Sunday, March 2, 2014

FIFTY-NINE MEN



FIFTY-NINE MEN

Today, we celebrate Texas Independence Day!  If you’re not celebrating, I ask, why not?  Why is it that our public school system here in Texas no longer celebrates the day that TEXAS became a Nation, that’s right, the free, sovereign, independent Republic of Texas!  Some may argue that is no longer relevant or state that they don’t want to offend anyone.  Well guess what people, you live in the State of Texas and only spending a day or so talking about Texas Independence in a public school and only when you’re in 7th or 8th grade ain’t gunna cut it!  No matter how you got here or where you came from, you’re in Texas now!  Why does that matter?

Well, One-Hundred and Seventy-Eight years ago today, March 2, 1836, the Convention of 1836 at Washington on the Brazos convened and Fifty-Nine men, delegates representing their portion of the soon to be sovereign nation of Texas, inked their names to The Texas Declaration of Independence.  On March 6, 1836, the Alamo fell and all the Texian defenders were slaughtered at the hand of Santa Anna and his forces.

Only Thirty-Five days later on April 26, 1836, General Sam Houston led the Texian Army on a bold attack on Santa Anna’s forces, in broad daylight, with the battle cry “Remember the Alamo” and “Remember Goliad” and defeated them, soundly, in only eighteen minutes—you read that right 18 MINUTES. 

These men, of Texas lore, who were inspired and guided by the hand of Providence to establish a land of freedom and opportunity, free from the oppressive reign of the Mexican government—what became of them?

Let me tell you about a few of them:

Sam Houston:  Led the victorious attack against Santa Anna at the battle of San Jacinto, he was shot in the ankle and had 2 horses shot out from under him sometime during that eighteen minutes.  He later served as the President of the Republic of Texas, not once, but twice.  He also served in the congress of the Republic from 1839 to 1840.  After Texas joined the United States of America in 1845, he served as a Senator from Texas in the congress of the United States of America.  But he wasn’t finished there and later served as Governor of Texas.

Thomas J. Rusk:  Thomas J. Rusk was married around 1827 and went on the settle in the Nacogdoches area where he was instrumental in organizing a company of stalwarts to aid in the battles for Texas Independence and was later elected as a delegate to the Convention of 1836.  After Texas became a state he served along side Sam Houston as a Senator in the Congress of the United States of America where, for a brief period he served as President Pro Tem of the U.S. Senate.  Upon his wife’s death, he was inconsolable and took his own life on July 29, 1857.

Richard Ellis:  Richard Ellis was born in Virginia, later moved to Alabama and like many others made to Texas as fast as he could. He was chosen as one of five delegates from Pecan Point to attend the convention of 1836 where he was unanimously elected president of the convention.  He owned a large plantation on his land great of one League and on Labor or 4,428.4 acres in, what is now, Bowie County, Texas. It seems that Richard Ellis died an untimely, sudden death. Richard Ellis died in Bowie County in 1846, at the age of sixty-five. An obituary printed in the Clarksville Northern Standard reports "Judge Ellis came to his death suddenly by his clothes taking fire."

Lorenzo de Zavala: Lorenzo de Zavala, a Mexican citizen, was active in Politics in Mexico and was even imprisoned there for three years for his advocating of Democratic Reforms, while Mexico was under Spanish rule.  After Mexico gained independence he was appointed as Mexican minister to France by President Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna.  When Santa Anna began to reveal his true colors, de Zavala moved his family to Texas to Buffalo Bayou, across from what would become the battle ground of the battle of San Jacinto.  De Zavala represented Harrisburg at the convention of 1836.  He was elected as Vice President of the interim government of the Republic of Texas.  He resigned shortly thereafter and died on November 15, 1836.  De Zavala county was formed in 1858 and was named in his honor.

Jose Antonio Navarro:  Jose Antonio Navarro was born of Spanish heritage in San Antonio—a true Native Texan.  He later became friends when Stephen F. Austin.  With Texas then under Mexican rule, Navarro was elected to the legislature of the state of Coahuila and Texas, and later to the Mexican Congress in Mexico City.  He was one of three Mexicans that signed the Texas Declaration of Independence.  Later, as a proponent for Texas Statehood, Navarro was elected to represent Bexar as the sole Hispanic member of the convention of 1845.  He later served two terms in the State Legislature.  He died on January 13, 1871.  Navarro County was established in his honor.

