A Very Texas Upbringing

some of the following anecdotes could have happened in a childhood in any part of the world, sure… but some are just so very Texan. and all are mine.

  • In the featured image of this post, my sisters and I are dressed to the nines in thrift store attire en route to our cousin’s tea party themed birthday. When we stopped to take photos at my grandma’s house, my mom noticed something slithering around the rim of her tire. It was a 5 ft rat snake. We had to wait for him to slither away before we could get back into the car, making us oh-so-fashionably late.
  • My sisters and myself all had a deep rooted obsession with horses. Oh, how we longed for the Texas stereotype “you’re from Texas? do you ride your horse to school?” to be true. I have a recollection of intense jealously upon learning that my older sister, Annie, spent an afternoon riding a pony named Cricket around Brackenridge Park.
  • RIP all the horses who drowned in the flood of ’98.
  • There is a photo in physical, earthly existence (nowhere on the Internet or in any sort of cloud, thank God) of me at age two with wildly curly brown hair, stark naked except for cowboy boots.
  • My grandpa, a very talented hunter, used to shoot down squirrels from the trees in his backyard so his Border Collie, Shepo #3, would stop his incessant barking AND have a new chew toy for the day. I once buried the remains of one victim in the most dignified squirrel funeral you could imagine.
  • Age 9, being a daredevil (see also: fucking idiot) and walking through a fire ant hill. Regretting it in three… two… one…
  • Not sure if it’s because we were poor or because my parents were just so unlike parents today, but if any of us kids were hungry between meals, we had two options for snacks: ice from the freezer or pecans from the tree.
  • My grandpa, the aforementioned marksman, once shot a turkey around Thanksgiving time in the late 1990s. Not sure if that was the turkey we ate, but he cut the wing off of the dead bird (so many pretty feathers!) and us kids played with it for days and days until someone left it in the backyard and the maggots got to it.
  • My siblings, cousins, and I used to hope and pray so hard for snow in the winter. I always think about that when I’m trudging through shin deep snow and slipping on ice in February in Pittsburgh: “YOU wanted this, you fool!”
  • I once spent an afternoon playing dead in the front yard because I wanted to trick a buzzard into thinking I was carrion so I could get a closer look at said buzzard.
  • We knew not to walk through a certain patch of our front yard because stepping on a sticker meant copious amounts of pain.
  • One summer, we spent what seemed like everyday playing a covered wagon game. We’d load our rusty radio flyer with whatever food we could scrounge along with pillows for my cousin, Christina, to sit on then walk the neighborhood for hours and hours in our own makeshift version of “Oregon Trail”. Luckily, there was never a single case of dysentery.
  • Whatever critters we could find, we’d keep as pets. I was 5 when we added the green gecko we caught to our hamster’s cage. The hamster ate the lizard. Or vice versa. Either way, both died.
  • Other caught pets included: garter snakes, a ferret, a pigeon, morning doves, and any neighborhood dog we could lure to our own backyard and claim as our own.
  • Although she was told not to play on the hillside of wherever we were, Annie didn’t listen and fell into a huge patch of prickly pear cactus and was covered head to toe in needles. My feelings on the incident went from “serves you right for not listening, you dumbass” to, once again, intense jealousy of all the attention she was getting.

oh what sweet nostalgia!

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