York City and West Texas
are separated by contrasting cultures, fifteen hundred miles of
real estate, and a gulf of misunderstanding.
"I know all about West Texas,"
a New Yorker journalist once wrote. "It's the place with the most
cows and the least milk, the most rivers and the least water, and
where you can look the farthest and see the least."
New Yorker, while driving between Littlefield
and Sudan, was startled when a roadrunner dashed in front of his
"What was that?" the New Yorker asked his West
Texas traveling companion.
"The bird of paradise," answered the Texan.
"Long way from home isn't it?" replied the New Yorker.
do like to brag about the size of their state, just as New Yorkers
enjoy putting Texans in their place by reminding them that Alaska
is bigger. One New Yorker told the story of a man from Ketchikan
who was traveling through Big
Spring with a verbose Texas friend full of pride in his state.-
"Stop the car," the Alaskan told his Texas friend. "I need to see
"What's the matter?" asked the Texan.
"Claustrophobia," replied the Alaskan.
New Yorker in Abilene
stopped a man on the street and asked, "Does the wind blow this
way all the time?"
"No," replied the Texan. "Sometimes it turns around and blows the
New York reporter and his son were traveling through West
Texas. The man had been to the Lone Star State before and took
the opportunity to teach his son some proper Texas etiquette.
"Never ask a man if he is from Texas, son. If he is, sooner or later
he'll let you know. If not, you wouldn't want to embarrass him."
a trip by car from San
Angelo to Amarillo,
a New Yorker described West
Texas to his Manhattan neighbor who had never been west of Hoboken.
"It is so dry in West Texas
that trees chase dogs."
"It is so dry in West Texas
that a rancher once fainted when a raindrop hit him on the head
and had to be revived by throwing a bucket of sand in his face."
"In West Texas there
are rivers with no water, towns with no people, and roads that go
"West Texas is so big
that cowboys headed to town to vote for George Bush 41 arrived in
time to vote for George Bush 43."
"Distances in parts of West
Texas are hard to judge because the ground is so flat. Just
south of Lubbock
there's not a hill or hump in the earth to impede the view to the
horizon in any direction. They say on the High Plains a man can
see forever; then stand on a can of tuna and see another hundred
"There's not much to do in Snyder
on a Sunday. The only places open for business are a donut shop,
20 Churches, and the Dairy Queen."
"A tree is a rare sight in West
Texas. The vision of a tree off in the distance causes great
excitement and has been known to inspire poetry."
"West Texas is as quiet
as the sunrise and as empty as a beer joint on Sunday morning."
New Yorker told of an old rancher from Mentone
who died and went to his reward. When the old man arrived at his
destination, he walked along a barbed wire fence until he came to
a ten foot aluminum gate. A gatekeeper stood nearby with his hand
on the sliding gate latch, ready to welcome the Texan inside. Beyond
the gate the Texan noticed the land was brown and barren. The only
thing green was prickly pear. There was no grass and not a tree
"Gosh, Saint Peter," the man said to the gatekeeper. "Heaven looks
just like West Texas."
"I'm not Saint Peter," the gatekeeper said, "and what makes you
think you're in heaven?"
jokes aside, West Texas
has a unique charm that is often misunderstood. And while most attempts
at West Texas humor
are wide of the mark, some efforts hit pretty close to home.
"There are two main attractions in West
Texas," one New Yorker (who now lives near Marathon) confessed.
"Sunrise and sunset."
"And if you have to ask what there is to do, you just don't get
© Michael Barr
21, 2015 Column
New York Times, March 20, 1955, "Analysis of the Boffolo Texensis,"
New York Times, November 2, 1958, "The End of Boffolo Texensis,"
New York Times, January 25, 1987.
Michael Barr, Remembering Bulldog Turner (Lubbock: Texas Tech University
See West Texas
| Texas Panhandle
Related Topics: People
| Texas Towns | Texas
Counties | Texas