Sunday, October 23, 2011

Why Texas is great!

Ain't bragging if it's true.
There are so many lists out there right now about which state is the best at this and which is the worst at that.... however a list was sent to me this week about WHY Texas is great....not great in one category or in one kind of ranking, but just 50 things that we Texans KNOW make our state great. (Actually the list should have more than 50 since we are the size of 1.5 Germanys or 18 Denmarks, but 50 will do for now!) And then as I read it, I saw that the list actually referenced ANOTHER list that found 100 more things that make Texas great.

So I read the 150 items, deleted quite a few, edited quite a few, and of course, added my own items. Shocker, I know! But we Texans do tend to take creative license when it comes to stuff like this because each of us wants to make sure that the things WE think are great are included as well! 

So here are the Top 50 Reasons that Kelli Nørgaard thinks Texas is great and why every time someone in Denmark asks me where I am from, 100% of the time I say:  TEXAS (no, I do not say the US or America.... and once you read my list, you will hopefully understand why!)

I consider myself quite an expert about Texas for several reasons (besides the fact that Texans tend to think they are experts "just cuz"!) 
1. I lived there 38 of my 41 years on planet Earth.

2. I actually taught 4th grade Texas history one year. (and yes, it is true that our students get Texas history twice in their 12 years!)

3. In my 38 years, I have lived in every single part of the country state. In fact when I started school in Wichita Falls in the 6th grade, WF was actually the FIFTH city I had lived in since kindergarten (aka "null klasse" for you Danes).... and those 5 cities were ALL OVER the state.

4. I have a tattoo of Texas on my foot just to prove how GROUNDED I am in what in means to be a Texan.

5. I, like 99.9% of the Texans you meet KNOW what Texas culture is and we are proud of it. And no, I never owned a gun, a horse, or a pair of boots, but if that is all you think Texas culture is, you REALLY need to read my lists! 

(Actually here is INSTALLMENT #1 because the list is such a big needs to be broken up into a few different blog posts so you can really savor each item!)

Kelli's Top 50:
50. We gave the world the Quaid brothers (gotta claim 'em both), ZZ Top, Jamie Foxx, and Beyonce. You're welcome! 

49. From a windswept dustbowl like Lubbock, Buddy Holly unleashed pop rock on the world that is still the basis for new and great music.

48. The State Fair on Texas-OU Weekend is an amazing, appalling, exciting thing to see, even if you're not wearing crimson or burnt orange.

47. The stunning ecological diversity of the state--from the arid canyons of Big Bend to the shadowy forests of the Big Thicket to the miles of sand along the Gulf Coast.

46. "Failure is not an option." This sums up generations of work at NASA that hopefully will not end with the shuttle era. (Wait, you DID know that NASA is also in Texas, not just Florida, right??!!)

45. The remoteness of El Paso: Waaaaay out there in the desert, all by its lonesome, still considered part of the family. We may be big, but that just means our family has that many more members! 

44. You can go to an opera and a rodeo and see the same people in the crowd at both (sometimes wearing the same pair of Wranglers to both events!)

43. You have to admit -- Texas politicians can be very entertaining. Dangerous, yes; misguided, almost always; but at least they provide lots of laughs, none of them intentional.

42. For better or worse, three of our last nine presidents have been from Texas. Please, hold the applause.

41. Port Arthur: A gritty Golden Triangle refinery town that somehow produced Janis Joplin, Jimmy Johnson, Robert Rauschenberg and MY MOMMA.

40. Watching families in their "Sunday best" (do you know what Sunday best is??) taking the same bluebonnet pictures that generations have taken before them. Yes, we've done it and I do remember Jess complaining about BEES??? Or something like that! But boy was that picture cute! 

39. When Katrina refugees needed places to stay, we took them into our schools, our churches, our homes and now that we are on the other side of that crisis, I can personally say that the students and families who came to my school during that time blessed my life abundantly more than I could have ever blessed theirs. 

38. The most popular poker game in the world isn't called New York Hold 'Em, is it?

37. October in Texas almost makes up for August.

Thank you, Brenham, Texas.
36. Blue Bell ice cream ... one of the only ways to survive a Texas summer... 

35. And speaking of summer, have you ever watched the Bat colonies fly in to their perch under the Congress Avenue bridge in Austin? What a way to spend a June evening...

So there are the first 16.... 34 more are coming your way in the upcoming days.

But I think you should let these first few tidbits soak in a bit first.... After all, Texas is A LOT to take in all at once!


Susanne said...

Kellie, I so enjoyed your list! I am a German living in Tx,I have been living here for 13 years.I do agree with some of your points on the list, but others I don't agree on at It still is a lot of fun..and I have lived for many years close tho the Danish border,Husum, so I really do enjoy your Blog, I can relate totally! And, I am in the education field also....which was a shock for me initially coming to the States.
Just meant to say, I really enjoy your Blog....although I do not comment very often. Guess we are both expats

Jan said...

I love it!!! I had a professor at UT who was from Kansas...said he'd lived in Kansas all of his life, but he had no idea if the state even had a flag. The Texas flag, though, was etched in his brain after only having been in Texas for a few hours.

P.S. I miss Blue Bell, too!

Heidi said...

The blue bonnets in the middle of the highway picture...oh the memories I have...

And I loved taking Texas History and often singing "the stars at night, are big and bright....Deep in the heart of TEXAS" in elementary music

Unknown said...

Haha! Kelli, when people ask where I'm from, Hans always says "hun kommer fra USA" I always say, "I'm from Texas".

TexaGermaFinlaNadian said...

YES YES YES, a million times over yes! I can't wait for the next installment. Always wanted a Texas tattoo, guess I am glad I didn't get one now. Or am I!? You made my mouth water for BlueBell. And there is no better month in Texas than October. My all time favorite....and I don't know when I will get to see it again. Boo ;)

Nina Ø said...

You must feel about Texas like I feel about San Francisco. And never call it Frisco!!! She is my HOME and thank goodness SF never votes for an actor or oil president for elective office.

Unknown said...

As I already said in an earlier comment, I love this list. And a BIG thank you for Beyonce...haha :)

Alex said...

The state fair. The sunshine. My family! All the great tech jobs. The Renaissance faires. The great independent theaters. The polite drivers. The guys who tipped their caps to me, even when I was so butch people called me "sir" until they heard me speak. The armadillos! Really awesome friendly people. Molly Ivins! Mexican food. Barbecue. Lupe Valdez, Dallas' lesbian latina sheriff. The water around New Braunfels. Cheap cost of living. A very pet-friendly society. Can you tell I love Texas?

It's making me a little sad. :)