I remember exactly where I was when it happened. I had moved away from home to college and was going through the proverbial “finding myself” phase. Living in a shabby dorm that hadn’t been updated since campus hero LBJ had been in office (although we suspected maybe not since he was an undegrad at SWT himself), one begins to search for things.
Meaning. Purpose. Friends. Girls. Fun.
I was homesick one gray, early fall afternoon as I put in a dip of Timber Wolf Wintergreen. I was playing Madden on Playstation. Music was on in the background. Not just any music, but Pat Green’s “Songs About Texas” cover. It was a burnt cd and the next track was Gary P. Nunn’s “London Homesick Blues”. Much like Gary P. putting himself back in that place on the Luckenbach recordings, I was transported back to my buddies and my tiny hometown. The ones who had gotten me hooked on Copenhagen and hell raising. Next song up, Charlie Robison’s “My Hometown”. The lyric “I went to college like they asked me to, but they didn’t ask my friends…” slammed me like Earl Campbell hitting a middle linebacker in the A gap. Next song was PG’s “I Like Texas”…and everything was fine. The world was right. I felt almost dare I say cocky all of a sudden.
I was always aware of my identity as a Texan, but I trace my acceptance, realization and acceleration of outward state pride to that moment on that gray afternoon in San Marcos. Each of us born in this state comes into the world with that pride. It’s inside us. It exposes itself at varying times and to varying degrees of loud and proudness. I have a Texas shaped tattoo on my arm and a Texas shaped sticker on my pick-up. Yeah, I’m one of those…but I’m also smart enough to not carry that with me across state lines. Nobody likes a braggart Texan traveler less than a truly proud Texan.
Realizing you’re a Texan and what that entails is a magical moment. To some it’s nothing to note, but to most of us it’s a transcendent life experience that shapes us to our core for the rest of our years. It informs every fiber of your being. You have many identifiers, but none quite as grand as Texan.
We are unique, we are stubborn, we are proud, we are strong…we are special.
I think we all know many reasons all of those descriptors are accurate, but the past week has proven to the world…better yet, reminded the world why we are all those things and more. My Texas heart and pride has been bursting. First with sadness and despair as I watched my friends and neighbors suffer unimaginable destruction. But, as we are wont to do around here, thousands were headed into the worst of the storm before it was even over. They were loaded down with supplies, boats and a there’s work to be done so let’s do it attitude. It was inspiring and beautiful to watch.
Guys I’ve known for years in all manner of capacities dropped what they were doing, loaded up and headed south. The web developer from a metro area. The cowboy from the Hill Country. The salesman from Dallas. The outdoorsman from north Texas. The musician from Lubbock. The office manager from San Antonio. The business owner from Waco. And there were thousands like them.
I sat at home and watched it unfold and my Texas pride met my human guilt and I felt compelled to act. As I said in social media posts, I don’t own a boat and I couldn’t head down there to help out in person. But, what I could do is band together with my musical brothers and sisters to provide a fundraising network. And with that spark, a massive coalition was formed within hours. People from all over this music scene soon rallied to develop a cause near and dear to all of us.
We had a goal to set up something on the level of FarmAid or USAforAfrica. We are Texans after all, so why not go huge. Our people need it. And will need it for quite some time to come. Over the course of many email threads, text conversations, conference calls and face to face meetings we’ve put together an infrastructure so amazing that when the next tragedy happens, we’ll be ready at once. We won’t have to build the foundation, just explode with charity.
Yeah, I like Texas…ain’t it fine here boys and girls? Even at its darkest hour, it most definitely is.
-The group we created, TexasMusicFlood, is hosting a series of shows…mainly on Oct 8, but on some other dates too. Find one near you and help us hit our $1,000,000 goal!
-Dove season and HS football start on the same day today. Texas rejoices.
-We’ve gotta speed up gameplay in HS and college football.
-Labor Day weekend also means it’s West Fest time. Pivo and polka isn’t just a good time, it’s a way of life.
-Our podcast brothers, Donovan and Bobby continue to grow The Co-Write into something everyone should be listening to. Artists–jump on with them (and sometimes me) to tell your story.
-The Astros are going to win it all this season and it couldn’t happen to more deserving fans. I’m a Rangers fan.
–This month’s recommended album: Ray Wylie Hubbard – Tell the Devil…I’m Gettin’ There As Fast As I Can. Some dude on Twitter called Ray Wylie a syllable crammer. He is. Of the highest order. And thank the lord. We should also all be thankful that he’s a groove jammer. When you can combine a syllable crammer with a groove jammer, life is good. So is the album. And the Devil will have to wait.
-“Of all the things I’ve lost, I miss my mind the most.” – Mark Twain