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The International Writers Magazine: “Next time I tell you someone from Texas should not be president of the United States, please pay attention."
-Molly Ivins

• Fred Wilson
I like Texas. I’ve been there a number of times. During my third trip there I sat next to a real cowboy while heading south. He was en-route to his ranch. I was heading for Mexico. Texans love to talk. This guy rambled endlessly about the great state of Texas. I never got a word in edgewise. After three hours of his lecturing me about Sam Houston, Texas history and the cowboy culture, my patience had worn a trifle thin.
Houston Cop

Texas is a land of contrasts. Where else can a person enter a tony business establishment dressed like a hippie, go to a washroom, strip down and take a complete bath in a sink while smartly dress millionaires file pass, smile and say ‘howdy’ completely oblivious to you as you soap up? Try that up North and you’ll soon be clapped in irons and issued a hefty fine.

Texans are plain speaking, brassy, down to earth, yet incredibly friendly folks and their women drive me wild with that sexy southern drawl! Texans will tell you what’s on their minds in a minute whether you like it or not; just don’t get ‘em riled. I made that mistake years ago when I lived in South Chicago in my younger days. An attractive neighbor lady and native Texan wanted me be more than just the neighbor next door. I refused. I made an enemy for life. Her verbal attacks on me didn’t let up until I had left the neighborhood years later.

Texans take a paternalistic attitude towards non-Texans. Case in point: Years ago when I was young, thin, and didn’t walk like Quasimodo I was passing through Houston en route to Guatemala City, Guatemala via Greyhound. In those days I ‘dogged’ it everywhere. When the bus pulled in to Houston the baggage attendants asked me why was I in town. I told ‘em I wanted to watch an Astros game. They politely but firmly informed me that I couldn’t visit their city. They cited Houston’s astronomically high crime rate and feared for my safety. The attendants then directed me to the waiting room and ordered me to sit until they reloaded my stuff on to the connecting Laredo bus. I didn’t’ argue.

As I sat in my chair I struck up a conversation with some young mothers waiting for their bus. Judging by the leather straps they had around their necks in case they had to ‘whup’ their kids I deduced these stern faced yet attractive women must have taken lessons in child rearing from my Mom a devout believer in ‘strap diplomacy.’ After about an hour the attendants said that all was ready for me to board the bus to continue my trip further south. This act of kindness was one of many during my visits to Texas. From the stern friendliness I experienced I would imagine people would have a hard time being lonely in such a friendly cocoon like atmosphere so unlike frosty northern and snobby eastern cities. I think Texans are like the Marine Corps; they make the best of friends - the worst of enemies.

Austin Texas is one of those places where folks either praise it to highest Heaven or consign it to a fiery Perdition. When I was walking through Dallas I struck up a conversation with a man at a bus stop. He told me how clean Texas cities were but sternly cautioned me about the state’s no nonsense criminal justice system. Texas incarcerates and executes more criminals than most other US states combined.

The saying ‘don’t mess with Texas’ is more than empty braggadocio.

There are plenty of things to do in Texas. If you’re in to sports there’s the Houston Astros and Texas Rangers in baseball. Football fans will rave over Dallas’ Cowboys, particularly their gorgeous cheerleaders, and the Houston Texans. Basketball aficionados have three NBA teams to root for; the San Antonio Spurs, Houston Rockets, and Dallas Mavericks. All three teams have won national championships! For hockey fans there’s the 1999 Stanley Cup winner and frequent visitor to the Playoffs the Dallas Stars. In addition to pro teams there are numerous high school and collegiate teams in all sports.

Texans take their religion, beer, barbeques, sports franchises, beauty contests very seriously. To do differently is unbecoming of any true Texan. If you like to fish, hunt, herd cattle, drink, shoot come to the Lone Star state. Texas has world class universities, medical, financial and cultural centers. Like most places there’s something for everyone though on a much grander scale in Texas. See you at the rodeo after the barbeque, partner.
© Fred Wilson

American Samoa
Fred C. Wilson III

American Samoa’s total land mass is a mere 76 square miles. The main island of Tutuila covers roughly two thirds of the total territorial land mass and is hom

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