22 August 2009

Things I love about Texas (part 1)

I am not much of a world traveler and while I do appreciate the natural beauty of other locations, I am a true Texas girl. This is not only the place where I live, it is the place that feels like home. These are some things that make me grateful to live in this beautiful land, that is home to so many others, who like me, truly love Texas.

Armadillos – OK, we all know that they are known carriers of Hanson’s disease, but really, what’s not to love about a gentle creature that resembles a knight in shining armor?

Goodyear Blimp (in the past tense) – years ago, the town of Spring was home to one of the Goodyear blimp hangars. The blimp was a regular fixture in the Houston scene when it was not engaged for other endeavors. I vividly remember getting out of my car after I arrived home from work during the 1980s and being greeted by the blimp slowly flying past with its festive design of lights flashing a welcoming hello to Houston.

Tex-Mex – there is no contest. No one does Tex-Mex like Texans. Enough said.

Reckling Field – my favorite baseball field on the planet, located in the quiet enclave of Rice University. On a crisp late spring evening, there is nothing in the world like watching baseball with a perfect seat along the first base line and enjoying the spectacular reflection of the setting sun glinting off the backdrop of the Texas Medical Center. Pure heaven.

Moores Opera Center – a splendid gift from John and Beth Moores to the University of Houston, this smallish but grand performing arts center is a treasure for musicians, performing artists and those who love attending performances.

Central Texas – the collection of cities and towns in central Texas, mixed with the rolling landscape dotted with cactus and gnarled trees offer a true flavor of the heritage of our beautiful state.

Philip Johnson – the late, great architect, while not a Texan himself, left behind a legacy of architectural beauty that residents of Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth and Corpus Christi enjoy on a daily basis. His buildings are wondrous to behold.

Fireflies – as a child growing up in a suburban community south of Houston, fireflies were plentiful on summer nights. I rarely see them any more in Houston, but they can be found in cooler climates, toward northern and central Texas, much to my heart’s delight.

Azaleas – the crowning glory of the Houston garden, some azalea plants are decades old and when they bloom, they look like a giant pink furry caterpillar creeping along the lawn of some of the most beautiful homes in town. The rest of the year they look like a gangly shrub, but it’s all worthwhile for those two weeks of blooming magnificence.

Austin – like no other city I know, it has it all. Hip, quirky neighborhoods, smooth urban scene, gorgeous vistas, fabulous weather, centers of intellectual pursuit, excellent blend of multiple heritages, and a wonderful esprit de coeur among the residents.

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