Fire in the Water, Earth in the Air: Legends
of West Texas Music
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Lubbock Then and Lubbock Now
I can go East to the blue collar parts of town where the restaurant has native Texas food, clothing, language, and a certain laid back humorous attitude. At the Ranch House, people eat with their hats on most of which are gimme with cowboy hats in the minority. The men have enormous amounts of stuff in their shirt pockets, pens, papers, contracts. Older ladies still have big big hair. On the West side of town, people are ambitious, faster paced, more stressed, serious, and road raged. Most are on cell phones or wishing they were. Folks leave each other alone.
At the Ranch House, the pace is slower and it is o.k., even expected that you converse with strangers in certain comforting rituals, "You working hard or hardly working?"
"Is is cold enough for you?" Some stranger asks in the friendliest manner. Any answer will do.
On the older side of town, a cheese omelet, whole wheat toast and coffee is four bucks. At Starbuck's, most uptight yuppies drop four bucks for custom coffee.
It's like in the University/Medical area, the worker bees are all becoming something or writing a resume for the future. At the Ranch House or the Truck Stop, folks are already what they are. They appear happier. They don't appear as healthy. They don't appear as well off financially but they have their life and it is all right with them.
I've always noticed that my heavily West Texas poker pals laugh and joke all through the day and like each other. We celebrate Texas but all that is passing. My former academic colleagues were nearly all from the Midwest, a humorless, boring group that always badmouthed Texas. None ever leave, tenure being so forgiving.
The small towns hold on to Texas food, language, and values in such a way that they are ten years behind if you call it behind.
I'll head for breakfast at the truck stop where I'll be observing the hats, and the howdies and the ,"Can I hep' yew?" Folks will be reading the paper and taking their time and drinking too much coffee. I do so love Texas but I am afraid that much of what is so special about Texas culture is fading away. It is hard for the new folks to tell the fake Texas culture from the real. Whatever you do, don't wise up or wake up the Yankees that keep moving here.
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