I’m noticing a trend. November seems to be a month of thankfulness, if my Facebook news feed and my Google reader feed are to be believed. Even conversations with friends recently have revolved around things for which we are thankful. So, inspired by all the rampant thankfulness, as well as a week wherein I have spoken to many people from my high school, I thought for today’s entry I’d play the thankful game as well.

I grew up in a tiny Texas town. Maybe y’all know this, maybe you don’t. But it’s true. I grew up in a tiny Texas town. And I hated it, guys. While I was there, doing my growing up, I hated it. I dreamed of big city life, life outside of Texas, specifically life in Seattle. I eschewed cowboys and scoffed at my friends when they’d raise their cans of Lonestar and toast to “Texas, forever.” (They really did, too. It’s not just a Friday Night Lights thing.)
I’ve been out of that small town for over ten years now. And, as always, with time and distance comes perspective, even thankfulness. I’m starting to realize how lucky I was to grow up in that tiny Texas town called Granbury.
You see, my small town Texas upbringing taught me some valuable life lessons. I learned that joy isn’t exclusively found in the big city life. It can just as easily be found in the following scenarios:
-Friday nights spent in my old Tercel with my bff Jill, driving through Taco Bell to get our large Mountain Dews, blaring Blink-182’s Cheshire Cat album on the stereo, and doing furtive drive-bys of our crushes’ houses to see if their cars were outside.
-Saturday nights spent at the little one-screen movie theater, watching a movie we’d seen 10 times before, then heading up to Eckerd’s drug store to talk to Matt Saunders while he worked the late shift in the photo lab.
-The adrenaline rush of acting as lookout while a group of friends tp’d house after house, only to get caught by the cops and have the shit-loving tar scared out of us for life. (Okay, maybe this only happened once.)
-Sitting in the front seat of a friend’s truck, smashed between Blake S. and Kurt Ranslobber while Blake turned doughnuts in a muddy field and Hank Williams, Jr. wailed about country boys being survivors on the radio, cheering when the truck would skid and mud would fly over the hood, roof, and bed, then giggling when inevitably the truck would get stuck and another truck-drivin’ friend would come with a tow rope to pull it out of the mud.
-Heading out to someone’s parents’ land in the country, building a bonfire, and gazing at the stars, Lonestar in hand while we talked about our dreams for the future: who wanted to marry whom, how many kids we wanted, how we couldn’t imagine being as old as 30, how we’d always be friends and college wouldn’t change that at all.
I’m thankful for my time in Texas, y’all. I may complain about the heat, the politics, and the landscape. I may cringe when I accidentally tell my roommate, “I’m fixin’a go to the store, y’all need anything?” It might not have been glamorous but it had a huge part in making me who I am today. So to you Texas, I say thank you. Thank you for teaching me the value of friendly small talk. Thank you for teaching me to love football and how to shoot whiskey without flinching. And most of all, thank you for teaching me to find my happiness in people, in my friends and family.
Texas forever, y’all.