Opinion > Star Staff
The Big Chunk or Ours is Bigger
By Ken Byler
My bride and I were born in a Texas town that was barely a speck on the map. As kids, neither of us dreamed we'd ever gondola the canals of Venice, visit the German countryside from a boat on the Rhine or wander the corridors of the Louvre. But we did and no matter where we traveled, we have always been as proud of being Texans as we are of being Americans.
Texas is different. First claimed by Spain but dominated by Comanche, then populated by squatters that the Emperor of Mexico couldn't rule or run out. The history of Texas is part of the history of Mexico. But Texas is the big chunk that became an independent nation.
Texas is the Alamo.... A 187 men facing insurmountable odds...each having a chance to walk away but choosing instead to stand and fight; knowing they were going to die.
There's El Paso named for a pass and San Antonio named for a saint. There's Austin, named for Stephen Austin, Houston named for Sam Houston and Dallas named for... come to think of it, nobody knows.
It's the birthplace of chili and Texas has its own cuisine called Tex-Mex food which is mostly palette pleasing potions involving lard, jalapenos and Velveeta.
Any Texan that can throw a 90 mile-an-hour fast ball or break tackles will get some hot links named after them. There's no fangs on Texans but they do have fangers. Some talk in a phonetic-based language whereby sirens become sigh-reens and Palestine is pal-less-steen.
Archeology could just as well be knowing all about folks from Arkansas as a Phd. can mean post-hole digger.
Everything's big in Texas. The capitol dome in Austin is taller than the one in Washington D.C. We award trophies to the tallest midgets and with state education spending per student ranked near the bottom, nothing says Texas like a $60 million football stadium for a single high school's five "home" games.
Texas has a distant relationship with the south. Sometimes it's in it and sometimes it's not. Winning the Civil War left the northern gentry feeling superior to those in the south. Nowhere does that gall the populace more than in Texas.
The Dallas, Texas of my youth was Neiman Marcus, Miss Hockaday's School for Girls, Turtle Creek, Robert E. Lee Park, Fair Park, Titches, Sangers, The Carousel Club and Candy Barr, Dewey Grooms' Longhorn Ballroom, Deep Ellum and the Flying Red Horse atop the Magnolia Building.
Texas is viewed as a land of heathens on the cusp of modernity by a lot of the Yankee glitterati. And there are those smart-alecky Californians always inquiring as to whether any of the other trailers in the park were damaged by the fire when the governor's mansion burned.
It's a mystery why the folks in New York and California seem so pleased with themselves for creating the two most expensive places in America to live. Some folks spend up to six hours a day going to and from work leaving them little time to live the life of Jersey shore Snookis or Beverly Hills Kardashians.
Now, because of the Texas economy, the Yankee glitterati and those smart-alecky Californians are flocking to Texas in droves. I'm hoping they read the signs... Don't Mess With Texas.
Dallas is still Neiman Marcus, Miss Hockaday's School for Girls, Turtle Creek, Robert E. Lee Park, Deep Ellum plus the Winspear, the Wyly, the Perot Museum and the Nasher Sculpture Garden. But Dallas is also now so cultured "The Flea Market at Southside" on Lamar Street is a juried event.
And finally, I'm not gonna say any more about the $60 million football stadium other than I'm not sure it's "what the community wanted", as has been stated. The 68 percent margin it passed by was in truth only 1,642 voters in a city with 45,000 eligible voters.
But like any true Texan ... there'll come a time when I'll be bragging about it.
Ken Byler is an author, artist and Star Newspapers columnist. Reach him at email@example.com
Copyright © 2013 - Star Local News