June 28, 2013

Texas Tales..."I Found Summer Today"...

I found summer today. I knew it was here, but to me, it just wasn’t official yet because the official announcement hadn’t been made by the unofficial icon of summer. But today and literally out of the blue, summer made its official announcement and simultaneously took me back to my long, gone childhood. I walked outside at around 2:00 and the sun was directly overhead. It was blazing hot and a low-hanging, heavy haze filled the sky. Suddenly, there it was. Can you hear it? Can you hear the ratchety-cadence of summer? A Cicada, or as we called them as a kids, a “locust” was buzzin’ the “cicada serenade” in the top of a tree across the street. Yep, it's official now, summer is here. Welcome to Texas, Summer.

As a child, summer was the most welcome time of the year for me. The heat didn’t affect me at all and to this day I still love summer the best. Late sunny evenings, day fishing trips, long bike rides all over the county and swimming were the activities that awaited us as the last school bell of the year peeled out announcing our three-month stay from the doldrums of education. And almost in harmony, the cicadas would begin singing and buzzing their song of summer.

Up with the dawn, chores out of the way and a shiny quarter in our pocket, away we would go. As we rode our bicycles toward the downtown area of the little Texas hamlet I grew up in, our eyes were focused like lasers on the sides of the roads, anxiously looking for that tell-tale, sparkling glint, beaming off of the glass "coke" bottles, lit up by the blazing Texas sun. Just coke bottles you say? Well, as with most folks in Texas will attest, every carbonated beverage sold back then was a "coke". The conversation would go something like. "I'm going to buy a coke, you want one?" "Yeah, I'll take one." "What kind?" "A Pepsi."....

The bottles lay hidden in the Johnson and Bermuda grass that grew in and around the ditches on either side of the road. On a good morning, we could find ten or twelve bottles and at a nickel apiece that would garner another $.50 to $.75 to put in each of our pockets to help fund that days adventure. In 1968 a dollar in the pocket of a ten year old was a heap of money, considering an ice-cold "coke" was only $.15 and a Baby Ruth bar was only $.10.

After we sold our "roadside bounty" at the local grocery store, it was on to the square, where we’d feast on the fresh peaches, watermelons and cantaloupes that were being offered up by the local farmers and ranchers in the shade of the old Fleming Oak Tree. The Fleming Oak is a county treasure from the days of the Cowboys and Indians and a reminder of the squabbles that had to be won to settle the rough and haggard land of Comanche County. The story goes that Old Man Fleming climbed up in that tree and was not letting anyone cut it down when the county decided to clear a spot for the new courthouse. And if they tried, he would not hesitate to use his old “Number Ten” on them. No one was sure if it was the ten gauge shotgun that was laying across his lap, or the heavy leather, sized ten boots he wore on his feet. The folks decided that it just wasn’t worth the time or pain that might be inflicted to find out which of the two it was. So, the tree is still standing proudly as ever on the square.

The Fleming Oak had a special place in Old Flemings heart from his childhood. As a young lad living with his family on the wide-open Texas Prairie, he claimed that this very tree saved his life as he rode desperately to save himself from a blood thirsty party of Comanche Indians. He said he climbed up into the tree and scared his horse away and just in the nick of time, too. The Indians rode right on by and never knew he was up in the tree. I can imagine how many cicadas have made that old tree home over the centuries. Oh if their song could be understood by us, imagine the stories they could tell.

From the square, we’d head south to the lake that sat three or four miles just outside of town. I’m amazed that us kids made it through all of those summers, what, with the sun baking down on us at over 100 degrees most days, riding bikes on those old two-lane country roads dodging cars, trucks, tractors, motorcycles and any other object that flew around every curve and topped every hill. We’d finally make it to the lake and spend another quarter to cool ourselves at the local swimming pool. It was nestled at the edge of and old oak tree line at the southeastern side of the lake and it was surrounded by ancient pecan trees. And there was always a symphony from the cicada choir to keep us company as we swam the summer away. 