Of the Fifty-Nine Men that signed the Texas Declaration of Independence, I have only covered five.  But as you can see these were ordinary men—they were Texans, and that means they weren’t afraid to take a stand in the defense of Freedom and Liberty.

I hope all Texans, even those who are living “abroad” outside of the great State of Texas, will take a few minutes to bow your head and thank God that men like these Fifty-Nine and countless others existed and devoted their lives to the cause of freedom and the Republic of Texas.  I hope we all will remain vigilant and remain active in our oversight of those we elect to represent us on the local, State and National levels.  Work to elect strong, principled leaders that will fight for the cause of liberty and that will shun the hint of tyranny and corruption. Above all, remember that you are TEXAN and Texans are “forged of a hotter fire.”  If you still don’t’ know what that means, please read William Barrett Travis’ plea for aid from the Alamo and one of my favorite articles from Bum Phillips.  AND, if you know a Texan that doesn’t know the story of the Alamo, or the Battle of San Jacinto, or the Goliad Massacre, then tell them the story! 
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TEXAS!



Sources: 







Commendancy of The Alamo
Bejar, Feby. 24th, 1836

To the People of Texas & All Americans in the world --

Fellow Citizens and compatriots -- 

I am besieged by a thousand or more of the Mexicans under Santa Anna - I have sustained a continual Bombardment & cannonade for 24 hours & have not lost a man - The enemy has demanded a surrender at discretion, otherwise, the garrison are to be put to the sword, if the fort is taken - I have answered the demand with a cannon shot, & our flag still waves proudly from the walls - I shall never surrender or retreat. Then, I call on you in the name of Liberty, of patriotism & everything dear to the American character, to come to our aid, with all dispatch - The enemy is receiving reinforcements daily & will no doubt increase to three or four thousand in four or five days. If this call is neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible & die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor & that of his country - 

Victory or Death
 
William Barret Travis
Lt. Col. Comdt. 




HAPPY BIRTHDAY, TEXAS -- FROM BUM PHILLIPS

Being Texan by Bum Phillips

Dear Friends,

Last year, I wrote a small piece about what it means to me to be a Texan. My friends know it means about damned near everything. Anyway, this fella asked me to reprint what I'd wrote and I didn't have it. So I set out to think about rewriting something. I considered writing about all the great things I love about Texas. There are way too many things to list. I can't even begin to do it justice. Lemme let you in on my short list.

It starts with The Window at Big Bend, which in and of itself is proof of God. It goes to Lake Sam Rayburn where my Granddad taught me more about life than fishin, and enough about fishin to last a lifetime. I can talk about Tyler, and Longview, and Odessa and Cisco, and Abilene and Poteet and every place in between. Every little part of Texas feels special. Every person who ever flew over the Lone Star thinks of Bandera or Victoria or Manor or wherever they call "home" as the best little part of the best state.

So I got to thinkin about it, and here's what I really want to say. Last year, I talked about all the great places and great heroes who make Texas what it is. I talked about Willie and Waylon and Michael Dell and Michael DeBakey and my Dad and LBJ and Denton Cooley. I talked about everybody that came to mind. It took me sitting here tonight reading this stack of emails and thinkin' about where I've been and what I've done since the last time I wrote on this occasion to remind me what it is about Texas that is really great.

You see, this last month or so I finally went to Europe for the first time. I hadn't ever been, and didn't too much want to. But you know all my damned friends are always talking about "the time they went to Europe." So, I finally went. It was a hell of a trip to be sure. All they did when they saw me was say the same thing, before they'd ever met me. "Hey cowboy, we love Texas." I guess the hat tipped em off. But let me tell you what, they all came up with a smile on their faces. You know why? They knew for damned sure that I was gonna be nice to em. They knew it cause they knew I was from Texas. They knew something that hadn't even hit me. They knew Texans, even though they'd never met one.

That's when it occurred to me. Do you know what is great about Texas? Do you know why when my friend Beverly and I were trekking across country to see 15 baseball games we got sick and had to come home after 8? Do you know why every time I cross the border I say, "Lord, please don't let me die in _____"?

Do you know why children in Japan can look at a picture of the great State and know exactly what it is about the same time they can tell a rhombus from a trapezoid? I can tell you that right quick. You. The same spirit that made 186 men cross that line in the sand in San Antonio damned near 165 years ago is still in you today. Why else would my friend send me William Barrett Travis' plea for help in an email just a week ago, or why would Charles Stenciled ask me to reprint a Texas Independence column from a year ago?

