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Archive for the ‘Being Texan’ Category

You may notice a distinct lack of mosquitoes in Singapore. How can that be? Isn’t Singapore in a tropical environment? Aren’t mosquitoes suppose to thrive here?

If you miss the little blood suckers you can come over to my house. There are always a few in the backyard. Mostly, the population is controlled.

I get regular notices of mosquito fogging being done in my neighborhood. The notices warn to stay inside. After being home during one of these foggings, I understand why.

An ominous cloud floats toward the house. The smell gets stronger until I run into the back room. The smell starts to dissipate and I wonder how much poison I have absorbed. I think “why didn’t I make plans to just not be at home right now?”

Mosquito truck

Mosquito truck fog

Oh, the mosquito truck. Being from the swamps of Texas, I am familiar with these monsters. My mother would make us all stay indoors for a few hours when the mosquito truck came by. For me it was cutting into play time. For my mother it was a reassurance against mosquito related annoyance and disease.

Things weren’t the same for her generation. I heard tales from my aunts and great aunts that as kids they would all run outside to dance and jump in the cool thick white cloud. The story was told with humor and nostalgia.

Did anyone see Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life? There’s a scene in the movie where the boys chase behind the mosquito truck. When I first saw the scene, something in my head clicked and I knew what the aunties spoke of.

Photo not mine

Photo not mine

I ran across this post by another blogger through a google search. Apparently, yes, the DDT truck was a Texas thing. Scary to think what used to be “good for you.”

It’s scary to think what parts of our everyday life now we will later find out are poisonous.

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This is the time of the year when the Texas Highway Department forgoes all mowing and the roadsides become covered with fields of bluebonnets. The long car rides between Texas cities don’t seem so dreary anymore. You have more to look forward to than a kolache at the Czech Stop in the small town of West.

On Saturday and Sunday afternoons you see cars of couples, families and friends with their children and dogs pull over to the highway shoulder and begin snapping away with their camera. Everyone who grew up in Texas has pictures of themselves in a field of bluebonnets somewhere. If they say they don’t, they are lying. Or maybe an orphan.

I remember the year it rained continuously and the next spring was a shocking blast of early blue blooms. Standing in front of the sea of blue, sunshine warm, weather still cool enough, it’s hard to think of things that could make you happier. Probably because it’s hard to think of anything else at all.

It’s a symbol that the days are fleeting. The short but gruff winter is over and there is a promise of halcyon outdoor days  before the brutal summer turns water side activity into a necessity. Winter and the corresponding Seasonal Affective Disorder is now so far away. All things are right again in Texas.

 

Texas summer survival.

“My fervent hope is that our homes, roadsides, parks – both community and industrial – and public spaces will provide a home for our wildflowers and other native plants where they can provide economic benefits and add to the eye and spirit of their beholders.” – Lady Bird Johnson

Lady Bird Johnson, picture not mine.

That’s former first lady of the United States, Lady Bird Johnson. She’s a Texas hero of mine. I image if there was an afterlife that her and former Texas governor Ann Richards would be hanging out swapping stories of Texas politics and having a damn good time.

 

The incredible Ann Richards. Picture also not mine.

Lady Bird was responsible for the Highway Beautification Act of 1965. It’s intent was to control outdoor advertising and junk on the side of the road. It was met with a lot of opposition. Today Texas roadsides are obviously a compromise but it is a sight when the bluebonnets come out.

I was bummed when I realized I was going to miss out on the wildflowers this year. This was before I knew about the daffodils. I was walking through Green Park one day and all of a sudden they were there. Little yellow buds telling me  winter was nearly over. Now the daffodils are everywhere. People stop in the park to have their photos taken with their friends, families, children and dogs.

 

Daffodil Portraiture, Exhibit A

Daffodil Portraiture, Exhibit B

It’s even more stunning when nobody warns you that they are coming, they just appear. It’s a symbol that the days are fleeting. The long and gray winter with it’s cabin fever, roast dinners and endless cup of teas is coming to an end. There is a promise of a short but halcyon summer surrounded by a cool fall and spring. All things are right again in London.

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