City Girl in a Small Town
We don’t know what today holds so here is a fun story to give some smiles underneath the tears.
I grew up in a suburb of Los Angeles – I’m a city girl who is used to lots of people, buildings, concrete, and busyness. Although I spent a semester of college in North Texas, it was still not the full Texas small town experience. Not to worry, I got what I wished for. In December 2003, Simon was falling madly in love with me and took me to his tiny hometown near the border of Arkansas and Louisiana to spend the weekend meeting his extended family. I’m from a city of over 100,000, surrounded by many other cities about the same size, that sprawls for many miles. Simon is from a town of 5,000 surrounded by a few other much smaller towns with lots of open space for hundreds of miles. It’s quite the paradigm.
Within a few hours of arriving in Atlanta (Texas, not Georgia), we were pulled over by the town police. I was following every traffic law and was dumbfounded – until I realized what was really happening. “Hey there ma’am, sir. What’s with the California license plates?” Ahhh, yes. Curiosity. “Officer, I just drove in from California. I plan to obtain my Texas plates within the week. My boyfriend is from this town.” He eyeballs Simon and says, “Son, who’s your daddy?” Simon said his father’s name and the officer replied, “Well, you tell him I said hello. Ya’ll have a great night.” Wow. I was already in love with the guy, now I was falling in love with the country charm.
The next morning, we were hanging out on his back porch. Word was spreading that he was in town so one of his cousins drove over in his big ‘ol truck with his Australian Shepherd guarding the truck bed. Pretty sure having anything that’s alive in a moving truck bed is illegal in California. And I thought Simon’s accent was strong and was fascinated that it could be stronger as I tried to decipher everything his cousin was saying. They wrapped up their conversation and his cousin casually mentioned he was going to feed the cows. I blurted, “FEED THE COWS?! I WANNA GO!” He stared at me for a moment and realized I was completely serious and TOTALLY EXCITED. He asked how long it would take me to get dressed. What was he talking about? I was ready to go in my capris and flip flops. In December. To feed cows.
He helped me into the biggest truck I had ever been in. We started along and I was wide eyed in awe of the new surroundings. “So, Mr. Cowboy man, do you have any guns in this here truck?” I teased. “Four.” He replied, unflinching. He even pointed out each one – pistol underneath his seat, back up in the glove compartment, hunting rifle behind us, and some other gun in the back. Ok, maybe I was a little intimidated now. I moved the conversation to something lighter as I looked at his Big Gulp cup. “Whatcha drinkin’? I asked as I peered into the cup. Oh. Um, tobacco. I shut up and took my rightful place as feed-helper for the next hour.
The rest of the outing was fairly uneventful. I’m sure his cousin was thoroughly amused watching me dodge cow patties in my flip flops that brisk morning. But to this day, I love Texas. The unpretentious vibe of Downtown Fort Worth, the glamour of Dallas, and the heart in every small town. Years later, there is still a bit of thrill driving in to the country and those open spaces where life slows down a bit.