What would make my friend Elizabeth say, "I don't know if I can marry a man who doesn't love Texas like I do?" Why in the hell are 1,000 people coming to my house this weekend to celebrate a holiday for what used to be a nation that is now a state? Because the spirit that made that nation is the spirit that burned in every person who founded this great place we call Texas, and they passed it on through blood or sweat to every one of us.

You see, that spirit that made Texas what it is, is alive in all of us, even if we can't stand next to a cannon to prove it, and it's our responsibility to keep that fire burning. Every person who ever put a "Native Texan" or an "I wasn't born in Texas but I got here as fast as I could" sticker on his car understands. Anyone who ever hung a map of Texas on their wall or flew a Lone Star flag on their porch knows what I mean.

My Dad's buddy Bill has an old saying. He says that some people were forged of a hotter fire. Well, that's what it is to be Texan. To be forged of a hotter fire.

To know that part of Colorado was Texas. That part of New Mexico was Texas. That part of Oklahoma was Texas. Yep. Talk all you want. Part of what you got was what we gave you. To look at a picture of Idaho or Istanbul and say, "what the Hell is that?" when you know that anyone in Idaho or Istanbul who sees a picture of Texas knows damned good and well what it is. It isn't the shape, it isn't the state, it's the state of mind. You're what makes Texas.

The fact that you would take 15 minutes out of your day to read this, because that's what Texas means to you, that's what makes Texas what it is. The fact that when you see the guy in front of you litter you honk and think, "Sonofabitch. Littering on MY highway."

When was the last time you went to a person's house in New York and you saw a big map of New York on their wall? That was never. When did you ever drive through Oklahoma and see their flag waving on four businesses in a row? Can you even tell me what the flag in Louisiana looks like? I damned sure can't.

But I bet my ass you can't drive 20 minutes from your house and not see a business that has a big Texas flag as part of its logo. If you haven't done business with someone called All Tex something or Lone Star somebody or other, or Texas such and such, you hadn't lived here for too long.

When you ask a man from New York what he is, he'll say a stockbroker, or an accountant, or an ad exec. When you ask a woman from California what she is, she'll tell you her last name or her major. Hell either of em might say "I'm a republican," or they might be a democrat. When you ask a Texan what they are, before they say, "I'm a Methodist," or "I'm a lawyer," or "I'm a Smith," they tell you they're a Texan. I got nothin' against all those other places, and Lord knows they've probably got some fine folks, but in your gut you know it just like I do, Texas is just a little different.

So tomorrow when you drive down the road and you see a person broken down on the side of the road, stop and help. When you are in a bar in California, buy a Californian a drink and tell him it's for Texas Independence Day. Remind the person in the cube next to you that he wouldn't be here enjoying this if it weren't for Sam Houston, and if he or she doesn't know the story, tell them.

When William Barrett Travis wrote in 1836 that he would never surrender and he would have Victory or Death, what he was really saying was that he and his men were forged of a hotter fire. They weren't your average every day men.

Well, that is what it means to be a Texan. It meant it then, and that's why it means it today. It means just what all those people North of the Red River accuse us of thinking it means. It means there's no mountain that we can't climb. It means that we can swim the Gulf in the winter. It means that Earl Campbell ran harder and Houston is bigger and Dallas is richer and Alpine is hotter and Stevie Ray was smoother and God vacations in Texas.

It means that come Hell or high water, when the chips are down and the Good Lord is watching, we're Texans by damned, and just like in 1836, that counts for something. So for today at least, when your chance comes around, go out and prove it. It's true because we believe it's true. If you are sitting wondering what the Hell I'm talking about, this ain't for you.

But if the first thing you are going to do when the Good Lord calls your number is find the men who sat in that tiny mission in San Antonio and shake their hands, then you're the reason I wrote this tonight, and this is for you. So until next time you hear from me, God Bless and Happy Texas Independence Day.

May you be poor in misfortune, rich in blessings, slow to make enemies and quick to make friends. But, rich or poor, quick or slow, may you know nothing but happiness from this day forward.

