February is always a great time in Texas. It's the time of the big thaw, meaning that all of us liver-bellied heat-seekers can stop whining that it's only 40 degrees outside. The first lush tufts of grass and buds appear. The weather is crisp and cool, and the sky the amazing blue that we're famous for.
In Texas, February is spring.
February is the time when people visit Houston and say, "This isn't so bad," as they sit outside on the patio and drink mimosas, knowing that they are going home to a frozen tarmac and three more months of winter.
February is also the time of the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, which is a phenomenon in itself. On the Friday before opening day, there are literally hundreds of trail riders on the freeway -- well, the feeder road -- on their way to camp out in one of the largest urban parks in America. And provided you're not in a car behind them, they really are a sight to see.
Looking the part
Houston does not look like what most people expect, in that it is one big metropolitan mess of green. But we do our best to make up for that little oversight by embracing our inner Texans. This is a place that loves western wear.
We come by it rightly, I suppose. Great huge parts of Texas were really cattle ranches -- I think King Ranch is the size of Rhode Island and it's just one spread. But here in Houston, most of our history was made by swindlers and businessmen. I guess it still is. But they like their cowboy style.
It's hard not to get bit by the bug. Playing cowboy comes easily if you watched enough tv growing up. The best cowboys (and cowgirls!) are as smart as they are tough, and they're kind of known for their big hearts. The ones I've met are also wry (one of my favorite things for people to be). They' tell it like it is. And they will give you a good laugh if you earn it.
The worst cowboys are . . . well . . . see Rick Perry.
So, here's where I am after 35 years in Texas: I don't listen to country and western music much, but I like it when I do. The stories are simple and the lyrics are easy to learn.
I broke down and bought a pair of cowboy boots a couple of years ago, and I immediately learned to love the lift and the look.
I am a fan of good barbeque, and say "y'all," and exercise my right to yee-haw.
So why was I surprised that I got a big dang lump in my throat when I witnessed the tail end of the trail ride while walking the dog last week?
All these years have made a Texan outta me, I guess. Can I get a hell yes?
Her Point of View
Designer Paule Hewlett takes on design, culture and modern life.
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"Life is too short for ugly dish towels. Really, ugly anything."