You’ve seen it before — the letter saying toodle-oo to the red states, as the blue states muster the courage to let them go. Somebody passed it along, I forwarded it to a few people I thought hadn’t seen it.
A discussion broke out. Part of the discussion centered on Texas’s second secession from the U.S., and how nasty things can be in Texas (“It’s not the heat and humidity; it’s the hate and stupidity”).
A couple of exchanges in, I started to wince. God knows Texas has its problems. I haven’t even started in on the latest three months of lunacy at the State Board of Education where Creationist-in-Chief Don McLeroy is loosening his belt to drop his pants (figuratively, of course) and moon every kid in Texas before he eviscerates science education.
But — you know? — Texas has a couple of things going for it, reasons to smile while you’re stuck here.
Below the fold, the “So long, Red States” letter — but before that, a modest defense of Texas, as I wrote back:
I do regret that [y’all have] had such a difficult and unhappy time in Texas. Texas is far from my ideal place, especially for the weather and lack of mountains (I appear to be losing the retirement fight – I wanted Jackson Hole, Kathryn wants Kanab. Red rock wins with the family.)
And Yellowstone is a part of my soul, especially after we (probably illegally) scattered my brother’s ashes there in the last great family reunion before this past summer.
But, you know, Texas has some fine points that shouldn’t get overlooked. Especially, it doesn’t deserve to get every redneck.
Here are some of the great things about Texas:
- Big Bend National Park
- Dallas Symphony, and Jaap Van Zweden (the premiere of “August 4, 1964” last month was fantastic; Van Zweden has a magic wand instead of a baton); and the Meyerson Symphony Center, which is a vastly superior hall in my mind to Carnegie, Avery Fisher, or anything at the Kennedy Center.
- Dallas Museum of Art (King Tut is back!)
- Dinosaur Valley State Park (and the other 100 or so state parks)
- San Antonio
- Houston Museum of Natural Science
- Kimbell Art Museum (the building itself is something to see – designed by Louis I Kahn)
- Bluebonnets; Lady Bird’s Wildflower Center (and all other Texas wildflowers)
- Dogwood Canyon
- Texas barbecue (no, it’s not like all the others; and most of the joy is in the journey to find it)
- LBJ Library
- Johnson Space Center
- John Henry Faulk
- San Marcos River
- Swimming holes along the (Texas) Colorado River
- DFW Airport (for access to the U.S., Canada and Mexico)
- Ann Richards
- Molly Ivins
- Monarch butterfly migration
- Birds and bird watching
- Pat Green
- Lyle Lovett
- Jerry Jeff Walker
- Tejano and Conjunto
- The Texas Observer
- It’s the origin of Walter Cronkite, Bob Schieffer, Jim Lehrer, and lots of others
- A dozen other things I’m forgetting for the moment
It’s been a rather miserable 21 years in Texas for us, for a lot of reasons. There are good things and good people in Texas. It ain’t all gloomy.
Wildflowers not only do blossom where they grow: They must blossom there.
(More humor below the fold.)