Texas is not all cowboys and cactuses. In fact, I have yet to find a decent cactus anywhere in town…and I use the word town lightly. When you grow up in suburban Philadelphia, with thousands of other people, constant traffic, and some sort of police action around every corner, it’s almost impossible to believe that there’s life outside of your little city bubble.
This was not my first trip to Texas, but it was the first time that I realized just how different it actually was. I lived in western Pennsylvania for the past four years, but Texas is a totally different kind of western. Ranches are on every square foot of land, cows roam freely along the interstate, and people eat gizzards for lunch (trust me, I saw it with my own eyes). But there’s something about this simple life that had me wondering why people loved western Texas so much. Sure there’s not as much traffic – in fact, the town goes absolutely dead after 8 o’ clock at night – and the only thing that seems to play on any working satellite radio is country music, but there’s a certain charm that tiny-Texas-town holds.
I’ve learned a lot during my time in western Texas, like how people call each other “heffers” (which is a name for a cow who hasn’t yet given birth, though I still haven’t decided if that’s a good or a bad thing). I also learned that you can’t underestimate how hot it’s going to be, ever. It did not go below 98 degrees the entirety of my trip, and somehow everyone else is ok with that. I, on the other hand, felt like I had just stepped into a giant sauna every time I went outside.
You know the phrase “everything is bigger in Texas”? That is absolutely true, especially when it comes to the bugs. I have seen mosquitos bigger than I’ve ever seen them before, and I have walked through more spider webs than I care to admit. There’s also these little geckos that run around all over and tons of snakes; a neighbor had a snake hanging from her tree and a friend found a rattlesnake on her back porch. Texas is like walking through the reptile house at the zoo, without actually having to go to the zoo.
Nothing can compare to the over abundance of Tex-Mex and BBQ restaurants, but every single one of them seems to have impeccable business. This is a great disappointment for me as I personally don’t eat beef and every time I saw someone else’s steak I almost ordered one myself. I was told that I just had to try Whataburger, a southern fast food chain, and I even went to a drive-thru liquor store (imagine a Burger King with alcohol), that couldn’t have been legal.
Despite all the hay barrels and southern drawls, this city girl might have found a little country town that she’s not entirely opposed to. Sure, some people might have to drive 12 miles to reach any sort of civilization, and the fact that the town looks as if it’s preparing for a zombie apocalypse as soon as it gets dark out might be a little bit of a turn off, but there’s nothing like that good ole’ southern hospitality that everyone here seems to have. I might not be able to survive without the white noise of sirens and constant traffic, or especially without the ability to have a Starbucks on every corner, but here in Texas village is a place I wouldn’t mind staying.