By the end of the day, we were all starving, worn out and charred by the sun and we still had to make that three mile ride back home on that old Farm to Market road we came in on. But the good part of the ride back is that it was virtually down-hill all the way. So, soaking wet from the afternoon swim we’d fly down that hill back toward home as the cicada’s cheered us on from the worn and gnarled mesquite trees that lined that old road in the dusty cow pastures. And even though it was 100 degrees outside, we’d be shivering for the first few minutes ride, as we were all soaking wet from the afternoon of swimming. But in no time at all, sweat would begin to bead up on us once again. As we rounded the last curve before the city limits sign, we would always draw a sigh of relief. We were almost home, only another mile or so, down FM 16 into town, past the square and a right on Walcott and we were home in ten minutes. 

As we coasted into the front yard and threw down our bikes, most Saturday nights would find the smell of fried chicken filling the air. Mama was working her magic in the kitchen and she would always shout out her disapproval of the sunburns we’d received that day. But in the end, she always offered up her prized Aloe Vera plants that she kept on the front porch to cool down the effects of the blazing Texas summer sun. Taking turns, we’d slather one another’s back with the gooey, cool gel that oozed out of the Aloe Vera and always brought immediate relief to our scorched bodies. 

With supper over and the night coming to an end, we would all go sit in the old red metal lawn chairs that were in the shadows of the carport. The cool metal always seemed to ease my burning skin and the heat of the day that was still hanging like a wet blanket on to the muggy Texas evening. The cicadas were still full of life and it was the sound of home and summer. We’d all sit and talk over the day, maybe play catch with a baseball for a bit or laugh at a colorful story mama always seemed to have at the ready. And then, one by one, the cicadas would end their daily performance. And almost on que, the lightning bugs would begin to light up the Texas night sky. Yes, summer was finally an official season now, because the cicadas were here and had officially taken over summer with their welcomed buzz. Everything good and right about summer was in place now and life was grand.

Welcome to Texas, Summer…

The Impulsive Texan

June 21, 2013

West Texas' rugged beauty, through the eyes of Wyman Meinzer's, "West Texas"...

The rugged beauty of Texas is unparalleled and unforgettable. But none so unforgettable as the region known as West Texas. From the Cap Rock, to the mesa's of far West Texas, there is no other land like it. Mountains, valleys, rivers, boulders and high peaks, this land is as unforgiveable as it is unforgettably beautiful.

Take a trip  and see through the eyes of Wyman Meinzer, the State of Texas' Official Photographer, this vast and gorgeous land that we Texans are so proud of.

So sit back with a hot cup of coffee, turn up the speakers and enjoy this unforgettable trip, through West Texas.

God blessed, West Texas...
The Impulsive Texan

June 14, 2013

New Post...Texas weather, from "Handbook for new Texans"...

This weeks post is about  the weather. Now there's nothing more unpredictable in Texas, than the weather. It can get cold, it can snow, but don't let anyone tell you different, it gets hot in Texas. There are rules about the heat in Texas, in which you'll read about below.

This is an important segment in welcoming our new compadre's from other states, because it just wouldn't be right to not tell our new friends about the balmy weather here in Texas...

If you’ve watched the news or have lent an ear to a weather report at any time in your adult life, chances are you’ve heard about how hot it is in Texas. Well, heat is relative. The summer heat index has been known to hover above the 115 degree mark in the Texas summertime for days and weeks on end. But the surface of the sun is around a million degrees, so the weather here in Texas is actually quite balmy if you rearrange you thinking.
Our winters seem like they last twenty minutes and are usually from around January 15th until the first week in February if we’re lucky. The average winter in Texas is shorter than the bow hunting season which lasts from the first weekend in October until the first weekend in November. It has been known to carry on as long as six weeks though, in extreme winter conditions. And there have been stories of snow falling during that time. With the winters in Texas, you don’t even have to put your summer clothes away. Keep ‘em in the closet, the winter will be over before you get them cleaned and stored away.
The heat in Texas makes you rethink your lifestyle once you get here. No longer will you see if you can sneak into the closest parking spot at the mall. Oh no, your priorities will now be to find the closest shade tree or an open shade tree for that matter. And there are two rules in Texas about the heat...if you have a vehicle with leather or faux leather seats, one… ladies, don’t wear short shorts in the summer time and crawl straight into your truck in August. You WILL lose a 20 square inch area of skin on the back of both of your thighs. The seats are like an awaiting oven burner. Always keep a towel spread out over your seat when you leave for more than a minute or so.
And two…use a bandana to open the door to your truck. The average temperature in August in Texas is probably 173 degrees and you will lose a fingerprint or two if you touch the door handle. So think “bandana” before you burn.
Rule of thumb…Spring lasts about as long as a long lunch break. You get to work in the morning and it might be 48 – 50 degrees. But by the time you get off of work and start heading home, the summer has come to stay for the year.
Summer lasts from early February or March until the better parts of late November. And the average temperature during that time is a little warm on average and right at 100 degrees on most summer days.
So, think and don't burn! Keep cool this summer! Welcome to Texas!

