visiting with family friends after a funeral recently, this story came out. The
father and mother were born and raised in a rural Texas
community. They married, had a family, and when the children were about middle-school
age, moved to California to benefit from a significant raise and promotion.
The change from rural Texas to big-city California spawned many interesting experiences.
For example, when the mother took her brood to the grocery store to shop, other
customers would hear them talk and rudely ask, "Where are you people from anyway?"
Seems the "Texas twang" caught attention.
One son recalled his classmates
at the new school would corner him in the hall and say, "Talk Texas to us. We
want to hear you talk Texan." He considered it an embarrassment to be considered
His Texan handicap, as he called it, landed him in trouble
when he was called up to the teacher's desk after class. When he answered "Yes
ma'am" she asked, "Are you trying to be smart, young man?" Confused by her attitude
and a bit tired of all the unwanted attention he answered, "Ma'am, I've been taught
from birth to respect my elders by saying ma'am to women and sir to men. I'm a
lot more afraid of my momma and daddy than I am of you, so get used to it." He
had no more problems with his teacher.
Another courtesy seemingly abandoned
along the road of progress is a man removing his hat inside a residence, eating
at a restaurant, while dancing on the dance floor and when talking to a woman.
I heard about a lady who taught her family and all visitors to her home
that she did not allow wearing a hat inside the house by swinging a broom to remove
the object. She sometimes aimed a bit lower on repeat offenders.
at a writer's meeting where there were women from areas other than Texas present,
I returned from the bathroom in time to hold the meeting room door open for one
of the out-of-state visitors. I said, "Good morning ma'am." She stepped back,
looked me over, then quickly moved through the door as if she were afraid of me.
Several times during the day after that I noticed she was staring at me. Guess
that was the first time anyone had held the door for her.
A refugee, transported
Yankee neighbor from Ohio, says no one who lives there waves at other vehicles
passing on the roads. It is an insult, somewhat like pointing with the wrong finger.
After settling in Texas where everyone greets
everyone passing with a wave of the hand, whether they know them or not, he had
to sit on his hand when he returned to visit Ohio to keep from insulting those
he met on the road. Just a few more things that make us Texans a little different.
© Delbert Trew
- "It's All Trew" June
7, 2011 column
People | Columns