I got back from an overnight trip to Texas this afternoon. I would have done a "Greetings From" blog but I forgot my work laptop and don't like to travel with my personal laptop.
A friend moved to Texas a couple of weeks ago so we met for dinner. She is reeling from the following "You-know-you're-in-Texas-when" moments:
- You have to bite your tongue when you introduce yourself to your neighbor and learn his name is Forrest.
- Several people remark "You're not from here are you?"
- You stop by Lowes and discover the spray paint cans are on open shelves, not locked in cages.
- You're constantly startled to find people actually say "y'all".
- You realize you've accidentally purchased a house in a "dry" county. Bummer!
- You hear a radio commercial claiming Babe's makes "a pee-can pie so good you'll wanna slap your mama!"
On our way to get some delicious Texas BBQ, a car pulled up beside ours blaring music. I commented "You know you're in Texas when you hear that." Instead of the typical loud hip-hop or rap the kids tend to blast in California, the Texan youngster blasted country music. My friend's husband shouted from the back seat "No way! Roll down the window, are you sure?!" I was right, that kid was blasting some contmeporary country ballad-y sounding thing. Now that's weird! I had to resist the urge to roll down the window, lean out and say "Aww! You're so cute!" I resisted because I happen to know it's legal to pack heat in Texas. I can, however, tell you I much prefer the country intrusion to the rap.
Something else I noticed, while flying out of Dallas/Fort Worth, was the number of uniformed soldiers on board the flights. I finally asked a colleague about it. He explained that DFW is a hub for many soldiers coming from and going on to active duty. I must admit it made me feel somewhat safer with a half dozen soldiers on board. They were a bit loud, and that normally would have annoyed me but I figured they had earned the right to be a little chatty.
When we landed in LA I waited for my colleague at the gate and noticed a young mother, with two small children along with an older man wielding a video camera, clearly waiting for someone to disembark. I didn't think much of it until a soldier step off and was jumped by what must have been his daughter. The scene really broke my heart. On one hand it was heart warming to see a young family obviously back together again after a long separation. On the other hand, I almost broke down thinking about how little time they would have together. Was he off on leave? Where had he been? What had he seen? Would he be going back? Would he be ok? Off to the side stood another young soldier. The reunited soldier quietly asked his family if they had room for the other soldier. They said "yes" and off they went. I couldn't help but think "Sheesh, you'd think the least we could do would be to get a soldier all the way home or to a hotel until family could get to them." It's all so sad. No matter what you think of the war, seeing such young soldiers in desert fatigues really gets to you.
I hope that second soldier has made his home by now.