July 8, 2009

Place of Birth

I'm from Texas. It's where I was born and where half of my family lives today. I also spent most of my life elsewhere--in Ohio, in Utah, Washington, DC and nearly a decade in Europe. American identities are generally so fluid but something about Texas is different. Perhaps it seems I spend all my time traveling outside America and focusing on the exotic elsewhere, but for me, Texas is always an adventure. This past week I've been home, catching up with family from Houston to Tyler and trying to stay alive in the 103 degree heat. I had some darn good Tex-Mex, counted about 50 barns painted with the Texas flag and enjoyed the still beauty of the green pin oaks. I even saw a longhorn steer in a scrubby suburban field and on the plane home, I sat next to two card-carrying members of the DaRT (Daughters of the Republic of Texas) who invited me to come help them paint the Alamo next month.

Having just finished a big project on Wales and my Welsh heritage, it was nice to go back to the land of my birth certificate and reconnect with a different side of the self. I don't know how qualified I am to be counted as a Texan--being born there, having a driver's license and voting there off and on is probably not enough--but regardless, I do wave the Texas flag alongside all the others that I love and claim it as one of my homes. I like the kind people there, the open space, the mighty sense of frontier in the midst of frightful post-modern sprawl and that cocksure superiority complex thing they have going on. Could I ever live there again? It's too big to say. I've been snowbound in Amarillo and sunburned in Corpus Christi in the same month of the year--I think that's my answer. Still, no matter where I roam, every border guard and hotel receptionist should see those two great letters--TX--and know what it means. Don't mess . . .

2 comments:

Robby said...

Well said.

Camels & Chocolate said...

I had NO idea you were from Texas! Wow! I love Austin so much I'd think about living there; I've never actually been to Houston.