My First Taste of Texas


In 1983 Ed Bruce and Ronnie Rogers co-wrote the lyrics to a song Ed later recorded – one that became a Top 10 Country Hit and is now a classic I hear regularly on my Legends radio and tv stations.

“…My first taste of Texas still lingers in my heart and on my tongue…” ends each chorus.

While the words are really a love song for a girl with blue eyes and golden hair,  they remind me today of my feelings as I leave Texas for the second time in my life.  My first taste of Texas…I can’t even remember because I was born there on an Easter Sunday sixty-eight years ago this month.  My date of birth – the 21st. of April – is also San Jacinto Day and for a Texan it’s a day of commemoration for Sam Houston’s defeat of the Mexican General Santa Anna which liberated the territory and led to the establishment of the Republic of Texas.

I left Texas the first time in 1968 to do what many young people in the late 1960s wanted  to do: get out-of-town, get away from family and home and become my own person.  I wanted to be independent.  That seems strange nowadays in a time when young people appear to be more interested in staying put and hanging out in groups of friends and remaining close to their parents and discovering their brave new worlds on a computer screen.  What a difference a couple of generations make.

I never planned to be away from Texas for more than forty years when I left the first time, but then that’s how life is sometimes.  The vicissitudes of life, as my daddy used to call those circumstances which altered our courses and over which we had little control, intervened and I didn’t return to my home state until 2010.  Sweet new home Carolina.

I call these last four years in Montgomery, Texas, the Second Chance Years and they were years of redemption and reconciliation for me, but they came with a high price tag.  I was as prepared and ready for the deaths of my Old Ones as we can ever be, but I was unprepared for the aftermath and the wounds that wouldn’t heal.  I felt like I had been hit by a Mack truck.

Every spring, though, I had the wildflowers that made the landscape in southeast Texas spectacular.  The bluebonnets were not so plentiful as I remembered them to be sixty years ago, but what they were –  were “cherse”as Spencer Tracy said about Katherine Hepburn in the movie Pat and Mike.  “There ain’t much meat on her, but what there is – is cherse.”  The bluebonnets brought color to my soul as surely as they painted the brown pastures struggling to turn green.

And to add to my good fortune, I had three wild young boys who lived down the street from me and typically visited with the expectation of a full cookie jar in my kitchen.  It was impossible to picture a bleak future in the midst of the effervescence of inquisitive little boys who wanted to know Why about everything and oh yes, by the way, can I have another cookie please.

Listening to the conversations of a classroom full of four-year-olds on Grandparents Day restored my faith in the possibilities of a world where people actually liked each other and resolved their problems with friendly negotiations or, at least, peaceful hostilities.   Watching a five-year-old boy learning to ride a bike without training wheels for the first time was almost as magical a moment for me as it was for him.  Little wheels keep on rolling.

Wheels do, indeed, continue to roll, and I find myself saying goodbye to Texas again in 2014.  The Second Chance Years are relocating to South Carolina where they have more work to do, but my second taste of Texas will linger in my heart and on my tongue.

 

P.S. I finished my third book I’ll Call It Like I See It: A Lesbian Speaks Out in 2012 while a bi-stateual and many of the stories in the book are about the Second Chance Years.  If you enjoy this blog, you’ll love the book!  You can order your copy here.

 

 

 

 

About Sheila Morris

Sheila Morris is an essayist with humorist tendencies who periodically indulges her desires to write outside her genre by trying to write fiction and poetry. In December, 2017, the University of South Carolina Press is publishing her collection of first-person accounts of the people primarily responsible for the development of LGBT organizations in South Carolina. Southern Perspectives on the Queer Movement: Committed to Home will resonate with everyone interested in LGBT history in the South during the tumultuous times from the AIDS pandemic to marriage equality. She has published four nonfiction books including two memoirs, an essay compilation and a group of her favorite blogs from I'll Call It Like I See It. Her first book, Deep in the Heart: A Memoir of Love and Longing received a Golden Crown Literary Society Award in 2008. Her writings have been included in various anthologies - most recently the 2017 Saints and Sinners Literary Magazine. She is a displaced Texan living in South Carolina with her wife Teresa Williams and their dogs Spike and Charly. Her Texas roots are never too far from her thoughts.
This entry was posted in Humor, Lesbian Literary, Life, Personal, Random, Reflections, Slice of Life, The Way Life Is and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to My First Taste of Texas

  1. Pingback: My First Taste of Texas | I'll Call It Like I See It

  2. boblamb says:

    This is another stellar piece of writing, girl.
    P.S. Your buy it here link did not work on my IPad

    Like

    • Thanks so much Bob for your always most welcome support!! Another chapter of life written and The End. I will check out my buy it here link…no doubt I’ve done something wrong. I appreciate your letting me know.
      Hope you are enjoying being a beach bum!! Hi to Margaret, boys and dogs!!

      Like

    • P.S. Just checked buy it here links and they worked for me…who knows when it comes to cyberspace…look at Amazon prices. Somebody clearly knows something I don’t know…:)

      Like

    • Link isn’t showing up on my iPad. Sigh.

      Like

      • Hi Luanne,
        You are the second person to tell me that about this link problem with the iPad. Double sigh. It works for me, but I use windows?
        Please try my author website at http://www.writersheilamorris.com. to place your order and thanks so much for trying!! I really appreciate it!
        Sheila

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      • I’m looking at the books and thinking I want one of the memoirs so that I can do a review for my weekly memoir review bit on Writer Site ;). Which one should I get? Is that like asking which dog is the cutest?

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      • Luanne, I am happy to send you a signed review copy. Just email me your address at smortex@aol.com and I will get one out to you this week. The first memoir Deep in the Heart actually is a Golden Crown Literary Society Award winner so I will send that one to you. The other two were finalists in the nonfiction category. If you ask Teresa who is my most trustworthy critic, she would say her favorite is Deep in the Heart, too. 🙂 My personal favorite is I’ll Call It, but I think I’m the only one who would pick it!!

        Thank you very much for considering a review for me on your Writer Site! I’m honored.

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  3. Melissa Bech says:

    We will miss you here, cuz.

    Like

  4. Ed Bruce, a gentleman with a velvety smooth voice. Excellent post.

    Like

    • Thanks so much, plgcm! I LOVE that song and Ed Bruce, too. I also enjoyed your recaps of the ACM awards – really. The hour by hour was a fabulous idea. I may steal it for one of my award shows next year. 🙂 Well done.

      Like

  5. Heather says:

    Your Texas family will miss you…..even though I didn’t get to see you often it was nice “just knowing you were close.” Maybe someday I will get to come visit you in your now forever home.

    Like

    • Hi Heather,
      Yes, it was good knowing I had family near even though we didn’t get to visit much – I spent so much of my time with my mother and then my aunt. You all have such busy lives, too, and sometimes we just don’t get to do all we want to do.
      I so enjoyed visiting with Ann and Billie and Fred the other day before I left, though. She always entertains me with stories of your grandfather – one of my favorite people in the whole world. I still miss him, as I know you do.
      I appreciate your staying in touch with my blog through the years and yes, I would be glad for you to visit us in South Carolina!
      Love to you all,
      Sheila

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  6. Sheila says:

    S-slow, you always amaze me and empower me in my journey to be more mindful. Thank you!

    Like

    • S-go, thank you so very much for your kind words. It’s always good to know that my friends still read what I write! 🙂 The journey as a caretaker won’t get easier, but I know you and Caryn will step up and do the very best anyone can do. Daughters are like that.

      Like

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