So, as my thought process often begins, I was riding along in the car this morning and something came on the radio that got me thinking. Well first of all, let me explain that by “riding along” I really mean sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic in the rain because no one in Dallas can drive when it rains (this is not an opinion but rather a scientifically proven fact).
Anyway, so Three Dog Night came on and as always, being that they are officially on my list of top ten favorites of all time, I sang along with them. "Oh I've never been to heaven; but I've been to Oklahoma. Well they tell me I was born there; but I really don't remember....."
This song has always held a special place in my heart, aside from the aforementioned comment. You see, I WAS in fact born in the state previously referred to as Oklahoma. (Point of clarification on this one though - I was born on an Army Base, so I officially was born on Federal land, NOT the state known to many as Oklahoma.) And as the song goes, thankfully I really don't remember being born there (this is probably why my Mother used to sing this one to me when I was but a wee child).
That's the line that got me thinking this morning. You see, most people would be down right proud, if they even cared at all, to be born in Oklahoma. For example, the majority of my husband's family, well almost ALL of them, are Okies. And if I must admit it, it is a beautiful state, but come on; we all know that “Oklahoma is O.K.”….why be just “O.K” when you can be Texas? (Follow-up point - see, when you're born on Federal land, you get to "choose" your home state....plus, when your family is from Texas and you're a direct descendant of Sam Houston, it's kind of an unwritten rule that you too then, are a Texan. Again, this is another scientific fact, as is the rain to Dallas driving ability ratio.)
So while musing over this point this morning it dawned on me; I've never lived any where else that was anything like Texas. In no other state have I ever run across the same statewide, ingrained pride as you will find in this state. Now hear me out on this one…sure, most states have "a state song", but hell, in Texas we not only have A state song, we have an entire damn song book! Go ahead, take a few minutes and start listing them out in your brain.....see, I'm right.
Most states have one official state license plate. Well not us....we have multiple ones to choose from. I'm not just talking about the special plates, like SPCA or university alumni plates; I mean plates just paying homage to our state. I was able to find six plates alone on my drive in. SIX!
Sure, most states have state pride, but how many other states can you personally toss out a one-line motto or charge for? Walk into any bar, school or train station in Texas and yell "Remember the Alamo" and see what kind of response you get. And if you think we keep this kind of pride contained just within our boarders, trying walking in some place in another state and sing out "The stars at night are big and bright...." Twenty bucks says that someone, other than you, will respond with "clap, clap, clap, clap....deep in the heart, of Texas!"
And why wouldn't we be overly proud? I mean, after all, we are the only state in the Union that is allowed to fly our flag at the same level as the United States of America's flag. Heck, even our state tourism board claims that we are "a whole other country"! Take that California!
Here is how bad I personally wanted to secure my roots firmly in the soil that is my home state. On Mother's Day, 1997, while living in New Jersey (I know, right?), I had the state of Texas tattooed on my body. Truth! Later that year, when I moved back home, I honestly stopped and got out of my car and quite literally, kissed the ground as I crossed over the boarder back into Texas. I was home! Don't get me wrong, I loved living in other places, but as they say, "there's just no place like home."
Look, everyone knows that "everything is bigger in Texas." Sure, we might not officially be the largest in population or land mass, but I'll be damned if we aren't the biggest in state pride! Yeeeeeeehaw! (Feel free to wave your proverbial cowboy hat and stomp that boot here...well, after you dismount from your horse and secure your cattle first, of course.)