Last month Sharon and I celebrated our birthdays. This month we celebrate (not really, more like remember) another significant event in our lives. It was thirty-two years ago that we moved to Texas. It was actually the second time we had moved to the state. The first time was in January of 1972. We both transferred to the same college in West Texas but we were not married or even dating at the time. However, we did not stay, living in both Kentucky and Colorado after college. It was in November of 1979 that we moved to Texas for what appears to be a permanent stay.
I was not a stranger to Texas at the time. Obviously I don’t remember it, but I was actually born in Texas and we moved to Colorado when I was just two years old. Every year we made a trip to visit relatives so I was comfortable with the Lone Star State. Having spent most of my adulthood here, I have learned there are some advantages and disadvantages to living in this place.
- The greatest people in the world. I have not been to every place in the world but I know that Texas people are the kindest, friendliest people that I have ever been around. This is especially true when you get out in the country and small towns. Driving down the highway in West Texas, most people wave at oncoming vehicles, even complete strangers. Even in the big cities, Texas people are very cordial.
- Abundance of room. Most people in Texas have yards and the houses are larger than in many other places, especially in the cities. I have been to Boston, Chicago, and New York and seen how people stack up and live on top of one another. Texas is not close to running out of space. There are places where you can drive for miles and see very little evidence of other human beings. In fact, in south Texas there are entire counties that don’t have enough residents to populate a small town. In the Texas panhandle where we lived for thirteen years, our school district, which covered hundreds of square miles, only had about seventy-five students total.
- Beautiful sunsets. I suspect the same is true with sunrises but I seldom get up in time to notice. Sunsets are especially magnificent in the wide open spaces where there are no buildings or trees to block the horizon.
- Good economy. I don’t know all of the reasons (I’m not an economist) but it seems that many of the economic problems that plague the rest of the nation are not as severe in Texas. You can still purchase a nice house at a decent price.
- The state legislature is only in session every other year. This limits the amount of time they have to screw things up, although they do work hard at it.
- Dallas Cowboys! I came to my distaste for the Cowboys while living in Colorado. To be honest, it is not so much a dislike for the team as it is for the fact that they have so many obnoxious fans. “America’s Team!” Really? The problem is that so many folks here actually believe that.
- Dearth of scenery. Perhaps it is not a fair comparison since the other two states I have lived in are Colorado and Kentucky, but there is very little natural beauty in this state. There are a few spots where you might get a quick glimpse of something magnificent if the sun is just right, but nothing like the majestic Rocky Mountains or the rolling hills and fall foliage. There are actually people who claim that the wide open spaces with nothing to see are beautiful – imagine that.
- Lack of anything for tourists to do. When out of state visitors come for a visit, once they have been to Six Flags and Dealey Plaza where Kennedy was shot, that pretty much covers the major tourist attractions. If you like country music then you can always go to Billy Bob’s.
I have lived in Texas for more than half my life. There is not another place I want to be at this point. Every place has advantages and disadvantages and I am comfortable with the ones here. I have had an overabundance of memorable experiences in Texas, most of them very good memories. I certainly don’t plan to spend another thirty-two years here, but no matter how long God allows, I do feel home on the range.