Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Texas

I am generally against all things Texas, however after spending the last several weeks in places where the sun and blue skies are more endangered than a dinosaur in a meteor shower. It was nice today to step off the plane and see the deep blue sky and a nice yellow fireball in the sky. Bonus material was the heat. No jackets needed, in fact the jeans I am wearing are too much for the spring time Texas sun.

Having never been to the Austin airport, I was surprised by a couple of things. First was the live music coming from not one, but two bars on the concourse. Now I can't say they were star material or that I will ever hear them on the radio, but it gave the terminal a different vibe that is the departure from the norm in airport terminals. I have heard that Austin is the new music mecca of the western hemisphere and to be frank that may be true because in the Memphis airport you surely don't hear Elvis or a dyed in the wool blues man strumming a six string or moaning into an open mic.

Another item in the win column for Texas is the speed limit on the highway. Not the interstate mind you, but the state freeway. It lists on the GPS as 70 but the road sign says 80. And yeah, I had to see it again just to be sure I wasn't seeing things that would earn me the disputed point of a johnny flat foot in a wide brim hat.

But for the moment let's stick with the airport for another minute. Austin in general has an LA feel to it and I don't mean the LA of the swamp people either. The people you see are friendly enough, but they are dressed to impress someone I'm just not sure who. Not one cowboy hat or boots did my eyes run across. Which, given the weather I shouldn't be surprised. But as I am now in the land of boots, belt buckles and wide brimmed hats, I'm just a little let down by the lack of the stereotype. 

I spent a long weekend here this past January and the impression I had then was the same one I have now. It's a town that is filled with opportunities and optimism. In fact, it reeks with elation and advocacy of the re-born. I'm not just saying that either it really gives off the vibe of heightened expectation of walking into fame and fortune.

But mostly it's about the heat and blue skies its been a long winter. Not real cold, but it's way past time for it to heat up and the gray and dreary sky to clear out and let the beads of summertime fun take its place.

But I digress about the music. Memphis and Nashville have always been the king of the mountain at least my view of musical wonderlands. Sure, there's NY and even LA but the land of Elvis and The Grand Ole Opry have always been synonymous with Booker T, Eddie Floyd and Isaac Hayes. Or Mel Tills, Merle Haggard, Kenny and Dolly just to name a few.

But now I guess my thoughts about musical empires will have to include Austin as well.

Any who, this part of Texas is a lot like the rest of this western part of the state. The ground is flat and barren of any great rise in elevation unless you're on an airplane. It's also a shade of brown I would normally associate with winter, but the brown grass is due to the lack of rain so it's hard to hold that against it. In the summer time the heat will bleed you dry of moisture, unless the humidity is up, in which case no amount of deodorant is going to save you from feeling like you just stepped out of a shower and then donned your clothing sans a good and proper toweling off. Buts it the Lone Star state and everything here is bigger and better or so the advertisement goes. 

On the roadways the landscape is dotted with large pickup trucks and speedy two seater roadsters made for cruising with bullets. There is a sense here like no other that the American spirit and liberties are an almost tangible entity. If I had to pick a state where I thought our forefathers would at least have a passing familiarity of what they intended it would have to be here.

But don't get me wrong Texas like a lot of places in the south is home to past indiscretions the state would just as soon not acknowledge existed at all. And current lackluster standings that tarnish this state as well. They also house some of our nations most deep seated principles. Guns and religion right at the top of the list.

What I do like about this part of Texas is mostly its not Dallas. And that is a good thing. I wouldn't just openly admit this to anyone but if pressed I will happily tell you to just put a large fence around the whole state and then give it back to Mexico. 

But that is disingenuous. Actually, if the panhandle of Texas and Dallas were converted into a large piece of glass or made into a free fire zone for zombies then I would be OK with it. Really, I do harbor a serious disdain for both parts of Texas.

Probably the best things to come out of Texas are my niece, nephew and my divorce. It's an eclectic list, but it's my blog and my list so piss off. And I didn't list my brother because thankfully he was transplanted.


Texas is bigger than most places, but as far as I'm concerned it will never rival that of my beloved South Dakota.