Regards From Texas

Friday, February 14, 2014

Sleep Walking Dreams

So, Cael fell asleep watching the olympics last night (again, I mean this kid really doesn't love the olympics), I woke him up and asked him to go get ready for bed. He barely made it upstairs without falling over, then reappeared downstairs bleary-eyed a few minutes later. I asked him what he was doing, and reminded him that I'd asked him to get ready for bed. He had no idea where he was, or what he was doing but headed back up to get ready. When we all went upstairs about 15 minutes later he was curled up on his bed fully clothed on top of his blankets. Shane and I took his shoes, socks and jeans off and tucked him in. We said prayers at his bed and went to sleep. When I woke him up this morning he was so confused why he had no pants on and why he still had the same shirt on. After breakfast we were asking him what he thought happened and he said, I must have had the dang big flower dream again. We were like, what? and he said that at grandma and grandpa's he'd had that dream and he woke up with no pants and no shirt on. In this epic dream apparently he grows into a big flower (hence the removal of clothes...) and smooshes grandmas. Epic, I tell you. Epic.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Homeschooling 101

This year could have been the first year in the last 13 that I could have my days to myself. All of my kids were school age. Every single one of them.


In years past I looked forward to this year. I could exercise, develop hobbies, visit with friends, clean the house or go back to sleep...all after I sent the husband to work and the kids to school. I thought of all the ways I could use my me time. And how involved I could be at the schools. How clean my house would be. How rested I would be!

Then I made the decision to homeschool the three littles. This wasn't a spontaneous decision. If you know me, at all, you know I've been looking at this as an option for years. I've been researching and talking about this for a long time. I finally bit the bullet and did it. And it's been worth it ever since. 

It's worth the stress, the cost, the time, the dirtier house, and the lack of "me" time. Because I get to spend the days with my kids. Helping them learn and grow and developing their minds. If it was more feasible I'd be doing Lincoln too, but he's so involved in extra-curricular activities in school that I can't justify pulling him out.

It's more expensive, and it's more time intensive for preparation. But the fact that I know what's going into my kids heads, and I know that our school day is about 3 hours versus 8, and I know that I can break for additional discussions, and I know I can bring in our religious beliefs, and I know that they're developing good relationships with themselves and their friends (who also homeschool), and I know that they're getting important subjects like PE and music and art...it's all worth the extra time and money.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

This Week In Midland

It's been a great week. I turned 35, which wasn't an easy number for me. Seems that those milestones of 25, 30 and 35 have been a little harder to swallow than all the ones in between. Don't completely understand it, but I think it's just a mental thing for me...

I got to spend my birthday night accompanying my amazing sister-in-law at an audition for Les Miserables. She tried out for Cosette and if she doesn't get it I'm worried for the hearing of all involved in the audition process. She's amazing!

On Friday we celebrated with the entire Snow/Kinghorn family in Midland...which numbers are kind of dwindling. It was still great fun. I got spoiled, with kitchen gadgets galore. Somehow that's always what I need/want!

Saturday we enjoyed a day of football. I love fall, because of the weather and because I get to sit back and watch football with Shane. I love it!

We actually had rain last week thanks to the Hurricane down in Mexico. I hate that we only get rain when other places are being attacked with hurricanes and flooding...but we need it so bad. So, if you live in a hurricane zone I'm sorry, but we're going to keep praying for the rain!

We are doing our last week of our missionary month in Mutual. I have been in charge of the entire activity, and I am more than ready for September to be over. With the planning for that, and homeschool, and everything else, my brain is fried! I'll do a separate post on that activity and homeschooling soon.

Sorry for the boring post, but I posted...  :)

Monday, September 16, 2013

It's September...What?!?!

So stating that this blog has been neglected would just be stating the obvious. And promising to keep it more up to date is like promising my kids they'll never have to eat foods they don't like. It's likely one I can't keep.

I feel guilty about it, because I started the blog as a way to journal our family's life and adventures and fun without having to keep a journal, because my journal is even more spotty than this blog has been over the last few years!

I feel guilty because we really do have a great life, full of fun, laughs, adventures and more. But the blog has just taken the back burner to so many other things.

Like what, you say?

Well, the house remodel is 99% done, but we've been working on that last little bit by ourselves. If you saw our house before the remodel you'll appreciate the changes and improvements. If you didn't then just know it's amazingly improved over what we used to have.

My mom is living with us until she leaves for her mission in December to go to Jamaica.

I am in the Young Women's presidency and so I am constantly planning activities like the "Month of Missionary Work" that we're doing all month during September. And Young Women's In Excellence. And lessons. And finding time to establish relationships with the girls. Oh, and meetings.

We've had family and friends visit from Utah, Idaho and Texas. We accept any and all visitors. We will make room for anyone. I will cook and serve you if you will come to desolate West Texas to visit us. I will gladly use you as an excuse to not blog.

