What your about to read is something that every Texan should dust off and read every once in a while. We often take for granted what a special place God gave us as a Home and this story will remind and humble us at the same time.
I think as a Texas ex-pat living in New England, I see Texas from a different perspective than those of you still living there. Maybe not being able to go fishing in my beloved East Texas or see for the first time ever the raw beauty and magnificence of Big Bend will do that to a guy. Although I choose to live here, I miss Texas terribly, but she is always in my heart.
God has blessed her, but he has blessed me infinitely more by gracing me with privilege, nay Honor, of being a Texan.
WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A TEXAN by Bum Phillips
Last year, I wrote a small piece about what it means to me to be a Texan. My friends know it means about damned near everything. Anyway, this fella asked me to reprint what I'd wrote and I didn't have it. So I set out to think about rewriting something. I considered writing about all the great things I love about Texas. There are way too many things to list. I can't even begin to do it justice.
Lemme let you in on my short list.
It starts with The Window at Big Bend, which in and of itself is proof of God. It goes to Lake Sam Rayburn where my Grandad taught me more about life than fishin, and enough about fishin to last a lifetime. I can talk about Tyler, and Longview, and Odessa and Cisco, and Abilene and Poteet and every place in between.
Every little part of Texas feels special. Every person who ever flew the Lone Star thinks of Bandera or Victoria or Manor or wherever they call "home" as the best little part of the best state.
So I got to thinkin about it, and here's what I really want to say.
Last year, I talked about all the great places and great heroes who make Texas what it is. I talked about Willie and Waylon and Michael Dell and Michael DeBakey and my Dad and LBJ and Denton Cooley. I talked about everybody that came to mind. It took me sitting here tonight reading this stack of emails and thinkin about where I've been and what I've done since the last time I wrote on this occasion to remind me what it is about Texas that is really great.
You see, this last month or so I finally went to Europe for the first time. I hadn't ever been, and didn't too much want to. But you know all my damned friends are always talking about "the time they went to Europe." So, I finally went. It was a hell of a trip to be sure. All they did when they saw me was say the same thing, before they'd ever met me. "Hey cowboy, we love Texas." I guess the hat tipped em off.
But let me tell you what, they all came up with a smile on their faces. You know why? They knew for damned sure that I was gonna be nice to em. They knew it cause they knew I was from Texas. They knew something that hadn't even hit me. They knew Texans, even though they'd never met one.
That's when it occurred to me. Do you know what is great about Texas? Do you know why when my friend Beverly and I were trekking across country to see 15 baseball games we got sick and had to come home after 8? Do you know whyevery time I cross the border I say, "Lord, please don't let me die in_____"? Do you know why children in Japan can look at a picture of the great State and know exactly what it is about the same time they can tell a rhombus from a trapezoid?
I can tell you that right quick. You.
The samespirit that made 186 men cross that line in the sand in San Antonio damned near 165 years ago is still in you today. Why else would my friend send me William Barrett Travis' plea for help in an email just a week ago, or why would Charles Stanfield ask me to reprint a Texas Independence column from a year ago? What would make my friend Elizabeth say, "I don't know if I can marry a man who doesn't love Texas like I do?" Why in the hell are 1,000 people coming to my house this weekend to celebrate a holiday for what usedto be a nation that is now a state?
Because the spirit that made that nation is the spirit that burned in every person who founded this great place we call Texas, and they passed it on through blood or sweat to everyone of us.
You see, that spirit that made Texas what it is is alive in all of us, even if we can't stand next to a cannon to prove it, and it's our responsibility to keep that fire burning. Every person who ever put a"Native Texan" or an "I wasn't born in Texas but I got here as fast as I could" sticker on his car understands.
Anyone who ever hung a map of Texas on their wall or flew a Lone Star flag on their porch knows what I mean. My Dad's buddy Bill has an old saying. He says that some people were forged of a hotter fire. Well, that's what it is to be Texan. To be forged of a hotter fire. To know that part of Colorado was Texas. That part of New Mexico was Texas. That part of Oklahoma was Texas. Yep. Talk all you want. Part of what you got was what we gave you. To look at a picture of Idaho or Istanbul and say, "what the Hell is that?" when you know that anyone in Idaho or Istanbul who sees a picture of Texas knows damned good and well what it is. It isn't the shape, it isn't the state, it's the state of mind.
You're what makes Texas. The fact that you would take 15 minutes out of your day to read this, because that's what Texas means to you, that's what makes Texas what it is. The fact that when you see the guy in front of you litter you honk and think, "Sonofabitch. Littering on MY highway."
