Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sometimes a country girl at heart

You know what they say? "You can take the girl out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the girl." Substitute person, man, boy, individual, woman for "girl" and it's more or less the same effect. Despite that I gravitate to more urban and metropolitan areas, having lived in or around a number of cities as an adult, I grew up outside a small town along the U.S.-Mexican border in Texas, a fact that surprises many people when/if I tell them. Not that it's a well-guarded secret, seeing as I frequently visit my family members who still live there, but I like to think that I've pretty much shed my accent and most any trace of Texas from my being.
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.


Kim said...

I've been wanting to see that movie! I don't know if I'm a city girl or a country girl. I joke that I'm a suburbs girl. There is something about a simple, small town that's appealing. I can see why there would be nostalgia and sentimentalism involved :) said...

I think I saw a small part of that movie on TV the other day! I think??

I am a total city girl. I grew up in the suburbs of LA and it was SO far from everything that I vowed to never live in the suburbs again!

I love the fact that your husband does all the decorating. It would make my life so much easier if my husband had a clue. But he doesn't and so I continue muddling along. :)

Kristina said...

Well, I could never actually live in a small town these days, I just suffer from the occasional twinge of nostalgia. On occasion we play with the idea of moving to Denver or Boulder, CO, but even those places seem small, both literally and figuratively, and lack the verve and life that we enjoy here in LA. Although we aren't in the middle of it all anymore, we love that we have access to a million different things.