If you don't live in Texas (or Oklahoma), you might have thought that this long holiday weekend was about a plundering Spanish explorer who landed on the shores of North America thinking he had made it to India, and you would be...WRONG.
This weekend was about football, pride and bragging rights. Yep, this past weekend was "Texas-OU", or as we call it in these parts, the Red River Showdown.
Going into Saturday's game, Texas (2-4) was a 17 point underdog to #10 Oklahoma (4-1). I think it's safe to say no one really expected the Longhorns to win this one - but win they did! Not only did they silence the haters, now even if it's not a winning season - it will by definition be a good one, because the Golden Stetson and all associated bragging rights (it's shiny, and kinda like jewelry) comes back to Austin for another year (and Oklahoma dropped from #10 to #19 in the FBS ranking).
We Texans are a proud people, and we like to wear our pride on our sleeves, our heads and our ears. My mother loved being a Texan - even when she was living on the east coast - she identified with the Lone Star State and pined for it in her absence. She was so happy to be back when she and my dad moved to Dallas in 1990. In the five years they were here before returning to DC, we saw more than one Texas-OU game (but not all of them ended as well as yesterday's).
With that on my mind, I thought I'd write about some of her Texas treasures. I've written a lot about my mother's jewelry - yes, she had diamond earrings, elegant hoops and several James Avery pieces that were definitely fine jewelry, but she had "fun" jewelry, too. That's not so surprising - while she was frighteningly smart and could be a very serious person, she also had a wicked sense of humor and loved to have a good time. So, when she didn't have to look professional, she donned her more whimsical baubles.
She had two favorite pairs, and she brought them whenever she and my dad would come to Austin for a visit. I don't remember where, but I found the pair of armadillos before they moved to Dallas and sent them to her. She loved them - and whenever people asked, she was more than happy to talk about Texas - nice people, good food, and no, not everyone rides a horse or has an oil well. I don't know where she found the Texas shaped ones with the stone bluebonnets, but I know why she choose them - she loved Texas wildflowers, and always tried to come to Austin in the spring to see them.
I've been thinking about my dad this weekend, too, as today would have been his 80th birthday. I miss them both terribly - but am grateful for my wonderful childhood, their constant support, and the amazing example they set for me as parents and in their marriage. When I picture them in my mind, it is in moments like this one - from 1998 - when we were all in Texas, happy, healthy and together (if you look closely, you can see that Mom is wearing the armadillo earrings).
As I mentioned in my last post, we have entered into the period of non-stop celebrations that lasts until after the new year - including some other very special birthdays this week...one of my college roommates and BFF (hers was Sunday), my brother and my nephew today (you read that right - my father, my brother and my nephew were all born on the same day), and my brother in law - with whom we'll celebrate next weekend.
I love all my shiny things, I really do - but it is the stories that go with them, and the memories they hold - not the precious stones or metals that make them so special.
Until next time.