Wednesday, March 4, 2009

My Texas Passport Might Be Revoked

I've been delinquent! I know. In my first week as a full-time employee at the marketing agency I ate three square meals a day at my desk, plus second dinner around 1 or 2am before finally going home. Funny that they waited until I was no longer on hourly pay before asking me to keep speed-tweaker-lawyer's hours. The following week I didn't have energy for anything but re-runs of "My Super Sweet Sixteen," and that was just because I didn't have the mental wherewithal to press "guide" and see what else was on.

THEN, last weekend we went to upstate New York for my future-step-sister-in-law's baby shower, which was lovely, if not overly hyphenated. We just happened to have booked our return flight to coincide with the worst storm of the year, resulting in one canceled flight and several other delayed ones before we finally were back in Austin and drooling on our pillows. That's my way of making excuses for abandoning the blog for a little while.

Sadly, while we were up in yankee territory, I seriously set myself back in terms of Texas enculturation. I missed Texas Independence Day.

Ha! Texas Independence Day, that can't possible be a big deal, right? I mean, is it even a real thing, or is it made up, like Arbor Day? If you don't know anything else about Texas, you should know that Texas is very excited about... Texas. And Texas is very into the fact that for nearly a decade it was its own independent republic. So, in fact, March 2 -- the day Texas declared independence from Mexico -- is like a high holy day here. State employees have the day off. People throw parties and play hold 'em. There are chili cook-offs and period costumes. For. Reals.

Texans' pride in the unique culture and lore of their state is endlessly fascinating to me; I don't think the same type of allegiance exists in any other state.

In my research before moving here, I read "Kinky Friedman's Guide to Texas Etiquette - or - How to Get to Heaven or Hell Without Going Through Dallas-Fort Worth." Kinky is a country musician/politician/writer/cowboy and, most importantly, a Texan. He is kind of like a modern-day Mark Twain, if Mark Twain were Jewish and BFFs with Willie Nelson. Anyway, his book was full of useful information such as "things you would never hear a real Texan say" -- for example, "Duct tape won't fix that" or "You can't feed that to the dog." (Mike pointed out that real Texans also probably wouldn't say, "I just read this book on Texas etiquette..." Meh.)

I learned a lot of valuable information from this book, including the meaning of the "Yellow Rose of Texas." The final battle of the Texas Revolution against Mexico was the Battle of San Jacinto -- a last stand between the Mexican army led by Santa Anna and the Texican army led by Sam Houston. It seems Santa Anna had a penchant for lovely mulatto ladies (bow chicka bow bow!). Sam Houston supposedly sent a hottie virgin slave named Emily Morgan to distract Santa Anna with her feminine wiles while the Texican Army psyched themselves up to attack. The battle forced the Mexicans to retreat and gave Texas its freedom. Since Ms. Morgan traded her flower for Texas' independence, she's forever known as "The Yellow Rose of Texas." Turns out the best way to defeat your enemy is sometimes with his own... bayonette.

Of course I'm not in favor of pimping out ladies for any reason, but I do think it's an interesting story. Way racier than gardening, which is what I thought the phrase referred to. Anyway, happy belated Texas Independence Day, y'all!

3 comments:

Jr said...

Do they really just call it "hold 'em," without the "Texas?"

Becky L said...

I've heard people say it both ways here. Now I'm wondering about all kinds of location-based things... like if you want French bread in France do you just ask for bread? Hm.

Jr said...

I wondered that while in Paris. Do you order French onion soup? Do you just order onion soup? Unfortunately, we forgot to order it either way. =P