Texas, an Unlikely Surprise…

We knew Texas was different when we drove across the border. We couldn’t exactly say why, or even what was different. But something definitely was.

It’s true that we had now crossed the conceptual line from “midwest” to “west,” which was evident by the changing landscape. But what we felt was something else. It was something in the spirit of the place. And not in the stereo-typical sense we might have imagined.

Now it’s time to admit that despite our best efforts to be open-minded we couldn’t completely escape that euro-monde-intellectual bias that we have been exposed to for years. We knew better, but still, somewhere deep down we had a slight hint of uneasiness — a bit reticent to step out of the Jeep, afraid that some kind of “internationalista” label tattooed on our foreheads, marked us as targets for harassment by rednecks in pickup trucks with gun racks in the back — the whole panoply of negative Texas stereotypes flashed by, as we half expected to encounter a conservative right-wing enclave so completely alien to anything in our life experiences.

Surprise…!

From the first mile, stereotypes were falling away faster than raindrops, as we were repeatedly met with one pleasant encounter after another while making our way across the Lone Star state. Everyplace we stopped friendly folks greeted us — and not only people working in the tourist industry! We enjoyed discussions with people we met along the way, sometimes sharing a meal, sometimes just sharing thoughts.

It turns out Texas is more free-thinking and non-conformist than Manhattan these days. And while there is plenty of local pride, it is of a tolerant sort, that welcomes the curious visitors, inviting us to share in the fun.

Texas turned out to be a wonderful and refreshing burst of freedom…

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