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Texas, My Texas This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     It was 110 degrees and I had my sunroof open, windows down and air conditioner on as high as it would go. My face and legs were damp with perspiration but I was not about to close those windows, not on such a beautiful day. I was lost in thought, glancing occasionally at the cows and horses in the pastures that lined the highway. Suddenly my attention was jerked back to the road as dreaded blue and red lights began to flash in my rearview mirror.

I was pulled over, again. I was pulled over by a cop in a cowboy hat with a drawl so severe I could hardly understand him. This is what I love about Texas, and what I’ll miss. I have spent much of senior year very restless. Being from a small town, I was sick of the same people, same places, same nothing to do on Saturday nights, and same little mold into which the whole town was expected to fit. When the time came, I decided to play basketball at a college in California. I took a weekend to visit the campus and instantly fell in love with the place. The weather was beautiful, the beach was only four miles away, there were endless things to do and the people were laid back, yet so different. I didn’t want to leave at the end of the weekend. As soon as I signed my national letter of intent, I got senioritis. School wasn’t important to me and I longed for weekends in Fort Worth where life wasn’t quite so small-town.

One night as I lay in bed listening to a country station, I began to think about what it was going to be like not living in Texas. I had always been glad to be from Texas, and although I was restless, I would not have wanted to be from anywhere else. I glanced at the Texas flag and cowboy hat from a hoedown freshman year and realized what an impact this state has had on me. I love being from a place where people are proud of hard labor, cowboys and farming. I will miss the football stadium every Friday night filled with screaming fans and referees who can’t help but hear obscene comments every time they make a call against the home team. I’ll miss sold-out basketball games in the winter and praying our team will go to state; when they make it, the whole town turns out for a parade in their honor. Then there are the baseball games in scorching heat in cutoffs and t-shirts, with hot dogs and peanuts, and fans getting just as excited about a base hit as a home run. Texas is where every game is the most important, every fan is the one the team hears, and every team is the most important thing in town.

Texans are proud of their culture and roots. High society makes fun of cowboys and blue-collar jobs while sitting in corner offices sipping Fiji water and wearing Gucci suits. Sure we do hard labor, that’s why our bodies are leaner. But we also enjoy sitting on the front porch and drinkin’ sweet tea while someone works and we watch. Cowboy hats have to be taken off in homeroom since it is a hard to see the chalkboard over those ten-gallon things.

Texans have an edge, an air of power and confidence that doesn’t come with fancy cars, big homes or name brands but instead from summer nights in the back of a pickup, sno-cones on wooden benches, jet skiing every Fourth of July before the fireworks over the lake. It is greeting a new neighbor with an apple pie or peach cobbler. It is Sunday evenings spent on grassy front yards making ice cream. It is learning to drive in fields and on country roads, and then wrecking that pick-up that almost half the population owns.

What I have come to understand is, if you can’t be from Texas, say you are. Everyone knows Texas, loves Texas and those who can’t have it, envy it. I will enjoy a new experience in a new place for this time in my life, but I will be back. They say home is where the heart is. Well, my heart is in Texas.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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