I was a teenager by the time I realized “Bubba” wasn’t a real name. I was in college when I learned that not all adults still called their fathers “Daddy.” I can still remember my fourth-grade teacher standing behind me, offering pointers on the pastel painting of a horse I planned to submit to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo art contest.
When I briefly aspired to be a video jockey, my mother, a seventh-generation Texan, whisked me off to elocution lessons to rid me of my habit of putting three syllables in the word “egg.”
My relatives can’t pass a field of bluebonnets without impromptu family portraits.
My twang was blunted by those long ago elocution lessons, but I still say y’all and might warn that something’s “fixing to tump over.”
I’m still very much a Texan. And each year, Coast Monthly celebrates what it means to be a Texan and, in these pages, celebrates a big part of our culture — rodeo season.
As we produced this issue, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, only about a week in, was canceled in an effort to stop the spread of coronavirus. Hours before we began printing this issue, organizers of the Galveston County Fair & Rodeo still were planning the event, scheduled for April 17-25, although they were closely monitoring guidelines about public gatherings that were changing hour by hour.
Whatever happens, this issue is still dedicated to all the students, teachers and parents who put so much work into preparing for fairs and rodeos. And they’re deserving of support.
The students featured in this issue should be commended for their sheep-riding contests, their Western artwork, raising livestock and continuing a rodeo tradition that has served youth across
Galveston County since 1938.
What it means to be a Texan is different for everyone. What it means might change in the details during days ahead. Living on the upper Texas coast, we’ve been here before and have always shown extreme class and civility in hard times. That is universally Texan and that’s what we should hold to.