A Larger Canvass

I routinely forget that I’m in Texas.  You’d think the blazing heat, mammoth-size bugs, and flat horizon would keep me well-attuned to my surroundings, but honestly, sometimes I forget.

I had such a moment last night at the movie theater.  Our audience, ready for a grand time with Mamma Mia, first watched several previews, one of them for the upcoming film The Express.  It’s the true story of Ernie Davis, a football player in the 1960’s for Syracuse University and the first black man to win the Heisman Trophy.  The preview showed several scenes of the prejudice and discrimination Davis faced.  One of the characters says something to the effect of:  “But we’re doing all right in the South.”  Another character replies:  “You haven’t been to the South until you’ve been to Texas.”

I let out a loud “harumph” sound, something akin to a snicker.  Oops.

My embarrassment grew as the preview showed angry Texans, Confederate flag a-wavin’, giving Davis’ character a horrible time.  I suddenly wondered what the rest of the audience was thinking.  It’s one thing for me – a recent (and disenchanted) transplant to all but snicker at the mention of Texas – but how does it feel to have your home filleted on screen, even if there are ugly parts to your history?

I guess I ought to know the answer to that, though it didn’t occur to me until just now.  Being a Latter-day Saint (Mormon), people think they know all sorts of things about me based on history or just heresay.  Only I know who I am in my faith, and if others would like to know, they should ask me.

I can scarcely believe that I have found a reason to identify with Texas and Texans.  I *highly* doubt I will ever be truly converted to loving it here, but maybe my heart has been softened just a bit.

  • Jamie

    I’ve lived here for nine years and I still snicker at Texas. I mean, it’s hard not to. It’s really a strange country.

    (Ba dum pa!)

    Texas does have its quirks, but aside from the heat, I have made my peace with it. (Although I’m a Midwesterner at heart.) Some of the stereotypes about Texas are (comically) true, though. Texas is the only state I’ve lived in where it is not unusual to see someone wearing cowboy boots and a cowboy hat in Super Target. Then again, the Ford commercials–where EVERYBODY is apparently a cowboy and living on a ranch of some type–are annoying. 😛 🙂

  • I didn’t feel odd at that preview last night, but while at BYU one US History professor made me furious! He kept saying, “In Texas they still wish there were slaves…” I couldn’t take it after a few minutes and raised my hand. The class was filled with 300 students and I had to put in my two cents worth all the time totally aware of my southern drawl!

    I think everyone there last night was so old that they were more concerned that if the previews didn’t hurry up, they might not be able to stay awake through the movie! 🙂

  • Mom

    Hey Stac…I’m guessing the whole country thinks California is made up of “fruits and nuts”! That would be “fruitcakes” and “health nuts” And some of us are! MOST of us aren’t!! 🙂 Must be the same in Texas! xoxoxo

  • Wow…what a thought-provoking post!

  • I heard your “harumph” during that preview. 🙂 I didn’t think much of it, since I’ve heard you make similar noises in the past concerning my state. I think I would have marked it more had you not made any noise! LOL

    As a Texan, I don’t mind an honest look at the history of my state. It’s definitely not a perfect place to live for a person of any color.

    – When I started Kindergarten, the school I went to was a segregated school. This was 1978 for heavens sake!!! Even at 5 years old I knew that was wrong!

    – When I was 11 we lived in a small town just south of Sugarland. My parents bought a house on what could only be called, “spur of the moment.” Not much thought went into location; price was the determining factor. Come to find out, we were the minorities. Our dog was run over, we kids had rocks thrown at us as we walked to and from the bus stop and our house was robbed.

    *Probably more comment than you were looking for*

  • Naomi

    I chuckled on the other side of the Texan between us. All I have to say is “RUN AWAY, RUN AWAY” I will admit that I have gained an education here is this state. One that I’m sure will prove to be useful in some form later… And I am glad that it has been so short lived. “Running, running, running, keep my feet a running.”

  • I’m a Texan and I love it here. But, I live in Austin which is a liberal oasis in the middle of an otherwise conservative, red state. I grew up in Texas, but I am not classically Texan by any means. I never wore cowboy boots until a few years ago, and that was when I was living in New York.
    I can see why people dis on Texas though. There are some dum dums here for sure. George Bush certainly didn’t help our image.
    Anyway, oh wow, I was about to apologize for leaving such a long comment, but being down here, I just realized I’m on your blog roll.
    Wow. Thanks!
    (And I do apologize for the long comment.)

    Yee Haw y’all!