fill me with joy? Or maybe chili pepper and star muffin pans? I don’t know. All I know is, they do. I feel my heart swell up a little at the Lone Star on a truck bumper. I am a Texan, and I will always be a Texan.
I was privileged enough to have been born here. I can’t imagine claiming Rhode Island or Nebraska as my home state. Not that there’s anything wrong with those states. They just happen to not be Texas.
There’s something about the long stretches of freeway, buildings followed by pine tree after pine tree, melting into long quiet stretches of scrubby hills and brush. Green. Texas stays green. The occasional spark of orange or deep violet wildflower breaks through. I once broke into tears at the sight of bluebonnets.
Don’t even get me started on the food. Thick glass plates holding chicken fried steak, corn on the cob and a mound of mashed potatoes buried in gravy, with a giant sweating glass of iced tea, or a platter of chili-soaked cheese enchiladas with a bowl of deep red smoky salsa on the side. Texas manages to own not only Tex-Mex, but Southern cooking as well.
What I miss the most is being with my people. Texans are a breed. We are fiercely proud of our state. We, for the most part, are deeply patriotic but there is an unspoken understanding that our allegiance to our state goes deeper than our allegiance to our nation. We know Texas history. We remember the Alamo, not as a losing battle but as a heroic victory over fear and retreat.
We, as Texans are not particularly cowed by cultural shift. We have always eaten animals, and we will keep eating animals. We wear our boots and we wear them confidently. We drive our trucks proudly and efficiently right over the former Vice President’s ecological concerns, because they are big and they are tough, and they can do all the things we want our vehicles to do. We believe there is a God, and He is the Big Boss. When Texans break Commandments, they do so with an impending sense of doom, because they know He knows.
I live in a different state now. I like having seasons. I like smaller mosquitoes. I live here, and I love my house and my friends. Still, there is a continual sense of missing a vital part of who I am. I am a Texan.