The Impulsive Texan

June 10, 2013

Fathers Day...Texas style...

Well, I woke up this morning pretty much dead sore from the neck down. Every bone in my body is aching like I hit a brick wall at a full out sprint. My muscles feel like that inch-thick, gelatinous fat cake that forms at the top of the pan above the Christmas ham, after it’s been sitting in the fridge for a day or so. At this point, I would give anything for a full body massage, a wide-open IV drip of a morphine/coffee cocktail and a full body cast. You’d think from this description I would have been involved in a massive wreck, rode a PBR bull named Spike or had gone ten rounds with Muhammad Ali. Nope, nothing that dramatic. I was a willing participant in a full-day outing of…golf.

I know what you’re thinking. Golf? Yes, golf. Here’s the thing. My three youngest sons work odd hours that might include nights, days and sometimes the weekends. And with Father’s Day upon us, they wanted to take me to do something memorable.

I’ve loved the game of golf, since I began playing in the late ‘70’s back in my Navy days. Back then, it wasn’t uncommon for me get in a round of golf every afternoon. I played a lot, but I was in a lot better shape. I know round is a shape, but it’s not conducive to physical activity, especially if there is effort involved.

My sons took up golf earlier this year and fell in love with the game like I did so long ago. With this past weekend being the only weekend all three of them had off together for about a month, they sprung the surprise on me. Little did they know they were about to unleash a painful reminder on me of just how out of shape I truly am.

So your next question is, how can you be so sore after playing golf? When I was active duty in the Navy, you had to work out if you wanted to pass the annual physical fitness test and not be put on the “fat boy” program. So, four or five days a week, I’d involve myself in some sort of sport…softball, golf, weights, tennis, touch football or jogging. I was in top shape when I was their age. But, I don’t work out at all now. Let me repeat that. I don’t work out, AT ALL! And I ain’t their age anymore and this morning, that’s painfully obvious.

One promise I made to myself and have kept up faithfully, is that after I retired from the Navy, I’d NEVER work out again. Well by golly, I’ve kept that promise and yesterday proved that aching truth. I’m 55, severely out of shape and wondering where did that svelte, thin, muscular body go to? I mean, I’m ONLY 55. I shouldn’t look or feel like this! When the boys told me we were going to play a golf course in Fort Worth, I was excited and was anxiously awaiting our tee time.

I overlooked the first of what may have been several hints as to how bad of shape I was in, when I pulled the clubs out of storage. I struggled to put the bag on my shoulder, all the while thinking, “What’s in this bag, a body?” No matter, I easily had the bag in the truck after I strained, lifted and grunted for a full minute shoving the bag to the top of the tailgate. Then, I propped it up on my knee and finally in one mighty heave, I lifted it up, it hit the tailgate and crashed to the ground. So I had to start all over. Of course, I had to take a break after that. I didn’t think I was going to have the strength to lift my arms over my head to close and lock the storage building, much less put the bag in the truck. So, better sense prevailed and I lowered the tailgate, lifted the bag and finally had it in the truck. I don’t remember the tailgate ever being that heavy. So, lifting, turning myself around and shoving the tailgate closed with what energy was left in my jello, err, legs, the tailgate successfully closed. So before I even get to the course, I need a muscle relaxer. I met the boys at my youngest son’s house, we piled everything into his truck and took off. How did my bag get into the back of his truck you might ask? Good ole fashioned guilt.

