Posts Tagged ‘cowboy hats’

I’m living in one of the most under appreciated and most vilified places by foreign ( non Texan) media  the United States and loving it. Most days  we feel as if we have the place to ourselves and couldn’t be happier. The number of tourists in some  global hotspots has depreciated the quality of  traveling there….. not so in Texas.  There is so much to do here , spread out over such a huge area that crowds ( except for sports venues) are rare. The cost of living is extremely low compared to most other places I have been in the developed world and that really takes the bite out of world class travel.

We chose Fort Worth for today’s day trip. It was back in the spring when we were there last. The streets, shops, venues and bars are much more lively now that the sun is shining every day. We added the Amon Carter Museum of American Art to our list of free public facilities to our list. And guess what…the parking is also free and we didn’t have to make any advance reservations or take transit to get there!!!  ! Ft. Worth has it’s roots in the cattle industry, being the end of the Chisholm Trail of Old West fame.

On the way, we stopped at a road side diner for a traditional Sunday lunch of Southern home style cooking…   fried cat fish filets, fried okra, pecan pie and sweet tea. The catfish was excellent, spicy hot, the way it should be. Did I forget the corn bread biscuits and sweet bread rolls with honey and butter…..shame on me. Once down 26th Street in downtown Ft Worth….also known as The Stockyards… we were treated to an antique car show…many groups of street performers…and we stopped into the very famous ( if you’re a cowboy) White Elephant Saloon for a drink and some quality time holding up the bar with the locals. WARNING… MEN WEAR HATS. People have been drinking beer and playing pool to the sound of some of country musics most famous performers for decades. Sure… it’s smoky and stinks like sour beer….but the people are super friendly and you know you’re in one of the most famous Cowboy Churches in the country.

I’ve lived in a lot of places around the world…. but my travelers eye has spied Texas as one of the best destinations for  the unexpected.

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You can’t walk out of a Texas Denny’s restaurant without having drank at least a half gallon of sweet tea. The waitresses never leave the kitchen without a freshly made pitcher and top up your glass without asking. This is ‘southern hospitality’, generous and free. No one attributes the tea consumption to the heat, that custom passed generations ago, constant hydration is as natural as breathing here in the southern states where the temperatures average 95 degree’s and  most days are  hotter. By the way, my favorite tea is now raspberry….y’all.

The easy going rapport between people is extended to travelers. I’ve had a transition of acceptance such as I have rarely experienced elsewhere. Falling into conversations of a personal nature is a given, people are curious and giving of themselves. Coming from Canada where conversation among strangers unerringly begin and end with pretense, purchases, possessions and position this natural flow and exchange of genuine interest is refreshing. No one I have talked to so far has reminded me that there is a class war going on between haves and have not’s.

One thing everyone agrees on in Texas is the 4th of July celebration. Today is bigger than Christmas. Today has nothing to do with credit cards or shopping. This is a day for family and friends that will end with an explosion of fireworks to celebrate the mythic creation of a great nation. The local shopping outlets have been busy piling up mountains of charcoal briquets and the accoutrements of the back yard barbeque.

If you don’t already have enough flags of state and nation they are giving them away free at the Wall Mart. I have made a point of asking everyone a simple question..”What are you doing on the 4th?” The reply has been consistent and without hesitation. “I think I’ll  do a little grillin’…”

So, tonight I will step out  to  one of the sights from where the fireworks will explode at sundown. I’m sure we can expect music, spontaneity  and back slapping fun, the way congenial Texans have made a habit of displaying with anyone and everyone. The cowboy hats and boots have started to look pretty darned cool. I wonder if it’s something they’re putting in the raspberry tea? Happy Independence Day……Y’all.

(to be cont’d)