Wednesday, March 23, 2005

On being neighbors

I think that many people really wish they were Texans. If you aren't a Texan, click the preceeding link. There will be a test. Here is a photo I took of one of our State Mammals - the nine-banded armadillo. Kind of ironic to see the cross on the grill of the semi isn't it! Mmmmm … roadkill chili! But, I digress …

There is a persistant flocking of folks to our great state and they are all welcome here, regardless of their origin. There is just something about Texas; especially about being a natural-born citizen of Texas. It's a pride, a certain swagger that native Texans recognize in each other. It's like a state-of-mind thing, a mindset, reminiscent of the open range and the true Texas cowboy humility that comes with being raised here. The state motto is: Friendship.

Several years ago, some very nice folks moved next door to Stomps With Foot and me, citizens of Iraq. Kurdistan to be more specific - a very long way from home. A dad, mom, and four children, two of whom are attending the same elementary school that my children attended. They are fluent in both Kurdish (sorry, I don't have a better name for their native tongue) and English. It is a hoot to hear them discussing matters and intermixing the two languages.

Very hospitable neighbors who invite us in for a smoke and some very hot, very sweet tea. We chat, while their Kurdish newscast is beamed via satellite to their TV in the living room. We sit on "Persian" rugs, not on a couch. We take off our shoes when we cross their threshhold. They share their food with us; bring us Kurdish specialties of every sort imaginable. Stomps With Foot and I are a little uncomfortable with their constant sharing - because we know so little about their customs.

We are learning them though, and are richer for the experience.

We talk about politics, the left, the right, the Turks and the Saddam Hussien regime. We discuss tragedies and world misery. We discuss everything one would discuss with any neighbor and delight in the faces of their young children.

I think I will barbeque a real Texas meal for them soon.

Welcome to Texas - one and all.