|The Damndest Lady You Ever Saw|
Texas is my home, no matter how far away I am from her. I'll celebrate the 175th anniversary of her Freedom in my own way here in New England with my wife and kids. Maybe I'll tell the girls, 4 and 8 years old, what it menas to be free of tyranny and oppression. Maybe I'll show them pictures of the 267,000 square miles of the Damndest Lady You Ever Saw and watch them spellbound by her beauty. I'll tell them about where I was born and some of the places I lived and traveled to from all around the State. There's plenty to teach them so I am sure I won't run out of material. I have a ton of great personal stories to tell them about times I spent with people I still consider family. I don't mean to leave anybody out, so I am gonna make a short list of those who have touched me in a profound way and remain in my thoughts and prayers on a daily basis.
I have to start off with the Randles. For a number of years it was a rare bear of a weekend that I did not spend at the "Randle Compound". They treated me just like another son and I can't express how honored and blessed I was during that time. I loved all of them, but Randy was my brother. I still consider him to be so. He's one of the best men I have ever had the privilege to know. Damned Hootus. :)
Another real good man I know from Texas is Mark Duggan. Mark and I have been through a lot together and separately abd have always had each other's back. In the truest sense of the word, Mark is my brother. No questions asked. I love my brother.
Having known so many men of good (and dubious) character, the man who stands out amongst all these incredible people is Tommy Thompson. I knew Tommy for almost thirty years before he died three years ago. I'll never have a better friend. Period. I recently learned that on his death bed, he asked for his Brother, Cecil. For the first time, I wasn't there for Tommy. It still gnaws at my heart to know that I was so far out of touch with a man that I loved like he was my blood. That's one thing I'll never be able to make up for and it's killing me inside. But you know what? I know Tommy understood and would forgive me, but even that loving gesture doesn't take away the guilt I feel for failing my Brother when he needed me more than ever. I'll live with that until the day I die. Tommy, I miss you every day, man. It'll be a cold day in hell before I meet a better man and friend.
Those are the things and people of Texas that I'll talk to my little girls about. Things and people that make Texas the extraordinary place that is, 175 years after gaining her Independence. But the again, the men and women of 175 years ago were pretty damn good role models for all Texans of past, present and future generations. They also left with us an indomitable spirit that pervades our culture and our beliefs. A will that will not be destroyed by mortal men nor defeated by any other son of a bitch that has such a foolish notion. Don't mess with Texas is much more than a "keep Texas clean" slogan, it's a way of life for all Texans. A Texan can be called a Redneck, but the offending party will have to go home and tell his Mama he got his ass kicked by a Redneck.
Texas. She and I be mates.