They all pitched in and paid for my green fees and we drove the carts to the back of the truck, where I ingeniously used gravity as my companion to put the bag on the back of the cart. I scooted the bag’s bottom directly above the tray where the bags rest on the cart and kind of dropped it into place. It looked like I meant it that way and no one was the wiser.

The first twelve holes I saw the old magic return. I had three drives in excess of 250 yards and shot a respectable 50 on the front nine. And this is after not having lifted a club for over ten years. But don’t let that impress you too much. The thirteenth hole was waiting.

It was as if my body flipped a switch between twelve and thirteen that brought an immediate shut down of my strength, agility and desire to play this torturous game. The driver that I had swung so freely and powerfully, suddenly was an anvil in my hands. It hurt to put the ball on the tee and I almost paid one of the boys to place it for me. But, my mind thought through the pain and I managed to get the ball on the tee…after I got on my knees and steadied my shaking hand. Twelve holes and I’m reduced to a whining, aching mass of pain. I was suddenly a victim of two kinds of seizure…joint and muscle.

Up to that point, I was schooling the youngsters on the finer aspects of the gentleman’s game of golf. At the thirteen hole, I suddenly had a renaissance, an epiphany of sorts, that made me rearrange my thinking. This game stinks to high Heaven and is for those that have psychotic tendencies.

Well, since I was unable to hit the ball down the fairway at that point, I would throw it on the ground and give it a swift kick down the fairway. My arms felt like broken, numb appendages that were useless and had evolved into lifeless stumps over the course of the last five hours.

Finally, the last putt falls, the flag is back in the hole and we’re all in our carts headed to the parking lot. As I’m falling out of the cart, desperately groping for the tailgate of my sons truck, I hear a conversation developing. The three of them… have decided… for the four of us… we’re going to a nine-hole course and continue this madness! Silly me, I thought they were doing something nice for me today instead, they’re driving me to each hole with the final one being a hole in the ground!

By this time it’s late afternoon and we’re all starving. So we go to the local buffalo wing place and take a seat and start cooling down. They were laughing and cutting up while I was in the corner melting into a puddle of sweaty, exhausted fatigue. The food came and I started downing the cold water as I ravaged my plate. It was like I couldn’t get enough. We sat there for at least an hour and I slowly felt the pain and stiffness subsiding. I’m not sure if it was the twelve wings, half order of pulled pork nachos and the six tenders I ate or the half gallon of water that was bringing me back. I also suspect that half a bottle of Tylenol I ate like plain M & M’s on the way to the restaurant might have helped too. Nonetheless, I was starting to get a second wind. Sort of like an old tomato plant that’s wilted to the ground due to lack of water. Well, my stems were rehydrated, my stomach was full and I was feeling better. But it wasn’t the “run the Boston Marathon” better, but the “I can now walk without getting a charley horse”, better.

By the time we arrived at the second course, I was ready. I was still a bit stiff and had an aching neck, but I silently whimpered through the pain to the first hole. I didn’t want the boys to think I was a washed up has been, complaining old fart, so I jumped up on the tee first and placed the ball on the tee, without effort mind you. I wiggled, waggled and took a swing. A solid connection with the ball and it was in the air headed toward the pin. The ball landed softly on the green, about 10’ – 12’ to the left and pin high! Yay me, I’m back!

We played through the last eight holes and to my amazement I finally worked out the kinks in my swing and in my body and I won the round. I shot a 36 and the boys shot 39, 39 and 41. I was still a bit stiff and sore, but nothing compared to the few hours prior.

As I look back today, I’m reliving the glory and the pain of yesterday, mostly the pain, but it was a fantastic day regardless and I can’t wait to get out there again. If one positive thing has come out of this, it’s that I now realize I’m not 25 anymore and that my body has its limits. I’m definitely not in any shape to partake in continued physical activity that requires walking, swinging your arms and breathing at the same time, without an extended period of warm up. But another plus is that it has made me think, maybe it’s time I re-thought that whole “I’m not working out ever again”.

