Sunday, January 6, 2008

Indigenous Tribes

"Originating where it is found." This definition makes me laugh. Boy hidy, if there was ever an indigenous tribe, it must have started with my generation in west Texas. We're just a different sort of people.

Where women were concerned, you just had to be made of sterner stuff when your brand new husband back in the forties told you that you all would be moving from Connecticut to west Texas. Sounded like quite the adventure if you hadn't seen west Texas yet. "Okay, let's DO it," you might have said. And, by the time you made it all the way west to Dallas, you might have thought, "Well, this could be worse. There appear to be civilized people here, beauty parlors and libraries. It's a lovely and temperate locale, so how much worse could the west of Texas be than this eastern part?"

Then, upon arriving in the tiny, dusty, flat, windblown acreage of tremendously ugly, one-story, ranch-style houses, you might have looked at your husband and said either, "I want a divorce"...or Have you lost your mind?"...or maybe "You'll be paying me back for this for many years, my darling."

Talk about making lemonade out of lemons. First things first..."We have to build a country club and golf course." No problem except getting lumber where there were no trees, but plenty of room for a golf course, except we'll have to bring all the water in to keep the grass growing.

"Now, we'll need future workers and a population to grow this God-forsaken place, and there is nothing else to do anyway, so let's have babies." Done.

Because our town of Midland was thusly named as it was halfway between the civilized, beauty-parlored, libraried Dallas and the REALLY wild town of El Paso, where there were still indians living and Mexicans just across the river...we had to stand out somehow so we discovered oil. And, our new dialect and slang sprang from a Yankee accent mixed with the lilt of the deep south.

Our parents raised new tribes of rapscallions who held debutante cotillions every year...children who were outspoken, brave and accustomed to foolishness because there was nothing else to do. Most of them could ride horses, dance a fox trot and knew the difference between a horned toad and a frog.

In retrospect and with respect, I am blessed to have been produced amongst the tumbleweeds and dust devils. It's lent me good humor, strength and an acceptance for being one hair off plumb. My tribe of west Texans are known throughout the world as amazing women who don't suffer fools or hesitate when given a nod.

I double dog dare you to travel there lest you might think I'm exaggerating, but bring some extra gas and a gallon of water if you're driving. There's a lot of nowhere near there and all the way around!



Ah, yes we are a fabulous tribe, aren't we? We are bred of the flow of the west wind, the strength of the vast plains, the clarity of the clear, blue skies and the frivolity of adventurous, entrepreneurial, young couples drilling wells and copulating in the back seats of Buicks at the Yucca Drive In. Either that or they got all hot and bothered just after a raucous party at the Petroleum Club whereupon always-drunk Claud did his imitation of W. C. Fields and then 9 months later became our Godfather. They were young in the late forties and early fifties and they were beautiful and they were rich. And out we popped already hooked on cigarettes and Black Jack bourbon.

We were cute though. And with a Wheeler-Dealer Daddy and the prettiest and most artistic mother west of the Mississippi, we were both adventurous and gifted. It's in our genes, those desires to see greener back yards and paint them with water colors; those needs to escape the dust and barrenness of the brown cotton-spotted fields and the urges to settle where a flower was not considered a rarity.
Our tribe is matriarchal and all the boys in high school knew that in ninth grade. And now that they are baby boomers, they are the best men around any poker table or VIP box at the race track because they know how to dress, treat the help and avoid flirting with the cocktail waitresses. They know good and damn well what will happen if word gets to the wifey that they were a little too nice to the hatcheck girl at the Country Club. His wife stands there with her hands on her hips and then crooks her finger at him and he obeys because he knows if he doesn't she will make him pay. She is a Goddess and she knows it. He is her servant and it works out quite well in the bed at night.

Watch out for us west Texas women because we tell it like it is, don't put up with bullshit and can drink you under the table. And the ones from Midland know where to buy the best Caviar, hold the most dignified charity events and hold everybody's secrets to the grave.

You interesting and talented in the arts? You got secrets? Join our tribe...

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