Right now, you have to love Texas. Hurricane Harvey was an almost unprecedented force of nature, but Texas is also a force to be reckoned with. I know this because I’m a Texan and I was brought up to believe in God, Texas and that nothing is better than Texas.
As a child Texas history was a mandatory class and was taught before American history because as our teacher repeatedly told us, “It’s more important.” A state flag is a de rigueur wedding present (and explains why you see more Texas than American flags swaying in the humid breeze) and for anyone that slinks out in the dark of night to abandon Texas to go to an out-of-state college the conventional wisdom is 1) It’s a shame you didn’t get into the University of Texas and 2) Don’t worry you’ll be back.
When I left the state to pursue a job in California my mother’s parting words were, “Never forget you’re a Texan.”
At the time, I thought my mom was being overly dramatic, but now that I’m a parent, I’ve said that to my children numerous times and it’s usually met with an eye roll or a muttered, “Yeah, like you’re ever going to let that happen.”
The truth is if you hail from the Lone Star state, hubris is a birthright. You’re born being told that you’re special solely because you’re a Texan. I know this is delusional and totally illogically, but Texas folks don’t let rational thinking get in the way of just about anything.
This is why you should never tell a Texan they can’t do something. The second commandment of being a Texan is that you never waste time asking for permission when you can always pray for forgiveness.
I believe this combo platter or hubris and obstinacy is one of the primary reasons the state has been so impressive in how they’ve handled their disaster relief. Texans didn’t wait for permission or a plan. They didn’t wait to see what the feds were up to nor did they expect anyone from up North to rescue them.
Texans just did it. The new state motto should be “I have a bass boat and I’m coming for ya”. Neighbors helped neighbors.
Companies large and small were in it to win it. You had the mega grocery store chain HEB (pretty much considered God-tiered in Texas) coordinating relief logistics so efficiently that they should teach a master class to FEMA. Then there was the dude with a mattress company that just opened his doors and said, “Y’all come on it.”
The one thorn in this saddle of awesome, though is Houston’s super church pastor Joel Osteen. I was flabbergasted he didn’t do the neighborly thing and open up his church, (the former Compaq Center which can accommodate almost 17,000 people) when the flooding started. I even had to Google if he was indeed a true Texan. I was hoping he was a transplant because that might explain his behavior.
I was horrified to discover that he’s a life-long Houstonian. WTH? And his lame excuse that he was waiting to be asked to open his church as a shelter – please.
It’s all so very, well, un-Lone Starry. Seriously, what Texan waits for instructions from anyone except their mama? Talk about squatting on your spurs. There’s even been talk of starting a petition to have Osteen dishonorably discharged from the state for conduct unbecoming to a Texan and have him escorted from the premises via a herd of stampeding Longhorn.
But enough about that. Instead let’s focus on the wonder of the human spirit. Here’s a Texas-size shout-out to good people who did the right thing come hell or high water.
Reach Sherry Kuehl at snarkynthesuburbs@ gmail.com, on Facebook at Snarky in the Suburbs, on Twitter at @snarkynsuburbs and snarkyinthesuburbs.com.