This land is my home and like many, I have often left and returned believing that the pastures were greener someplace else. My travels have taken me around the world. Exotic places islands and legendary urban centers, tiny African villages and the broad mountain capped skies of the Rockies and Himalayas. Nothing on earth compares to this place that I was born in and will forever and always call “home.”
Few people actually know me or my story. Many likely don’t care to know it either. But one thing is for sure is that ever time I leave this place I shed a tear or twenty, wondering if it will be the last time that I ever see this place.
My family is buried here and there is nothing more do I want more than for you to plant my ass in Jourdanton, Texas right beside my father, his father and his father before him. But, in the same mind I don’t want that. I know that makes me sound double minded but it is the truth.
I’m not sure that this is the same place that they knew back in their day, or even if they would be just as proud of it now as they were back then. Come to think of it, I would imagine they could wonder the same could be about me?
I will spare you the details for now, but I know in my heart that I am not the man that my father would have wanted me to be, and by far not the man that my grandfather would have imagined me to have grown into.
In my life I have seen the greatness of the world. I’ve sipped coffee with powerful global leaders and survived catastrophic events with the most meager of survivors. On the flip side, I have been locked behind prison walls and left for dead on the streets and abandoned by my own kin.
Many stories and experiences that I would just as soon keep to myself and most often do, partly because I am to blame and partly because the culture of this pompous state encourages the worst in men. I imagine it has always been that way, but I also imagine that it has been a land where a pauper can become a prince.
I don’t remember the first time I left Texas for “real,” but I do remember the feeling just as if it was yesterday because I feel it in my gut every time I leave here.
My heart skips a beat and my palms begin to sweat. I feel a lump swell in my throat and my breathing begins to harden. I have visions of painted sunsets, windmills and the “old pink granite dome.” I feel tears boil deep inside my gut. Nothing that I can really explain. The music of Basil Poledouris from “Lonesome Dove” begins to play softly in my head. I think about my grandmother and about my dad, I think of their parents before them. Leaving this place is never an easy task, at least to me.
No matter the mode of transportation that I am taking I always feel this emptiness and sadness, this longing to be “home” that haunts me every step of the journey, no matter how long it might be.
Then as I relax and cross over into the world, I slowly watch the state fade into the distance, feeling a pride that only a true Texan will ever know. I am a damn Texan and of that I am eternally proud.
Texas is land of unique beauty and staunch ugliness in the new personality that has been raised. It is the only place on earth that Blue Bonnets thrive, and the only state that just the mention of it’s name can strike a conversation and ease deadly tensions. I can even say that the mere mention of this state has saved my ass more than a time or two.
But in the end, no matter where I go or for how long I might have been gone I always make my grand return to Texas! My heart begins to beat so strong I can feel it in my chest. Even on a windy, cold Stratford, Texas winter day I feel the sweat bead on my forehead from excitement. I can see it in the distance for miles away, from no matter which way I come home. A chill goes down my spine and then it happens—something says “Welcome To Texas,” and for me it always seems to say “Welcome Home.”
But then something else happens, I realize that this is not the place that I once held so dear, and that this is not the place that only days before on my trip I spoke so fondly of to friend and stranger.
Texas is a place that has died from the weight of it’s own legendary status. A land once proud and great, now arrogant and snotty in it’s pious youth. Like the legends, great in it’s time, now lying dead in own decaying rot.
But like a lifelong lover, shot dead on the Childress plains and left for dead, I cling to her. I cling to her watching her slowly die, running my fingers through her hair as she takes her last breath of life. Screaming to Heavens, bargaining with God to bring her back yet, knowing its too late to save her.
This is how I see this place. This place that I will always hold dear even if only in my own mind.