Tag Archives: Texas

LBJ on a donkey

When I came back to Texas in 1978, I wasn’t surprised to find that most of the inhabitants were natives. Born here. Never lived anywhere else. Didn’t want to, either.

Things had changed a lot since my very youthful sojourn in Dallas and they have continued to, but, really, not fundamentally. Unless you look through Erica Grieder’s historical lens:

“Think about Texas’s historical baseline compared to that of the United States; project a mental image of the Jazz Age in New York and then contemplate the fact that around that time LBJ was riding to school on a donkey. And things are improving in Texas, more or less across the board.”

The population certainly has ballooned since LBJ’s donkey days in the Hill Country town of Johnson City (named for his ranching grandfather) and, for that matter, since 1978. The traffic in most Texas cities (including onetime [1978] buccolic Austin) is horrendous. And what used to be the pretty rural stretch of highway between Austin and Waco is now pretty much wall-to-wall commerce, including some unsightly junkyards.

Howsomever, Texas still is a nice place to live, work and play. And, as Greider, who formerly covered Gov. Rick Perry for The Economist and now writes for Texas Monthly, shows in her new book the Texas haters could learn a thing or two from us. Not that we can expect them to, of course. Some things are just too much to hope for. But no big whoop. It’s their loss.

Freezing this morning

First freeze of the year for us out there at the moment, which will probably blacken the nice green elephant ears in the rancho’s front flower bed.

But this is mild (only 30 degrees) compared to the one that walloped Tulia, Texas this morning back in 1899. Forty thousand cattle dying overnight? Yipes.

The thing about boy scouts…

…is that it gradually induces honorable behavior, even if it takes the better part of a lifetime.

Thus it did not surprise me when Mr. Boy returned from his latest camping trip—to a beautiful, watered ranch in the hills near Driftwood—and his stint as patrol grubmaster, with a bunch of squishy, black bananas, two of the four apples he took, and an unopened bag of baby carrots.

Gone were the hamburgers, hot dogs, and pancake mix. And, curiously, the two cucumbers. And, of course, the two boxes of Pop Tarts, the whole squeeze bottle of grape jelly and the other bottle of maple syrup. Strange that the peanut butter had not been opened, nor the loaf of sliced bread unwrapped.

The bananas, carrots, apples and cucumbers were cynically included in the menu by the grubmaster to meet a nutrition requirement for his Second Class badge. So it’s no surprise that most of it came back, uneaten. I do wonder about those cucumbers, though.

Texas and Israel, a lot alike

These wildflowers on the Golan Heights this time of year remind me how much alike the Texas hill country and Israel are, because we’re approximately on the same latitude and our climates are similar. Our wildflowers also are coming out all over, and although it’s getting steadily warmer, an occasional cold front  still blows through every now and then.

The Golan’s wind was icy on March 29, when we spent the night up there in a Moshav’s (religious community’s) B&B. The overhead lights in my unit quit late in the evening, but the room heaters kept working. Thankfully.

It was like the Davis Mountains of West Texas, except that the Golan is a three thousand feet higher in elevation than the rest of Israel. The Davis Mountains, which are suffering wild fires this spring due to our severe drought, are between five and six thousand feet above sea level.

So What Are People Saying Over There?

“That’s the question my father often asks me on our way home from the airport in Texas. ‘So what do people think about what’s going on…..about Prime Minister Netanyahu…..about the revolution in Egypt?'”

Humor with bite from Benji Lovitt in Jerusalem.

My friend, Snoopy-the-Goon, for one, says many Israelis have given up on the idea of peace ever happening. Even though his own backyard bomb shelter is full of junk and its door rusted open, the hinges unyielding to WD-40.

Texas and Israel: two Lone Stars

And, in addition to the similarity of their national (oops, make that state and national) flags, Texas has plenty of business relations with the Jewish State—especially when it comes to drilling for natural gas in the Eastern Mediterranean that may replace Israel’s dependence on a now-uncertain Egypt.

Colder than a Dallas woman’s heart

We have a thin covering of ice and snow at the rancho where it’s 22 degrees F.