Tourists, hitch-hikers, Americans, foreigners, DamnedYankees even,
Comin’ in on Route 66. They seemed to get their kicks kickin’ Texas.
Stationed at Fort Hood…passin’ through in the middle of some
Marriage, move, vacation with the kids; before, durin’ or after some war.
They had a love affair with San Antone. Sure everybody knows Texas.
If you really want to know, ask a Texan
Farmer, rancher, townsfolk
They’ll tell you all about those folks
Passin’ through durin’ the depression
Ridin’ buses and trains
Nursin’ “broke-down” cars, then movin’ on
The real folks stayed when there wasn’t nothin’ to eat but peanuts,
And nothin’ to do all day but play Forty-two
Cows sick with screw worms
Cotton ruined by boll weevils
Frozen crops every spring
Fruit eaten by the damn birds
White faces of baby Herefords
Long green grass going’ to hay
Cotton gins at Christmas
Elevators filled with grain.
Country churches at Thanksgiving
Midways at County Fairs
Stars on summer nights
Then sandstorms, tornados, rain
Or ask those city kids–confused by the new size of the cities
Used to be nothing’ more than big old towns
Mom and Dad moved there to get away from little towns–
Dried up stock tanks, one main store and a bad cafe,
A bankrupt high school and always the weather.
Now they staff PTA’s, drive car pools, train soccer teams,
Weed lawns, barbecue on suburban patios, and watch the
YEAH, BUT THEY’RE STILL TEXANS!
Can’t you hear it in their voices?
See it in their smiles?
Or feel it in their edginess
Worried you may embarrass them
Tear off their veneer
Leave them like the land–
Bare, flat, and windswept
Open to space and the
Ravages of the universe.
© Gay Reiser Cannon. All Rights Reserved