...thinking she was ready to get her yee-haw on, but shut my mouth and slap my grandma, I had another thing coming!
Everyday I enjoy learning from and observing Texans. They truly are a different breed down here, and two weekends ago I learned that maybe, just maybe, I'll have a harder time assimilating than was originally thought. Luckily, I have made some very kind and fun-loving Texan friends who are bound and determined to make me see the light of the Texas way of life. Two Fridays ago is a shinning example.
Dave, Chelsi and Jessica, friends I made at the church I've now joined, invited me to a country music concert featuring The Josh Abbott Band. The week before, Dave had lent me their CD and LP so I would be able to sing along at least a little during the concert. Growing up near Detroit, I am still suspicious and highly selective about my country music. That being sad, I found myself enjoying All of a Sudden, On My Mind and even I Just Wanna Love You and Good Night for Dancing. Yes, although I usually prefer my county songs to be about revenge on the ex, these last two prove that I do have a sentimental side. Awwww. Moving on!
The venue for this concert was a place called Big Texas Dance Hall and Saloon. Ya don't get much more Texas than this ya'll. Pool tables, 4 bar stations (where ya better order a beer son, non o' those fancy mixed drinks!), loud loud loud country music, and country decor complete with deer heads hangin' on the wall. In the center of this saloon is the "dance floor." I've never seen anything like this. Let me try and describe it to you. It's an oval shaped wooden floor, slightly elevated, with a bar in the middle, and counters with bar stools lining the outer perimeter. Apparently, this is what you call a two-step dance floor. It's great for, well, the two-step, a sort of waltz, polka, some country versions of swing, and of course, they manage to squeeze line dancing out there when Cotton Eyed Joe plays at the end of the night. This is the stage for my evening.
I spent a good 20 minutes deciding what to wear that evening. What does a northerner wear to a Texas dance hall? Can you Google that question? Maybe I should have tried, because I knew the moment I stepped in those swinging doors at Big Texas, I stood out like a sore thumb. I had my tight, dark, skinny jeans on, some wedge heels, a gray evening blouse with my big silver cross necklace (the closest I come to bling) and my cute new wristlet. Here's what everyone else was wearing: fadded and/or torn blue jeans/blue jean skirts, boots, cowboy hats, and all of their bling was worn from the waist down, i.e. big belt buckles and rhinestones on their jean pockets. I guess club/bar/evening attire doesn't directly translate from the metro Detroit area to south of the Mason-Dixon line. In the words of my friend Geoff, "maybe I should have Googled that sh*t."
So, while my Texan friends enjoyed their beers and sang along to the country music being DJed before the show, I took in the sights. We must have been an attractive group because a Big Texas employee came and asked if she could take our picture for their Facebook site. We agreed and grouped together for the picture. As I was smiling away I could just image one of those captions in children's activities books being posted beneath this picture, "Which one doesn't belong?" Note to self, wear more plaid next time.
In true Texas style, just as I was beginning to feel the lonely outsider to this Big Texas crowd, they brought me back in again and started to make me feel like family. The DJ did a musical 180, and guess who could be seen bouncing in her seat and head bobbing to Sir Mixalot's Baby Got Back and Usher's Yeah! ? That's right, this Imp. But I gotta hand it to those country girls, they know how to get their Usher on!
Once the concert started we moved to the front of the venue and closerto the stage. The band was a fun group humble enough to interact with the crowd and make jokes. I enjoyed myself. Maybe country music concerts aren't so bad after all.
We left close to 1 am and carpooled back in Dave's truck (what else would a Texan friend drive??) to our neck of the woods. Dave lives in my apartment complex so he drove us both home after dropping the others off. This is when possibly my favorite part of the night happened. And it's probably not what you think.
A few miles from the apartment we saw a group of deer crossing the road. They were the first deer I'd seen since moving to the Houston area, and I didn't realize how much I missed them until then. In Michigan, we affectionately call them Michigan speed bumps. Upon seeing them, I became so overcome with homesickness for Michigan and Michigan deer that I almost opened the truck door to chase after them...and probably hug one of the smaller ones if I could catch one. But I refrained, and not five minutes later I saw my first LIVE armadillo. Armadillos are Texan speed bumps. Dave must have read my mind about the deer because he told me armadillos are a lot of fun to chase. Probably easier too, I thought to myself. So there they were, deer and armadillos in the same night. Perhaps they were trying to tell me that I can still be a Michigander at heart while embracing Texas. But I thank God my bumper has never embraced either animal.