Sunday, January 30, 2011

Proud to be a Born-again Texan

I haven’t told my wife yet, but I’m thinking about buying a horse. Either that or a couple of pigs. You can eat pigs.

It’s all part of my new “Born-again Texan” attitude that came upon me minutes after buying a cowboy hat, which I did a couple of days after watching “True Grit.” I haven’t gotten up the nerve to wear the hat in public yet – like to Wal Mart – but I reckon one day I will. For now, I just wear it around the house.

Wearing a hat is a personal decision that can’t be made lightly. The moment you put one on, you subliminally broadcast your beliefs, your morals, your standards, and your politics. Up until recently, I’ve chosen not to wear a hat because I have no beliefs, morals, standards, or politics, but now that I have a hat – nonetheless a cowboy hat – I’m pert near obligated to find some.

I was born in Ft. Worth and grew up just east of there. For a short time, I wore a cowboy hat in high school. It was one of those straw kinds with a fancy feather hatband. I didn’t wear it long because I didn’t figure myself the Texan type. I was more urban than rural. I didn’t say “fixin’” or “y’all.” Country music didn’t set my toes a’ tapping. Because of that, I was the “black sheep” of the family.

ME: “Hey, what are you guys doing this weekend?”

COUSIN: “You guys? What’s up with this ‘you guys’ business? You too good to say ‘y’all’ like you were raised to? You ain’t any better than the rest of us, never were, never will be, and just because you say ‘you guys,’ that will never hide the fact you’re Texan, just like us.”

ME: “So, does that mean you guys are busy?”

I’m not sure why I shunned our “Texas ways.” Maybe it was because I grew up in the city; maybe it was because I dreamed of living in the mountains; maybe it was because grass grows really good in Texas and I hated mowing it. I don’t know, but I did, and there’s nothing I can do to change the past.

Like all young boys, I eventually grew up, went to college, got a job, got married, spent some time in Europe, came back to Texas, got another job, had kids, bought some goats and a John Deere riding lawnmower, and eventually settled into an East Texas life that hasn’t been too bad. In fact, it’s been so good that I’m now starting to think about owning some cows or chickens, going to a rodeo, buying a chuckwagon and cooking sourdough biscuits over a campfire.

Not only that, but the other day I actually caught myself whistling “I’m an Old Cowhand” in the middle of Hastings.

Anyways, I haven’t let my wife in on my total “Born-again Texan” plan, because I have no idea how she’ll react when I come home with a horse (or pigs). I think I’ll work into it gradually. First the hat, then some boots, maybe a belt buckle. I think a saddle would be a bit obvious, so maybe a bandana or a bolo tie.

Maybe it would be best to test the waters by bringing home a llama.

No! I know what I need to do – I’ll start using the word “fixin’” every chance I get, and reference The Alamo whenever she’s getting the best of me in an argument.

WIFE: “Don’t you lie to these people. You might have been born in Ft. Worth, but that’s it. Your folks ran off and took you to Dallas, whereas I lived my whole life in Ft. Worth, the greatest cowtown that Texas has ever seen. And since that in itself makes me a much truer Texan than you’ll ever be, I’m obligated to say that I think this little ‘Born-again Texan’ attitude of yours is just downright silly. My mother warned me about you Dallas boys. But I’m stickin’ with you through thick or thin, no matter how thick you get.”

ME: “Watch out, woman. I’m fixin’ to remember the Alamo!”

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