As I drove to work today, I let my mind at least visit with the idea of starting a new workout routine. Of course I’d have to start slow or the pain would be back with a vengeance. So what should it be? Walking, running, stretching? I’m thinking all three…walking to the fridge instead of hollering at someone to bring me iced tea…running away from exercise instead of just turning my head… and finally, eating absolutely anything I want and stretching the limits of the waist band in my jeans. Sounds like a mighty fine plan to me.

Vaya con Dios mi amigos y amigas! God Bless y’all and God Bless Texas!


The Impulsive Texan

June 7, 2013

Texas Music...Now on The Impulsive Texan

It's no secret that Texas has a thriving music scene. From the blues down in Houston to the honky tonks in Ft Worth out to the Red Dirt sounds outside the city limits signs, music is alive and well in Texas.

I'm tickled plum pink to say that Texas Music has landed on The Impulsive Texan Blog. Come visit and connect with "Radio Free Texas" an independent, web-based site that streams your favorite tunes by your favorite Texas artists.

On The Impulsive Texan page, the link to "Radio Free Texas" is in the right column, just under the "DFW Bloggers" link. Click on the link, turn up the volume and kick back and enjoy some good, Texas music. Even our friends around the world can get first hand listening in, to the finest music in all of the land! Who needs Nashville, when you've got Texas Music?

Y'all have a good weekend and remember God blessed Texas and God bless all y'all!

The Impulsive Texan

June 5, 2013

New Post from the "Handbook for New Texans"...this weeks subject? Hunting...

There are three activities in Texas that border on obsession:

1. Football
2. Fishing
3. Hunting

Since it's less than 90 days away until the opening weekend of dove season, we're going to cover the subject of hunting this week. You can hunt just about year round here in Texas and you can hunt just about anything that lives and breathes, crawls, runs, jumps or slivers in the great Texas outdoors. The whitetail deer in Texas is king with no other season coming close in popularity. But you can also hunt dove, quail, rabbits, squirrels, hogs and even alligators. To say the least, there is a great variety of hunting choices here in Texas.

It's a right of passage for youngsters, whether boy or girl, to learn to hunt here in Texas. When born, a youngster here in Texas is given a birth certificate, a hospital bill and daddy's rights to his hunting lease. It's been that way forever. A dowry of sorts.

Hunting is an activity that provides food for the freezer, fellowship with other hunters and an excuse to git out to the "Beer-Lease", OH, uhhh, I mean, the "Deer-Lease!" "Oh no mama, we ain't gonna be drinkin' no beer at the lease!"

The most popular Q-sine at the deer camp is chili and beer. Others may git fancy and bring boloney sandwiches, Vienna Sausages, Potted Meat and crackers, but those folks just mess up the efficiency of chili. You can open up 40 or 50 cans and leave it simmerin' over the fire all weekend and you don't have to worry about lunch or supper or breakfast for that matter. It'll feed a camp full of hungry hunters for just pennies a serving. Just scoop up a bowl full, add some crackers and dinner is served!

You know there are going to be rules and suggestions for hunting in order for the new Texan to make a smooth transition into making a better life here in Texas. And with that said, our subject of hunting and the rules to understand begin below.


The first weekend in September is the opening day of dove season and is the most anticipated day in Texas each year, because it ushers in yet another time when men and women will be headin' to the woods and fields to harvest the bounty that God has so graciously provided. And the first weekend in October, which is the opening of bow season is another sacred day. From September 1st until the extended hunting days are over in January, all other activities will cease, except for Friday Night Football, in the case that your favorite team makes the playoffs.

If you don't remember but one thing about hunting, make sure you always follow the golden rule of hunting in Texas… Consume what you harvest, period.

