Sunday, August 21, 2011

When the Bluebonnets Bloom

Everybody loves Bluebonnets!
My latest favorite song in "Bluebonnets" by Cody Canada of Cross Canadian Ragweed.  Every April the highways are lined with people taking pictures of kids, pets, and families in the bluebonnets.  It's a much loved and time honored Texas tradition.  Canada wrote the song after his young son's first bluebonnet pictures.
Here's the link.

Friday, when we reached the Texas state line, we slowed down and sang "Texas Our Texas" and recited the Pledge to the Texas Flag.  After all, we were back in the Promise Land and we were all proud sons and daughters.  "Texas, our Texas, all hail the mighty state.  Texas, our Texas, so wonderful, so great."

The Texas Panhandle Plains
There's not much to distract the philosopher from his thoughts
on that long, lonesome highway between
Amarillo and Fort Worth.
We might have been back in the Promised Land, but honestly, there was not much to see in West Texas.
There never is!  On the trip out to Colorado, we tried to pass the time in West Texas by playing I Spy.  But we had to stop after a few rounds.  There was just nothing left to spy.  It went like this.

"I spy with my little eye something brown."
"Ummm.  Is it...the dead grass?"

"I spy with my little eye something green."
"No you don't!  There's nothin' green out here."
"Uh huh!  Look at that roof on that ranch house."

"I spy with my little eye something white."
"Is it the clouds?"
"Well yea, but which one?  Huh!  Huh?"

A West Texas Dirt Devil
Ultimately we found that resistance was futile and gave in to the mind numbing monotony.  Everyone, except my long-suffering brother who was driving, plugged in to their electronics of choice or napped.  But, I was riding shotgun.  I had to stay awake for the driver.  At first I counted dirt devils.  Next, I counted the burned out patches on the side of the road left from recent grass fires.  I found, though, that counting dirt devils and wild fire spots is a lot like counting sheep - sleep inducing.

Finally, I tuned in my mental I-Pod and noticed the words of "Amarillo By Morning"buzzing around in my mind.  It's a beautiful, but sad song with a very singable melody.  It always makes me think about a student I had a few years ago.  This kid was the "real deal."  Every morning he worked on a neighbor's ranch for two hours before school, feeding, watering, and exercising the horses.  On the weekends he rode bulls and saddle broncs in the rodeos in the North Texas circuit.  During the summer, he competed all over the country.   He'd broken more bones than I even knew we had. Once I asked him if he preferred to ride bulls or broncs.  To my surprise, he told me that saddle broncs were much harder to ride than bulls. 

"Amarillo By Morning" 
"Broncs, hey, they're smart an' mean.  They can twist on a dime and they bite.  Bulls.  Yea, they  look tuff, but you can out run 'em - most of th' time." 

He was one tough kid!

Then I started to think about all the songs about Texas and the musicians who come from this desolate area of the state.  Buddy Holly, Mac Davis, Roy Orbison, Bob Wills, and Vicki Carr just to name a few.   I realized that  I only know one or two songs about New Mexico and only four or five songs about Colorado.  There's quite a few more about Oklahoma, thanks to Merle Haggard and Broadway.   But Texas?  I could name ten songs off the top of my head, without even thinking about it. 

How many songs are there about the Lone Star State? 

I started listing songs in my head. "Waltz Across Texas." "All My Exes Live in Texas." "El Paso." "Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind." "The San Antonio Rose." "Songs About Texas." "Amarillo Highway." "The Yellow Rose of Texas." "Lubbock, Texas In My Rear view Mirror." "The Bluest Eyes in Texas."

"Fort Worth Blues" Guy Clark
You get the idea. There's a lot of songs about Texas. I started to feel like Bubba in Forest Gump. "Coconut shrimp...shrimp gumbo...shrimp cocktail..."

When I got home I was still curious, so I googled "Songs About Texas."  Man alive, there were more sites than you can shake a stick at!  It seems that no one really knows how many Texas songs there are. One man said that he and his family started making play lists on their annual vacations. After five years, they had accumulated 640 titles and still weren't finished! Now I don't know if that's true - Texans are known to exaggerate a little bit - but that's a long list!

"Hum...," he thinks to himself, 
 "the lack of oxygen must be giving them the sillies!"

Colorado was fabulous!!! 

We had a fantastic time!!! 

But, whenever I come home, whether its from London, from San Fransisco, or from beautiful Colorado, I can't help but think, " it ever so humble, there's no place like home!"

Here's a  play list.

"Bob Wills Is Still The King"

"The sage in bloom is like perfume, deep in the heart of Texas..."
"Deep in the Heart of Texas"

A typical Texas A & M home game.
"You're Not From Texas" by A & M alum, Lyle Lovette

"The Front Porch Song" by Robert Earl Keen and Lyle Lovette
Tubin' on the Guadalupe should cure the "London Homesick Blues."  
This is better known as "I Wanna Go Home With the Armadillo" 

"Texas In My Rear View Mirror" by Mac Davis

I saw Willie Nelson in concert at Texas A & M.  Afterwards, I came upon him accidentally as he was fixing to get into his tour bus.  Overcome by awe, I couldn't move.  I was five feet away and paralyzed.  He saw me standing there frozen, mouth hanging open, and took pity on me.  He walked over and shook my hand.  Now that's a true gentleman!
"Faded Love" by the incomparable Bob Wills, but sung by Ray Price and Willie   

"Long Tall Texan"

"Pick Up Truck Song"

"When I Die" by Tanya Tucker
Just remember that old Texas saying, "It ain't braggin' if it's true!"

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