This is the time of year when I hate living in Texas. Hate! Hate! HATE!!! This abhorrence of my home state is usually brought on by the heat, but certain other things factor in. Such as the beginning of the average Texans' yearly fascination with the sport of football, and the fact that my children (actually this year, it's down to one child) leave me to go back to college. But mostly what makes me feel this way is the unrelenting August heat and the knowledge that I will most likely have to wait until sometime in mid-November before I can wear any sweaters or real fall clothing. Nothing like pulling out a sundress or shorts to wear for our annual pumpkin carving party to make one feel that autumn is really here. So, I have to remind myself why I still live here. It's harder this year because we've had record heat lately. Today was a 'cool' day. It only hit around 102 instead of 108. And when you've been without significant rain for as long as we have, you start to think stupid things like, "Damn those yankees in Vermont! That should have been OUR rain and OUR flood." Like I said, the heat does things to your brain. I mean, look at Rick Perry. He's decided to run for President.*
So, I've decided to make up a list of reasons why I do love Texas. I think I've got 10. If not, add some of your reasons and I'll decide if they are good enough to add to my list. Please note that these are in no particular order. All things are equal more or less in this list.
1. Mexican food. Enchiladas of all sorts. Tacos. Fajitas. Salsa. Guacamole. Tamales. Yes other places have Mexican food, but it's just not the same as good old Tex-Mex.
2. Margaritas. Need I say more?
3. The water towers in the pine trees outside of Bastrop. As one drives back to Houston along Hwy. 71 east of Bastrop, there are several water towers that rise up above the tops of the pine trees in the hills. What makes them special? The fact that they have smiley faces painted on them so that they look like large friendly alien robots. Makes me smile every time I'm on that road.
4. Austin. I love Austin. Specifically Burnet Road with its assorted junk, resale, and antique stores; South Congress with its mix of shops and restaurants which feel like the best small town Main Street ever; the Hyde Park area which is where I'd live (I think) if I lived in Austin, preferably within walking distance of Hyde Park Grill and Mom's Cafe; and the fact that several of my favorite people live there, including my two wonderful daughters.
5. The Commune, aka my neighbors (and a former neighbor). I mean, what would I do without the Commune? If I need to borrow a chocolate fountain, or need a really good salad or the ever sinfully delicious Sin Dip, or a variety of other things, what would I do without the Commune? They need me too for sugar cookies, a place to hang out and drink, and a few other things as well.
6. All my other friends. Y'all know who you are.
7. Rockport, Texas. Home of my mom, my sister Julia, my brother-in-law Steve, my niece Ashley, and a whole lot of other nice people. There's nothing like zipping down to Rockport in my little car and driving over the Copano Bay bridge, then turning off onto Fulton Beach Road towards my mom's little yellow house.
8. The Bay Window and The Bay Window Home. The two best stores in Texas. Both owned by my sister Julia (see above) who has the best eye for cute stuff and the best people working for her. Go. Now. Shop. I've NEVER bought anything back from either of those stores that people didn't ask me where I got it. NEVER.
9. Round Top Antiques Week. Twice a year in and around the Round Top area. I go every year with my friend Janet for a day trip and we have the best time. We've been going to Warrenton, but this autumn, we plan on checking out the Marburger Farms Show.
10. Smithville, Texas. Smithville is a very small little town on the way to Austin on 71 from Houston. I love Smithville because it's downtown area is pretty much antique shops that have extremely reasonably priced goods. For example, I got two of the end tables in my den there and they were extremely good deals. If you like the whole shabby chic look, Smithville is worth a stop. I keep thinking I need to just do a day trip there one of these days as I feel I haven't explored its full potential.
And wow, there's 10 reasons. I did it and I could probably figure out a few more. But I'll leave that to you. The heat is stifling and going to stay that way for a while. Share why you stay.
*An apology to any of you who love Rick Perry, but I just couldn't resist. It's the heat. And the fact that I'm one of those damn liberal Democrats.