#5: Diversity. I know. Texas isn’t exactly known for it’s diversity and the diverse voices are lost in the din of conservative whiteness. However, I would never have been exposed to the Tea Party (yes, I did not vote for Ted Cruz), Rick Perry, guns on campus, and abstinence only sex education. I was truly guilty of affiliating only with like-minded people prior to moving to Texas. Living in Texas reminded me that there are lots of people who don’t believe in the same causes and political processes as me. It did drive me nuts, but we still were neighbors.
#4: Bling and Boots. When I was in seminary, my sports med doctor tried to get me to wear cowboy boots. He was the Denver Broncos team doctor and he he wore only cowboy boots. He even wore them in the operating room! He told me they were the best footwear for those of us who had destroyed knees. Of course, I didn’t listen. In fact, I couldn’t believe grown men wore cowboy boots and cowboy hats as regular church attire, but I was a young, naive California girl who moved to a conservative Western state.
Now I lived in Texas and I gave cowboys boots a try. Actually, I was having a hard time finding any footwear for my replaced ankle and knees and tried cowboys boots as a last resort. Dr. Talbott was right! I am now a believer in cowboys boots. But to really maximize the fashion statement of boots, a well-dressed woman really does need a little bling. Personally, I don’t think you can ever have too much sparkle. California women would help ward off the granola effect if they wore a little more sparkle.
#3: Health Insurance. Texas has more uninsured people, 27.6%, than any other state, but I was not one of them! I paid an obscene health insurance premium to be included in the state’s risk pool (pre-existing conditions precluded me from receiving regular coverage), and I was eligible only because I moved to the state with health insurance. I was canceled from the Texas risk pool when I moved to California and I am not eligible for ANY health insurance in California for six months! When I have been without any coverage for six months, I can apply for a risk-pool-like program. The premiums are about $1,000 per month so it’s not exactly affordable. I am one who will benefit from Obamacare in 2014. In the meantime, I’m sure I’ll have some tales from the indigent, uninsured world!
#2: A Handful of Friends. We were blessed to have a handful of great friends in Texas. It’s harder making friends when you move when you’re older, self-employed, and don’t have children at home. But these handful of people have that famous Texas hospitality and welcomed us into their circles. One couple we’ve already seen here in California and we know they’ll be back because they’re often out visiting a longtime friend. We’re able to keep up with the others thanks to social media and technology. In our disconnected connected world, it’s more and more challenging developing truly precious friendships. Maintaining the ones you do develop is worth cultivating, even if from afar.
#1: My Brother. My brother wasn’t one to stand on ceremony, so when I told him we were moving to Texas in 2008, his comment was, “Why the f#!@ would you move to Texas?!?” I told him I that maybe living among his people (he said graduating from Cal turned him into a redneck), I’d come to understand his warped worldview. Living in Texas did give me much to banter about with him. Now he’s the reason we’re back in California. Every time we talked, he’d ask me when we were coming home. Now I’m home and he’s not here.
We don’t ever really know what’s in store for us this side of eternity. That’s why it’s so important to make the best of what we have to work with where we are and the people who are around us. If someone had told me that I’d live in Texas for almost five years, I would never have believed them. Once we moved to Texas, I put down roots and I did not intend to ever move again. Well, we know how that worked out. I may not have become a Texan, but some of Texas did get into me … and for that, I’m thankful.