8 Rites of Passage for Every Kid Who Grew Up in Texas
1. Wearing Texas regalia for a family photo at least once.
As much as Texans don’t want to fully embrace the stereotype, that doesn’t extend to dressing up their kids in a cowboy hat, bolo tie, and boots when it comes time for family pictures. If you’re lucky, it’ll just be you alone. Heaven help you if there’s a picture out there with you and your family in matching cotton shirts and spurs.
2. Going to a primitive summer camp.
We’re the types to get down in the mud with primitive cabins filled with black widows. What better way to finish a day fighting the Texas heat and skeeters between outings fishing, hunting, and horseback riding than to relax around a campfire with s’mores.
3. Being part of the Texas plays at school.
I still remember my lines: “Oil, oil! We’ve struck oil! We’re… rich!” Texas history is studied side-by-side with American history. From recreations of the Battle of the Alamo to finding oil out west, our school plays reflect this.
4. Getting a beer for your dad… and stealing a swig.
“Son, grab me a beer, would ya?” It’s an image you usually associate with the opening scene of a Law and Order episode, leaving the six-year-old stumbling over a dead body near the fridge. In actuality, it’s not quite so brutal. Texans learn pretty quickly about the importance of beer to their fathers (and mothers), and are probably tempted to sneak a quick drink just to see what all the fuss is about. My first Budweiser was nasty.
5. Going to Six Flags, Wet n’ Wild (now Hurricane Harbor), Schlitterbahn, or Sea World….
In exchange for good behavior.
6. Pretending a snow day is everything you imagined it would be.
It doesn’t matter where you grew up in Texas, from the Panhandle to Brownsville: there wasn’t any snow stopping you from going to school in December or February. On the rare occasions when it would fall without getting mixed into slush on the ground or melting within a few hours, we had to pretend this was just like a blizzard up north; a half-inch of snow was good enough for sledding (and stopping because there wasn’t enough snow) and building a tiny snowman.
7. Avoiding slides in the summertime.
We might be relaxing in the park with a pint of Blue Bell’s mint chocolate chip and feel the need to hit the playground. The only problem is, in Texas, so intense is the summer heat we often couldn’t even grip the metal bars of the jungle gym. Nowadays, they’ve all but eliminated this problem by coating some of the equipment, but it used to be a ride on the slide was suicidal if you weren’t wearing long pants.
8. Texas-shaped foods.
One of my favorite foods growing up was a simple Texas-shaped pasta with butter and salt. My parents would only make it as a treat, but I noticed there were other foods resembling the Lone Star State: Texas cookies, Texas waffles. When I first visited another state — maybe Florida — I wondered why all the people didn’t have their flag on all their shirts, cars, bags, and jewelry.