When was the last time you went to a person's house in New York and you saw a big map of New York on their wall? That was never. When did you ever drive through Oklahoma and see their flag waving on four businesses in a row? Can you even tell me what the flag in Louisiana looks like? I damned sure can't. But I bet my ass you can't drive 20 minutes from your house and not see a business that has a big Texas flag as part of its logo. If you haven't done business with someone called AllTex something or Lone Star somebody or other, or Texas such and such, you hadn't lived here for too long.
When you ask a man from New York what he is, he'll say a stockbroker, or an accountant, or an ad exec. When you ask a woman from California what she is, she'll tell you her last name or her major. Hell either of em might say "I'm a republican," or they might be a democrat. When you ask a Texan what they are, before they say, "I'm a Methodist," or "I'm a lawyer," or "I'm a Smith," they tell you they're a Texan.
I got nothin against all those other places, and Lord knows they've probably got some fine folks, but in your gut you know it just like I do, Texas is just a little different.
So tomorrow when you drive down the road and you see a person broken down on the side of the road, stop and help. When you are in a bar in California, buy a Californian a drink and tell him it's for Texas Independence Day. Remind the person in the cube next to you that he wouldn't be here enjoying this if it weren't for Sam Houston, and if he or she doesn't know the story, tell them.
When William Barrettt Travis wrote in 1836 that he would never surrender and he would have Victory or Death, what he was really saying was that he and his men were forged of a hotter fire. They weren't your average everyday men. Well, that is what it means to be a Texan. It meant it then, and that's why it means it today. It means just what all those people North of the Red River accuse us of thinking it means. It means there's no mountain that we can't climb. It means that we can swim the Gulf in the winter. It means that Earl Campbell ran harder and Houston is bigger and Dallas is richer and Alpine is hotter and Stevie Ray was smoother and God vacations in Texas. It means that come Hell or high water, when the chips are down and the Good Lord is watching, we're Texans by damned, and just like in 1836, that counts for something.
So for today at least, when your chance comes around, go out and prove it. It's true because we believe it's true. If you are sitting wondering what the Hell I'm talking about, this ain't for you. But if the first thing you are going to do when the Good Lord calls your number is find the men who sat in that tiny mission in San Antonio and shake their hands, then you're the reason I wrote this night, and this is for you.
So until next time you hear from me, God Bless and Happy Texas Independence Day.
Texas is the damnedest Lady you ever saw - John Wayne.
You've gotta line up rings, tuxes, a wedding gown, bridesmaids' dresses, a caterer, music, a Priest/Minister and most importantly, booze.
Tradition, as I understand it, has the Bride and her chosen co-conspirators helpers doing the heavy lifting on most of these matters.
Sometimes, the Groom takes responsibility for some of the necessary components of the wedding.
This is a bad idea.
A very bad idea.
How the hell is a Guy supposed to deal with shit like this? I mean, his mind is probably a thousand miles away from actually taking part in something of this nature. A Groom's thoughts meander aimlessly from "It would be a great day to go fishing" to "How the fuck am I gonna sober up in time for...for...what was I supposed to be doing today?"
You can see why assigning Necessary Wedding Tasks to a guy who is about to go from a life of drinking beer for breakfast, running around the house in his underwear and scratching his nuts whenever he wants to, to a life of being married and drinking beer for breakfast, running around the house in his underwear and scratching his nuts whenever he wants to, may not be in the best interest of a couple's nuptials going off as planned, no matter how meticulously things have been strategerized for The Big Day.
A Groom-to-be in London had at least one very simple but very important Necessary Wedding Task to perform.
It was his Sole Responsibility to book the venue for the wedding.
Now, this is not the End of the World or even the End of the Meticulously Planned Prim and Proper English Wedding.
While it was certainly a Major Pain in the Ass and presented a Large Logistical Problem, a solution to this dilemma could have been (relatively) easy to come by.
Except for The Bomb Threat!
Yes, Dumbass Horde, rather than face the consequences of his actions like a man, the Groom called in a bomb threat forty-five minutes before the ceremony!
This was not a wise thing to do.
While the British may be known for keeping a Stiff Upper Lip, they are also known for being extremely fond
of protocol and etiquette. And calling in a bomb threat hoax less than hour before your wedding is to take place is, to the British mind, bad form, Old Boy.
A judge in Liverpool agrees. He sentenced the Groom to a year in prison. At this point of the story you would think that all the weirdness would have been put on full display for all to see, wouldn't you?