We've visited Utah for a very short, fun, but somewhat disappointing trip for the UT/BYU football game. We got to see Sandee and Trevor and Jake, as well as a porcupine, deer and elk. We saw Natalie and she only gloated a little bit at the game. We ate Cafe Rio and experienced a huge torrential rainstorm. And UT lost.

I decided to homeschool the three littles this year. What could have been my first year with no kids at home since I had Lincoln 13 years ago turned into having 3 kids home and taking on the responsibility of their education. It's going well.

I had knee surgery. Again.

Plus I like to clean my house, cook, and be a mom to the amazing Snow kids. That is far more important that this little old blog. Right?

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Happy Mother's Day!

I'm cheating and totally going to post what I just posted on Facebook. But it's important, and it struck me really hard today that I needed to share this. Maybe one of my readers needed to hear it as much as I did.

I needed to read this today, and I need to try to remember it the next time I feel like life is flying by so fast that I just can't keep up with everyone else. I'm in this race of life as a mom and wife first. That comes before being a friend, a photographer, a piano teacher, a blogger, and everything else I've tried to be successful at. And it's the little moments, spent playing and reading with my kids that I need to work on. Not the elaborate parties, and impeccably decorated house. 

This is a must read, for every mom, dad or anyone who feels like a good read...

And HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY! It's the best job I've ever had (and every will) in my life!

http://www.ourbestbites.com/2013/05/a-few-thoughts-before-mothers-day/

Saturday, May 4, 2013

We're Home, Y'All!

I am a slacker. I have neglected this blog (and my cooking one) for too long. I think it started with the inability to post pictures and increased when we started the house project. Then I think the neglect increased again when I realized how long it's really been since I posted anything worthwhile...sort of killed the motivation.

But, I can't quit, seeing as how this blog is sort of my journal of the goings on in our family. . . .

Lest you think that our lives have been as boring as the blog, let me take a minute to clarify.

Since October we have:

started a monster house remodel
moved out to the in-laws for sanity
celebrated Halloween
celebrated Thanksgiving
traveled to Utah
celebrated Christmas
traveled back to Texas
celebrated my father-in-laws birthday
celebrated New Years
had our house broken into (or attempted) three times
celebrated Cael and Landry's 5th birthday
celebrated Valentine's day
traveled to Lake LBJ for spring break
celebrated Lincoln's 13th birthday
moved back into our house
celebrated Easter
celebrated living in West Texas for 5 years
plus a billion other things
and we are still waiting to celebrate being done with the monster house remodel

...all the while working hard at keeping life somewhat normal, we still had sports practices, piano lessons, church callings and meetings, and all the other obligations that come along with life. And guess what? I haven't documented any of it!

Actually, there are some pictures, and if I can figure out how to get them to upload, I'll share. I feel the need to prove we've been living on the face of the earth for the past 6 months, even if the blog doesn't show it.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Happy Texas Independence Day!



Happy Texas Independence Day!

Around the breakfast table this morning I asked me children if they knew what today was?  I guess they learned their lesson last year, because they responded, “It’s Texas Independence Day!”  I couldn’t be more proud.  

I’m personally disgusted that apparently MISD, (Midland Independent School District), feels that it’s more important to celebrate Cinco De Mayo (a day that really serves no real historical significance, even in Mexico) than it is to celebrate the day that the Great State of Texas declared its Independence from Mexico.  But I won’t dwell on my disappointments, as today I celebrate the fact that I live in TEXAS!

Why do I love Texas?

Well, by the grace of the Almighty, I was born in Texas to parents that weren’t born in Texas, but “got here as fast as they could.” In a conversation with friends last night over dinner, I heard my Father say, “If you wear out a pair of shoes in Texas, you won’t want to leave.”  I couldn’t have said it better, but many of you reading this are shaking your head and can’t understand what makes Texas great—so here’s my attempt to explain, by taking a look at others that weren’t born in Texas, but got here as fast as they could.

Davy Crockett – a defender of the Alamo, was born in the State of Franklin.  That’s right, the State of Franklin was set up in 1784 out of the west part of North Carolina and only lasted four years, having never been fully recognized as a state.  It was here that Davy Crockett was born.  Franklin later became part of the State of Tennessee.   

Most everyone has heard of Davy Crockett, an American Frontiersman, who served as a United States Congressman for the State of Tennessee.  When defeated in his bid for re-election he stated “You can all go to hell, and I will go to Texas!”

