Nancy's Travelblogue

... there isn't a train I wouldn't take, no matter where it's going. -- Edna St. Vincent Millay

Location: California, United States

Saturday, April 02, 2005


What comes to mind when you think of Texas? I think of LBJ, George W. Bush, Halliburton, the Alamo, oil wells, the two ton truck, the longhorn cow, all fairly negative. Good symbols too – Willie Nelson, bluebonnets in springtime, good music and thunder storms.

My two sons get credit for all my experience with Texas. Both attended University of Texas, Austin, undergraduate and graduate. Otherwise I would not have set foot in this interesting and diverse state. I relived the college experience during my visits to Texas and have good associations of coffee on cold days, cold beer on hot days and barbeque accompanied by good company and good college conversation. They are both moving on to other things so a chapter of my life, as well as theirs, is coming to a close.

The Texas Monthly 2005 put out an special issue on Texas symbols – perhaps heavier on the nostalgia than reality, and some rather obscure. Here they are, please add symbols that are meaningful to you, or refute the ones mentioned here:

  • Horned toad – Three species living in Texas
  • Water tower – A marker on the horizon of any small Texas town
  • Tumbleweed – You know it all from the song. Currently regarded as a pest.
  • Collins Purse – A fashion statement in the 60s, designed by Medina, TX designer Enid Collins.
  • Frito – You know what this is, but did you know the first frito hit the frying pan in 1932, thanks to San Antonio native Elmer Dolin?
  • Icehouse – Pretty important in the pre-refrigeration days in rural Texas, until the early 1940s.
  • Bowie Knife – It’s namesake, Jim Bowie was born in the 1790s in Texas, but raised on a plantation in Louisiana. The first knife was made for him by his brother in the 1820s, and frequently copied by Texas knifemakers.
  • Mesquite – Banned in Texas!
  • Texas two-step (dance)
  • Marfa lights - something like UFO’s spotted on the west Texas plains
  • Flash flood – needs no explaining.
  • Rig count – Texas oil people take this seriously, as a barometer of health of the drilling business.
  • Windmill
  • Grand champion steer
  • Forty-two – Domino game popular in Texas
  • Dust storm – This happens in west Texas!
  • Fire ant – a strange mating habit that occurs more than 500 feet above ground
  • Tar ball – Over on the eastshore/Gulf of Mexico. You can imagine where the tar comes from!
  • Farm to Market road – All over the sstate
  • Tract house – Who ever thought this is a Texas phenomenon? Tracts with houses started in Houston and Dallas in the very later 1970s.