". . . little shall I grace my cause

In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience,

I will a round unvarnish'd tale deliver . . ."

(William Shakespeare's Othello, I.iii.88-90)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Home Away from Home

I spent the first 29 years of my life in Texas. I've spent the last 15 in Illinois (more than half of those in Chicagoland). In that time I have come to regard the latter as my home and to sincerely appreciate the Midwest. But I guess deep down I will always consider myself a Texas girl. As they say (at least I think they do), "You can take the girl out of the South, but you can't take the South out of the girl." I think I will be a Texan to my dying day.

Right now that is in fact where I am, visiting family in Houston. So over the past few days I have had opportunity to remember some of what I love about this part of the country. There are things I enjoy here that I can't in Chicago. For example . . .

Seeing family. Most of mine and my husband's live here.
Evening walks in January, in shorts no less!
Flowers, green grass, and trees with leaves--again, in January!
A governor who doesn't try to sell Senate seats
Cowboy hats & boots (on real cowboys)
Sonic limeades & Blue Bell ice cream
The best Indian food I have ever had
The best French bistro I have ever visited (obviously, I've never been to France)
Higher humidity - (It is ironic that this is on my list, because I used to curse what the humidity did to my hair. But now that I have decided to quit fighting my curls and embrace them, I like my hair much better in a tropical or near-tropical environment than I do in the dry Midwest.)

On the other hand, Illinois has . . .

Some of the dearest friends I have ever had, not only in Illinois but in Iowa, Wisconsin, and Indiana, too.
All the seasons. It's nice to have four of them, even though winter lasts too long.
Some of the most beautiful landscaping I have ever seen. Midwesterners spend a lot more time on their yards than Southerners, maybe because the chance to do so is so fleeting?
White Christmases.
Chicago. Sorry, Houston, but Chicago wins the big city contest, hands down.
Bratwurst and Italian beef.
Less humidity. (I like what the humidity does for my hair, but not what it does for my acne-prone skin.)

When my husband and I first moved to Illinois, it seemed like an interim step. For a long time I had the feeling that we would some day go back to Texas. We both spent formative years and attended college there. Our families and friends were there. But somewhere along the way that feeling subsided. In spite of my affection for my home state, I no longer anticipate returning. In fact, I think it's more likely that day will not come. We have put down roots--strong roots--in Illinois, and barring some unexpected event I don't see us leaving until maybe retirement.

It will be nice to go home in a few days.


Big Doofus said...

They just put up a Sonic on the west side of Indy. I've yet to try it. I've been to Texas a few times and remember eating Blue Bell ice cream. I seem to recall that it was good. My wife is a native Texan.

Cheryl said...

I have gotten teased in the past for using the phrase "native Texan" (told it's like I think Texas is a different country). It does seem that you are more likely to hear the phrase "native Texan" than "native Californian" or "native New Yorkian" or "native Illinoisian" etc. Not sure why--is it a southern thing, I wonder? Or just a Texan thing?

Tell your wife hi for me! What part of the state does she hail from? More importantly, is she an Aggie or a Longhorn?

Big Doofus said...

I think the "Native Texan" thing stems back from the fact that Texas was a separate country for some time. They're still pretty picky about that even today. I think that a real Texan likes to think that they could break away again at any given notice and that the rest of us would be in sorry shape.


My wife was born in Dallas and lived there for three or four years while her dad attended seminary. I don't think she has any allegiance to the Aggies or Longhorns, but we have some relatives who are die-hard Aggies.