He later wrote a poem that said:
The corn that I planted, the fields that I cleared,
The flocks that I raised, and the cabin I reared;
The wife of my bosom—Farewell to ye all!
In the land of the stranger I rise or I fall. [1]

Being one of the many “forged of a hotter fire,” Davy Crockett fell in the defense of Freedom and Liberty at the Alamo on March 6, 1836.

William Barrett Travis was born in South Carolina on August 1, 1809—per his family Bible.  He became an attorney at the age of 19, married and after his marriage began to fail and after having one son, Charles Edward Travis, he left for Texas, leaving behind his wife and an unborn daughter. [2]

William Barrett Travis and James Bowie, who was born in Kentucky, shared command at the Alamo until James Bowie was bedridden to illness.  William Barrett Travis and James Bowie, also men “forged of a hotter fire,” were killed in the predawn raid of the Alamo.  Travis was killed with a single shot to the head; Bowie was killed while lying on his bed, after emptying his pistols into any who dared enter.

The numbers are disputed a little, but about 182 Texians died at the Alamo, taking with them, depending on the report, 400-1600 Mexican soldiers.

Before Travis’ death he wrote this letter:

Commendancy of The Alamo
Bejar, Feby. 24th, 1836

To the People of Texas & All Americans in the world --

Fellow Citizens and compatriots -- 

I am besieged by a thousand or more of the Mexicans under Santa Anna - I have sustained a continual Bombardment & cannonade for 24 hours & have not lost a man - The enemy has demanded a surrender at discretion, otherwise, the garrison are to be put to the sword, if the fort is taken - I have answered the demand with a cannon shot, & our flag still waves proudly from the walls - I shall never surrender or retreat. Then, I call on you in the name of Liberty, of patriotism & everything dear to the American character, to come to our aid, with all dispatch - The enemy is receiving reinforcements daily & will no doubt increase to three or four thousand in four or five days. If this call is neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible & die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor & that of his country - 

Victory or Death
 
William Barret Travis
Lt. Col. Comdt. 

This letter returned to the Alamo recently where it was written nearly 177 years ago and can be viewed from February 23 to March 7, 2013.

There are many other patriots that fought, bled, died and made an impact on Texas History making it possible for you and me to live in this great state.  I could go on and on about why I feel Texas is so great.  But really, unless you’ve “worn out a pair of shoes” here you’ll never really understand.

Texas was once its own Nation. Texas’ boundary from 1836 to 1845 included 1/2 of New Mexico, parts of Oklahoma, Arkansas, Colorado and Wyoming! 

We have Texas football, Texas BBQ, warm summer nights, Blue Bell ice cream, Blue Bonnets, Longhorn Cattle, Oil & Cotton!  Texas has mountains, swamps, beaches, hill country, grasslands, desert and a little of everything in between. And yes, everything is bigger and better in Texas!

I hope my children have the opportunity to learn more about Texas history in school.  But if they don’t I can assure you that they’ll get a healthy dose of it from home!

As always I’ll leave you with a few of my favorite links to Texas History and a Letter written by Bum Phillips that pretty much sums up, in better words, why I love Texas!

 
 
 
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, TEXAS -- FROM BUM PHILLIPS

Being Texan by Bum Phillips

Dear Friends,

Last year, I wrote a small piece about what it means to me to be a Texan. My friends know it means about damned near everything. Anyway, this fella asked me to reprint what I'd wrote and I didn't have it. So I set out to think about rewriting something. I considered writing about all the great things I love about Texas. There are way too many things to list. I can't even begin to do it justice. Lemme let you in on my short list.

It starts with The Window at Big Bend, which in and of itself is proof of God. It goes to Lake Sam Rayburn where my Granddad taught me more about life than fishin, and enough about fishin to last a lifetime. I can talk about Tyler, and Longview, and Odessa and Cisco, and Abilene and Poteet and every place in between. Every little part of Texas feels special. Every person who ever flew over the Lone Star thinks of Bandera or Victoria or Manor or wherever they call "home" as the best little part of the best state.

So I got to thinkin about it, and here's what I really want to say. Last year, I talked about all the great places and great heroes who make Texas what it is. I talked about Willie and Waylon and Michael Dell and Michael DeBakey and my Dad and LBJ and Denton Cooley. I talked about everybody that came to mind. It took me sitting here tonight reading this stack of emails and thinkin' about where I've been and what I've done since the last time I wrote on this occasion to remind me what it is about Texas that is really great.