Here are two suggestions for non-hunters to cope with hunting season in Texas:

1. Learn to enjoy hunting yourself, or,

2. Learn to cope, the closing weekend in January ain’t that far off.


When packing for the hunting trip, the following items are essential:

1.  Chili
2.  Beer
3.  Camouflage shirts, long sleeve and short sleeve. It might be 90 in October
4.  Camouflage pants
5.  Cell phone charger for your truck...a good game of Angry Birds can suck your phone dry.
6.  Lawn chair
7.  A blanket for the bed of your truck, or a tent
8.  A sharp hunting knife, for whittlin'
9.  Flashlight and batteries, for the midnight nature call
10. Aspirin or Tylenol, whichever you prefer, to help with the hangover
11. Washers or horshoes, depending on which side of the family is there
12. The latest Deer Hunting app loaded onto your I-Phone
13. Sunglasses, to cover your bloodshot eyes
14. Fishing gear...there might be a tank on the property with fish in it.
15. and last but not least, a gun and ammo, 'cause you might actually see a deer.

'Til the season begins, God bless all y'all new Texans and God bless Texas hunting!
The Impulsive Texan

June 4, 2013

Texas town names...some of these make you wonder what they were thinking!

I'll be the first to admit, we Texans have a quirky sense of humor. And the following list shows just that. So sit back and read up on some of the strangest names for towns you've ever heard.

Now, this is not an all inclusive list. If I did that, you'd be reading this for days!

Need to be cheered up?

Happy, Texas 79042
Pep, Texas 79353
Smiley, Texas 78159
Paradise, Texas 76073
Rainbow, Texas 76077
Sweet Home, Texas 77987
Comfort, Texas 78013
Friendship, Texas 76530

Love the Sun?

Sun City, Texas 78628
Sunrise, Texas 76661
Sunset, Texas 76270
Sundown, Texas 79372
Sunray, Texas 79086
Sunny Side, Texas 77423

Want something to eat?

Bacon, Texas 76301
Noodle, Texas 79536
Oatmeal, Texas 78605
Turkey, Texas 79261
Trout, Texas 75789
Sugar Land, Texas 77479
Salty, Texas 76567
Rice, Texas 75155

And top it off with:

Sweetwater, Texas 79556

Why travel to other cities? Texas has them all!

Atlanta, Texas 75551
Buffalo, Texas 75831
Detroit, Texas 75436
Colorado City, Texas 79512
Denver City, Texas 79323
Klondike, Texas 75448
Nevada, Texas 75173
Memphis, Texas 79245
Miami, Texas 79059
Boston, Texas 75570
Santa Fe, Texas 77517
Tennessee Colony, Texas 75861
Reno, Texas 75462

Feel like traveling outside the country? Don’t bother buying a plane

Athens, Texas 75751
Canadian, Texas 79014
China, Texas 77613
Dublin, Texas 76446
Egypt, Texas 77436
Ireland, Texas 76538
Turkey, Texas 79261
London, Texas 76854
New London, Texas 75682
Paris, Texas 75460

No need to travel to Washington D.C.

Whitehouse, Texas 75791

We even have a city named after our planet!

Earth, Texas 79031

And even another planet:

Venus, Texas 76084

And a city named after our State!

Texas City, Texas 77590


Energy, Texas 76452


Blanket, Texas 76432
Winters, Texas

Like to read about History?

Santa Ana, Texas
Goliad, Texas
Alamo, Texas
Gun Barrel City, Texas
Robert Lee, Texas

Need Office Supplies?

Staples, Texas 78670

You guessed it… it’s on the state line:

Texline, Texas 79087

For the kids…

Kermit, Texas 79745
Elmo, Texas 75118
Nemo, Texas 76070
Tarzan, Texas 79783
Winnie, Texas 77665
Sylvester, Texas 79560

Other city names in Texas to make you smile

Frognot, Texas 75424
Bigfoot, Texas 78005
Hogeye, Texas 75423
Cactus, Te xas 79013
Notrees, Texas 79759
Best, Texas 76932
Veribest, Texas 76886
Kickapoo, Texas 75763
Dime Box, Texas 77853
Old Dime Box, Texas 77853
Telephone, Texas 75488
Telegraph, Texas 76883
Whiteface, Texas 79379
Twitty, Texas 79079

And our favorites…

Cut n Shoot, Texas
Gun Barrell City, Texas
Hoop And Holler, Texas
Ding Dong, Texas
Muleshoe, Texas