A Whole Other Country

A friend of mine from graduate school just moved to Texas. She didn't want to, but an offer she couldn't refuse had her packing her stuff and saddling up her horse. She came to visit first and had that thing about Texas that folks often do, you know, that TV thing that expects cowboys and indians and tough lawmen with spurs. Its sort of the same thing a lot of folks have about New York, except that all expect Gotham City.
Anyway, she got here and I felt obliged to teach her how to speak Texan and a few other things. I mean,i f you are going to live here and love it, there are some things you just gotta know. Tequila speak and Mojitos and how to eat a good fajita, and even that it is okay to live in Texas and not eat beef (contrary to popular belief). She absolutely had to know where the Hill Country was and that the Colorado River does not exist here,instead we have water ways where the map says the river is that are called Lake Buchanan (pronounced BUCK-anun), and Lake LBJ and so on. Of course the correct pronunciation of Llano is not yano, but LAH-no, and Burnet is pronounced BURN-it. And don't forget that Manchaca is MAN-shack. Every Texan, naturalized or born here knows these things. We speak when we make eye contact with a stranger, no matter what their ilk. Howdy is just the same as Hello as long as you remember to do it.
And yes, its true, everything is bigger here, hair, jewels (a must) and even the critters. Gotta watch out for those cause spiders aren't so harmless and the sting of a scorpion hurts like the dickens even if most of those that you will encounter aren't poisonous (those live in Arizona). Red touch yellow kill a fellow and honey, make sure you cut a wide path around any spider with a red dot on it. Juneteeth is a big deal, as is Cinco De Mayo and Eeyore's birthday. Texans love a good celebration.
If they tailgate you, that either means they are having a party in a parking lot from the back of a truck before a big football game, or they want to pass you on a two lane highway. If the latter is the case, drive on the shoulder a bit until they pass, then either tip your hat or raise just one finger off the steering wheel as they go by. If someone is driving down ans FM road, that does not mean frequency modulation, but Farm to Market and RM is Ranch to Market. These are titles mostly remnants of days gone by, most certainly these roads took the farmer's and the rancher's young 'uns away to the cities from whence they didn't return, so now a lot of the wide open spaces that make Texas Texas are fast disappearing, being filled in, as they are everywhere else, by strip malls and housing developments. Oh, and remember, Central Market is not the market, but a fancy gourmet store with all kinds of natural stuff and over 200 kinds of cheese. HEB is more of a market(kinda, at least it feels like one), but we don't say HEEB, its initials, like H.E.B. The man'slast name was Butts, for goodness sake, so trust me when I tell you that the initials are far better. As for Albertson's, hell, that's owned by Safeway now and those folks ain't even from here. Yes, its a lot to take in but the good news is, the place grows on you and you will most certainly grow to love it and hate to leave it when you go.


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