You see, this last month or so I finally went to Europe for the first time. I hadn't ever been, and didn't too much want to. But you know all my damned friends are always talking about "the time they went to Europe." So, I finally went. It was a hell of a trip to be sure. All they did when they saw me was say the same thing, before they'd ever met me. "Hey cowboy, we love Texas." I guess the hat tipped em off. But let me tell you what, they all came up with a smile on their faces. You know why? They knew for damned sure that I was gonna be nice to em. They knew it cause they knew I was from Texas. They knew something that hadn't even hit me. They knew Texans, even though they'd never met one.

That's when it occurred to me. Do you know what is great about Texas? Do you know why when my friend Beverly and I were trekking across country to see 15 baseball games we got sick and had to come home after 8? Do you know why every time I cross the border I say, "Lord, please don't let me die in _____"?

Do you know why children in Japan can look at a picture of the great State and know exactly what it is about the same time they can tell a rhombus from a trapezoid? I can tell you that right quick. You. The same spirit that made 186 men cross that line in the sand in San Antonio damned near 165 years ago is still in you today. Why else would my friend send me William Barrett Travis' plea for help in an email just a week ago, or why would Charles Stenciled ask me to reprint a Texas Independence column from a year ago?

What would make my friend Elizabeth say, "I don't know if I can marry a man who doesn't love Texas like I do?" Why in the hell are 1,000 people coming to my house this weekend to celebrate a holiday for what used to be a nation that is now a state? Because the spirit that made that nation is the spirit that burned in every person who founded this great place we call Texas, and they passed it on through blood or sweat to every one of us.

You see, that spirit that made Texas what it is, is alive in all of us, even if we can't stand next to a cannon to prove it, and it's our responsibility to keep that fire burning. Every person who ever put a "Native Texan" or an "I wasn't born in Texas but I got here as fast as I could" sticker on his car understands. Anyone who ever hung a map of Texas on their wall or flew a Lone Star flag on their porch knows what I mean.

My Dad's buddy Bill has an old saying. He says that some people were forged of a hotter fire. Well, that's what it is to be Texan. To be forged of a hotter fire.

To know that part of Colorado was Texas. That part of New Mexico was Texas. That part of Oklahoma was Texas. Yep. Talk all you want. Part of what you got was what we gave you. To look at a picture of Idaho or Istanbul and say, "what the Hell is that?" when you know that anyone in Idaho or Istanbul who sees a picture of Texas knows damned good and well what it is. It isn't the shape, it isn't the state, it's the state of mind. You're what makes Texas.

The fact that you would take 15 minutes out of your day to read this, because that's what Texas means to you, that's what makes Texas what it is. The fact that when you see the guy in front of you litter you honk and think, "Sonofabitch. Littering on MY highway."

When was the last time you went to a person's house in New York and you saw a big map of New York on their wall? That was never. When did you ever drive through Oklahoma and see their flag waving on four businesses in a row? Can you even tell me what the flag in Louisiana looks like? I damned sure can't.

But I bet my ass you can't drive 20 minutes from your house and not see a business that has a big Texas flag as part of its logo. If you haven't done business with someone called All Tex something or Lone Star somebody or other, or Texas such and such, you hadn't lived here for too long.

When you ask a man from New York what he is, he'll say a stockbroker, or an accountant, or an ad exec. When you ask a woman from California what she is, she'll tell you her last name or her major. Hell either of em might say "I'm a republican," or they might be a democrat. When you ask a Texan what they are, before they say, "I'm a Methodist," or "I'm a lawyer," or "I'm a Smith," they tell you they're a Texan. I got nothin' against all those other places, and Lord knows they've probably got some fine folks, but in your gut you know it just like I do, Texas is just a little different.

So tomorrow when you drive down the road and you see a person broken down on the side of the road, stop and help. When you are in a bar in California, buy a Californian a drink and tell him it's for Texas Independence Day. Remind the person in the cube next to you that he wouldn't be here enjoying this if it weren't for Sam Houston, and if he or she doesn't know the story, tell them.

When William Barrett Travis wrote in 1836 that he would never surrender and he would have Victory or Death, what he was really saying was that he and his men were forged of a hotter fire. They weren't your average every day men.

Well, that is what it means to be a Texan. It meant it then, and that's why it means it today. It means just what all those people North of the Red River accuse us of thinking it means. It means there's no mountain that we can't climb. It means that we can swim the Gulf in the winter. It means that Earl Campbell ran harder and Houston is bigger and Dallas is richer and Alpine is hotter and Stevie Ray was smoother and God vacations in Texas.

