That said, there are memories and images and moments that will tug at my heart, and I will feel a sense of loyalty and even a bit of that Texas pride for my origins. When Michael and I took a road trip at Christmas, cutting through West Texas from El Paso and on to San Antonio, we spent the night in Kerrville, Texas, right in the heart of the "Texas Hill Country", where I used so spend summers at camp and my family would spend Thanksgivings. I will always remember my experiences raising sheep for the local 4H club. Never was I so surprised as when I won a blue ribbon for "showmanship" with one of those idiotic lambs, considering that I never worked with the animal. Not once. But somehow it performed that night, to my wonder and surprise. Nor was I ever so happy as when I sold those beasts - usually to a family friend, because despite the lambs' youth, the meat wasn't very good (I think South Texas is just too hot of a place to raise good lamb).
A few years back, my parents gave us cowboy boots for Christmas, and they are, without a doubt, some of the finest shoes that I will ever own in my life. We went out to a ranch north of my parents' place, and they measured our feet and our legs and we picked out everything - the leather, the design, the type of heel (I chose a lower "walking" heel), whether we wanted toe bugs (stitches on the toes) or not. A few months later, my parents surprised us with them for a wedding that we attended. The rehearsal dinner was country western-themed, so we danced all night in those boots. They were so comfortable, that despite never having worn them before, it seemed that I could spend the rest of my life in them.
Last night, we went to the movies and watched "Crazy Heart", and yet again I felt that twinge of sentimentalism about Texas and country western culture. I did not LOVE everything about the movie, but I really did like the main character played by Jeff Bridges, and I also loved the music. I don't listen to much country music, and I passionately hate the crap that comes out of Nashville (there was definitely a joke about the fabricated Nashville music in the movie). But some good, soulful country music, by the likes of Lyle Lovett, Lucinda Williams, Willie Nelson, and Merle Haggard touches me rather deeply and takes me back to a childhood memory or two, especially if I'm driving through the not-yet-tamed parts of the American West or feeling nostalgic about Texas or small towns or the places and spaces in between.