Photo by crowt59
Howdy from Houston! You might not believe this but I've never said howdy before and always wanted to.
So for those of you who are not in the know, today is the official start of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. What is the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo you ask? In a nutshell, it is a Texavaganza of Cowboy hat-toting, barbecued-rib eating, calf-roping, bull-riding, country music playing, cook-off, pie-off, boot stomping, line-dancing fest of all things Western the likes of which, y'all have never seen UNLESS, you've been to the Houston Rodeo. Really, for the next 20 days this city will be breathing and wallowing in the essence of those things that define this one-time republic, as the GREAT. STATE. OF TEXAS.
On Friday, my son's school hosted a toddler rodeo parade. I wish I could show you some photos of the event but because of privacy reasons, you'll just have to imagine that you can see the cute little cowboys and cowgirls with their fake horsies and mini-lassos parading for their proud parents. R__ pulled a cardboard wagon, and when his teachers would prompt him to shout yee-haw! he would do so on cue while he whipped pretend horses. Keeping true to Texas-style, it was just a bit too much but then, that is what made the parade so fun.
Afterwards, parents and children all gathered around a fake camp fire and sang songs while a singing cowboy taught us to yodel as he imparted the kind of yodel-related wisdom which you can apply to anything in life - If you're gonna yodel, you can't be shy 'bout it. By the end of the sing-a-thon, I no longer was and my son and I yodeled till we belly-laughed. Guess yodeling is good for a whole lot of other things too.
Four years ago, as I lay exhausted after birthing R__, a man came to conduct the legalities of bringing a child into this world. After my husband and I had told him the name we'd chosen for our first-born he smiled, and in a heavy southern accent he said, Congratulations! You've got yourselves a bona-fide Texan. I remember my husband and I exchanging glances. It was, I'm sure, the very first time either one of us had faced the fact that because I had given birth in Texas, our kid would forever be defined as a native of this place. There was nothing wrong with this realization, it was just that with our own particular geographic and cultural legacies, Texas would have been about the last place we could have imagined having a baby in, a relative Timbuktu to the countries we ourselves had been born in. An unexpected but not unwelcome addition to the mosaic of our international backgrounds.
What being Texan might mean for my son in his future, I still don't know. He sure looked mighty cute though in his little cowboy outfit. He looked... like a little man. Maybe it was my fond eye but I even thought the kid kind of swaggered a bit. Texas men invariably swagger. Someday, when he's grown up, I hope that when someone asks him where he's from he'll mention his cultural heritage and then, proudly state that he was born in the state of Texas of the good ol' US of A. There are lots of good people here, men and women who are open in their thinking and generous in their Souther-ness, well-mannered and kind. If you think about it, who wouldn't want these Texas defined traits as legacies for their child? My husband and I remain transplants to this city which is our current home but perhaps our son, will grow to be a part of what is deep in the heart of Texas.
Photo by crowt59