I was in Texas a few weeks ago.
Despite what you’ve heard, they actually do let non-Texans into the state. But you need a valid U.S. passport. And a non-Hawaiian birth certificate to prove you were born in a state in the mainland U.S. or Alaska after it was admitted to the Union. And a notarized statement saying you aren’t part of the Jade Helm 15 conspiracy to take over Texas and turn abandon Walmart’s into resistance detention centers. With shackles. OMG…
Some friends warned me not to go. They were afraid some of the “Texas crazy” would rub off on me. I’m already full up with AGMA crazy. I wasn’t worried.
Besides, I used to live in Texas. Sort of.
A long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I went to college in Ft. Worth. Back when it still really lived up to it’s nickname, Cowtown. The massive stockyards were still in operation and honest-to-goodness cowboys walked the streets.
I went to Texas Christian University as a freshman in 1971. Yes, I was a proud Horned Frog. We called ourselves horny toads. Ribbit.
Pittsburgh, PA, where I grew up, is about 1250 miles away from Ft. Worth. But it was more like a million miles away from anything I had experienced. It was like landing on Mars.
“Do not run; we are your friends…”
First of all, people talked with a strange accent and drank Dr. Pepper. Then there were the folks on campus who wore cowboy hats and boots as part of their normal, everyday clothing. Nobody understood my charming Pittsburghese, and they served Mexican food in the cafeteria. And there were lots of girls with big hair who always wore loads of make-up and always dressed up for class.
I fit right in like Bernie Sanders at a Tea Party rally.
But, as often happens when one is cast into the big, wide, alien world from the insulated confines of high school and hometown, like attracted like. I made friends. Good friends. Friends who helped me grow from the awkward 17 year old who had never been on a real date (seriously…) to a confident 19 year old who had become quite the dating expert.
Yeah, you heard me – dating expert.
But I left Ft. Worth and my friends in 1973. Evidently I needed another major dose of culture shock. And, I was sort of running away. I ended up in Tucson, Arizona. But that’s another post…
This trip back was the first time I’d been back to TCU since the 70’s. I was worried. I’d only spent two years there, they were two of the most formative years of my life. Two of the best years of my life. And in some ways, the worst. Years of profound self-discovery. Years of love and loss. Life changing years.
Listening to music from the early 70’s – songs from artists like Carol King, Carly Simon, Seals & Croft, Harry Nilsson – strikes hard at times, deep in my spirit. In a place locked up tight a long time ago. Like skeleton keys, these songs rattle around in the lock. Sometimes they get a little too close to actually engaging the tumblers. Then I turn the song off. No need to stir up old ghosts.
So I was worried that visiting my old stomping grounds might actually break through the lock and release the AGMA Kracken. But it was all good. Walking in the footsteps of my teenage self was a bit surreal, but fun. It was a wonderful trip down memory lane, but the sleeping dogs stayed asleep. Whew.
I came back from Texas no more or less crazy than when I left. My friends are happy. So much has changed there over the past 40+ years, but so much was still the same. I guess I’m much changed over the past four decades as well. But still, in many ways, so much the same.
Mary Hopkins sang back in 1968, “Oh my friend, we’re older but no wiser for in our hearts our dreams are still the same. Those were the days my friend…”
It’s one of the songs I can’t listen to.