Every summer, I complain about the heat in Texas. (Summer, heck. I start in May and gripe about it until October.) This, and my grumpy attitude toward certain Texas attitudes, may give you the impression that I don't love my native state. But I do. It seems to me, as I'm sweltering in the August heat, this seems like a good time to list of a few things I do love about Texas:
1) Spring wildflowers. We don't have a very pretty autumn here (though the weather is usually really nice in October, our leaves don't turn here--well, they just turn brown and fall to the ground). But springtime in Texas means wildflowers. They are everywhere. Open fields of them, the highways are lined with them--yellow and red and blue. By far my favorites are the bluebonnets.
2) Kolaches. This is a pastry that the Czechoslovakian immigrants brought with them. There are kolaches (ko-lah-cheez) in the rest of the world, but I doubt there's nothing like a good, doughy Texas kolache. Certainly nowhere else do drivers plan their routes around where to buy them. There are fruit ones and sausage ones, but really, the classic cream cheese will always be my favorite.
3) Shiner Beer. Made just up the road from where I used to live. If you go up to Oklahoma, they call this an import.
4) Lyle Lovett.
5) The Texas Turnaround. I don't really love these. It just amuses me that it originated in Texas. And considering how often I overshoot and have to get myself going the other way on a highway, I do actually get a lot of use out of these.
6) Stonehenge II. World's most famous stone circle in two thirds scale. I could not make this stuff up.
7) Dublin Dr. Pepper. Not Dublin, Ireland, but Dublin Texas. They make their DP with real cane sugar according the original recipe.
8) Bats. We had lots of bats out on the ranch. (They also lived in the rafters of the theater where I worked, appropriately enough.) These things eat a ton of mosquitoes. And they're kind of cute, in a terrifically ugly sort of way.
9) Austin. The blue speck in the center of the red state. Great music, great arts scene, a bit of counterculture thrown in for good measure... Here, the bizarre excesses of the state take a cool turn, less bubba, and more hipster. And I'm headed down there next weekend!
10) The people. I know we have a bad reputation. But we're not all obnoxious and bombastic blowhards. There's some genuinely cool people in this state, but we tend to get overlooked, because the asshats and weird stuff make better news stories and punchlines.
SO, there's my reminder to myself why I put up with Texas when I'm so physically miserable three months out of the year!
Fess up. What are the quirky, iconoclastic, or unique things you love about where YOU live?