This gal was deep in the heart of Texas last week on a spring break. Rather than writing the tired old “What I Did Over My Spring Break” essay, I thought it would be much more educational (and hopefully more interesting) to write about what I learned over my spring break. Americans should BE in the know about the Lone Star State, so my thoughts will be organized by “B” topics.
Unless you grew up under a rock, pretty much everyone knows that the state of Texas is BIG. But just how big is big? Well, Texas is the second most populous state in the United States. Its population is around 27 million or slightly over 8% of the entire population of our country. Texas has three cities with over 1 million people–Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. Texas is also the second largest state in land area, eclipsed only by Alaska. Just entering the state on 1-10 gives a clue as to the enormous size of Texas. A road sign advises that it is 897 miles to El Paso at the other end of the state.
And while driving about Texas in the spring, you are sure to spot the state flower of Texas, the BLUEBONNET. The roadsides and fields are carpeted with this purple beauty. The cars pulled off on the side of the road are not experiencing automotive trouble; their occupants merely stopped for family photoshoots with the bluebonnets as a backdrop. Whew! That meant that the rather large woman sprawled on the ground outside our passing car was simply posing and not experiencing some medical emergency.
Not only will you spy bluebonnets as you drive around Texas, but you will see a specific BUILDING DECORATION on all sorts of structures–houses, barns, sheds, doghouses, etc. The star stands for the one star found on the Texas flag–hence the nickname of “The Lone Star State.” Clearly, the state flag is the only location in Texas where there is merely one star. Looking about gives one reason to believe that an entire galaxy of stars is contained within the state.
Hungry from traveling about the Lone Star State? BARBECUE is a big favorite and available everywhere in Texas. The state is so big that there are even four different style variations–East, Central, South and West. I am not sure what the nuances are, but any version is served with the ubiquitous side of potato salad.
And all that barbecue has to come from somewhere. No worries on filling the restaurant orders. BOVINES abound in Texas. I saw more cows there than any other animal period. It was like the western version of “Old MacDonald Had A Farm.” In the Lone Star State, Old MacDonald has a ranch. And on his ranch he had tons of cows. Here a moo, there a moo, everywhere a moo moo. Texas is the #1 state in the union for cattle with approximately 12 million, almost double the number of cattle in state #2, Nebraska. That’s a lot of BULLS, but the tremendous BOVINE population is no bull!
Speaking of bulls, an angry bull may not be as dangerous as an angry Texan. Wherever you go in the vast state of Texas you had better BEWARE because Texans are big believers in the right to BEAR ARMS. Guns and ammo stores abound and gun shows are huge draws. A March 24th article in the Dallas Morning News reported that the Texas Department of Public Safety is having to hire additional staff to process the flood of applications for licenses to carry a gun. Approximately 136,000 applications were received during the three month period from December through February, more than doubling requests in the previous three month period. They aren’t kidding when they say “Don’t Mess With Texas.”
When dealing with a Texan, angry or not, it would be helpful to be BILINGUAL. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, one out of every five people in Texas speaks Spanish, and nearly one out of three speaks Spanish at home. The prevalence of Spanish speakers in the state is due largely to immigrants from Mexico with whom Texas shares a BORDER.
We are all supposed to remember the Alamo, but there’s more to Texas than that one historical event. One way to remember things is to experience them for yourself. My spring break experiences will help me remember lots of fun facts about the Lone Star State. I saw the Texas bluebonnets decorating the roadsides, heard Spanish spoken, observed the proliferation of BBQ joints and gun stores, and noted the herds of cattle and the stars on the buildings. My Texas trip may have been a pause from the work world, but it was also an education in the real world. I learned about the Lone Star State and had a blast doing it. Yee haw!