You'd be wrong.
After doing his time in the British Big House, other than having a poop chute the size of a silver dollar, the Groom's life won't really be that much different than it was before this incident.
The Bride, you know the one left waiting at the altar when the Groom called in the bomb threat hoax, will be waiting for him upon completion of his prison sentence!
You can't live without 'em and you can't shoot 'em.
I have been thinking about the virtues and vices of having neighbors over the last week or so.
I'll tell you why.
There's a lady and her 12 year old son who have lived next door to us for two years. Two years to the day as a matter of fact. They are good neighbors. The lady is very nice, if shy and the boy is a good, respectful kid. My family and I like them a lot. But, today they are moving. It's kind of sad really.
My wife is a great cook and she's forever in the kitchen coming up with something delicious for us and our neighbors.
For example, last summer we had an outstanding little garden in which we grew a ton of mondo, and I mean mondo, zoo-keeny. Heather (Mrs. Fearless Leader), made several batches of zoo-keeny bread and shared it with many, if not all, of the neighbors that live in our building. The Lady and the Kid Next Door were no exception. In return, the lady next door would, on occasion, do something nice for us in return. Just like it should be.
I wish them luck and happiness in their new home. They were good neighbors and we'll miss them.
Having said all that, there's a guy in Stuttgart, Germany that has to be The Best Neighbor in the History of Mankind, or for brevity's sake, TBNITHOM. Even better, let's just call him TBN for The Best Neighbor.
The Best Neighbor Wants a Little Best Neighbor
The Best Neighbor and his wife, a former Supermodel, were trying like crazy to make a baby. I'm sure the guys reading this are thinking....well, I'd rather not write what that bunch of Dumbass perverts is thinking, but I will tell you guys this: It. Gets. Better. Much. Better!
As Fate would have it, TBN was shooting blanks, if you know what I mean and I think you do, and was unable to father a child. I think it's safe to say, however, that he must have had a helluva time trying. But, I digress.
It was then that TBN came up with a plan.
Since The Best Neighbor's Little Swimmers don't make it to the "end of the pool", he came up with what he thought was a brilliant idea. He had a neighbor, whom we'll call "The Guy", who looked enough like TBN to have been his brother.
And The Guy had kids. This means his Little Swimmers were able to finish the race.
Or so everyone thought.
This is where The Idea comes into play. TBN's scheme? Give The Guy $2500 to impregnate TBN's Hotter than a $2 Pistol Sex Bomb of a Wife! Being a good neighbor willing to donate his sperm for a friend by depositing it in the appropriate manner into Mrs. TBN, The Guy took the two point five large and boinked Mrs. TBN. Seventy-two times!
But still no baby.
Something was amiss.
What Was Amiss
It was at this point that The Best Neighbor in the History of Mankind became, shall we say, "irritated"? No, we shall not. "Pissed off" is more like it.
After six dozen times of layin' The Hammer to Mrs. TBN and no with no baby to show for all this horizontal hula-ing, TBN sent The Guy to a doctor to make sure everything was OK with his male ejaculate.
The Guy was sterile, too!
No baby-making Little Swimmers!
And he knew it!
Now this new bit of information brings up quite the dilemma.
Even though The Guy knew that he was infertile at the moment, he took $2500 from TBN knowing that he couldn't produce a kid for the couple and he porked her anyway? Seventy-two times?!
I smell a rat here. But The Rat, also known as The Guy was about to get his comeuppance.
Remember earlier when I said that The Guy had some kids?
It turns out The Guy thought he had some kids!
Mrs. The Guy fessed up that the kids weren't his! He was shootin' blanks back then too!
Ain't that a swift kick in the No Baby Makin' Gazebos?
It ain't over yet, folks.
More Neighborly Love
Feeling that he had been defrauded, The Best Neighbor filed suit against The Guy trying to get back his 25 hundred bucks. TBN's argument is obvious in this case. The Guy argues that he didn't say he could produce a baby, but that he would try to get Mrs. TBN knocked up.
And, boy did he try.
It must have been an awful ordeal to endure. You know, plowing, and getting paid to do it, a woman that looks like Mrs. TBN over seventy times ain't as easy as it would seem.
The poor The Guy.
He'll have to live with the image of bumpin' uglies with a a former Supermodel for the rest of his life!
Oh, yeah and getting twenty-five Big Ones to do it.
Alas, The Best Neighbor in the History of Mankind is still without a child.
And he's out a shit load of cash.
And he willingly let The Guy screw his wife. Seventy-two times.