It means that come Hell or high water, when the chips are down and the Good Lord is watching, we're Texans by damned, and just like in 1836, that counts for something. So for today at least, when your chance comes around, go out and prove it. It's true because we believe it's true. If you are sitting wondering what the Hell I'm talking about, this ain't for you.

But if the first thing you are going to do when the Good Lord calls your number is find the men who sat in that tiny mission in San Antonio and shake their hands, then you're the reason I wrote this tonight, and this is for you. So until next time you hear from me, God Bless and Happy Texas Independence Day.

May you be poor in misfortune, rich in blessings, slow to make enemies and quick to make friends. But, rich or poor, quick or slow, may you know nothing but happiness from this day forward.

Regards From Texas


[1] As quoted in David Crockett: The Man and the Legend (1994) by James Atkins Shackford, Introduction, p. xi, Chapter 2.
[2] Davis (1966), P. xii

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

So Tired Of Being Sick

I try to be a glass half full kind of person. I don't always succeed. However, when I wake up in the morning I have the best intentions to be positive.

Then Lincoln came down with the flu on January 16th, and felt mostly better by the 18th. Then I got what I assume was the flu on January 20th and felt mostly better by the 22nd. Then Shane got it on January 23rd and felt mostly better by the 26th. Then I got smacked with something else, finally diagnosed as bronchitis and an ear infection. (so I got an antibiotic) That didn't get better. Ever. (even after that doctor changed the antibiotic to a stronger one) So I went back to another doctor and was diagnosed with bronchitis and two ear infections. (so I got an antibiotic shot and another prescription for stronger antibiotics)

I was supposed to follow up with the doctor today, to let her know if the symptoms (cough and ear stuffiness) were gone. But....

Cael came down with a fever yesterday. Took him to the doctor today...the FLU.

So tired of this! We are usually NEVER sick! Seriously, I don't think Savannah, Landry or Cael have even been to the doctor in 2 years. (except for well child checks) So why, WHY are we doing this now?

PS. It's really hard to function in society when you can't hear... makes for awesome conversations, like this:
ANYONE: (&^%*%$^]
ME: what?
ANYONE: )*(&^*&^%$&%$#(*&^(^&^%
ME: (turning my head so the left ear is forward, squinting at their mouths to read their lip) Seriously, can't hear a thing...what?
ANYONE: %^^%$^%$#(&^)*&)(*&$&#(@!&^!&*T^#$*(&)(#$*@)($(@*^$(&
ME: (Nods and smiles, hoping I didn't just agree to give anything of value...)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Happy 2013!

Well, it's a good thing I didn't make resolutions this year. I'm pretty sure every year I've had this blog I've also had the resolution to blog more. I've been ashamed every year as my blog postings have gone down. Or at least I think they have. I really haven't been paying that much attention...which is also a bad thing. I should care more.

We had a great Christmas and a nice, new year. We traveled to Utah for a wedding right before Christmas and decided to go ahead and stay through Christmas since we haven't been 'home' for Christmas since we moved. It was fun to have a white Christmas. The kids loved playing in the snow, and we even managed to scrounge up enough of our winter clothing to not completely freeze while there!

The house is progressing. S-L-O-W-L-Y. But it is progressing. We have walls, most of them are actual walls with dry wall. And insulation. And some even have texture. We have 99% of the windows in. We have new siding. We have a new front porch. We have new exterior doors. Really nice exterior doors. And only one of them was kicked in while we were away in Utah for Christmas. And only our tv was taken after the door was kicked in. That's a good thing. Right? So we also have an updated security system. And electricity to run it.

So, because I can't really post pictures here...yeah, not so technologically minded to be able to figure out a way to bypass the rules... and to reiterate the fact that I'm not really making any set resolutions again this year, I'm going to end by re-posting some "resolutions" from a couple of years ago.

Happy New Year!

Why do we do this to ourselves? We spend days getting ready for the Thanksgiving dinner, only to eat it up and feel sick within fifteen minutes. We spend weeks getting ready for Christmas, only to open all the presents and make a monstrous mess within an hour. Then, immediately after Christmas we spend days deciding what we should resolve to do better in the coming year, only to be completely disappointed in ourselves by mid-January.

Why?
I've decided I'm not really that into resolutions. But, if I were, here are some things I might resolve to do better in 2013...


Read more, watch less.
Clean more, cook less.
Play more, eat less.
Pray more, gripe less.
Love more, worry less.


How about you?