I’m not much of a Texas girl at heart, not really. I have lived in Texas for a large portion of my life and I have never really fancied myself the big hair, cowgirl boots, dancing to Garth Brooks kinda gal. This is slowly starting to change. I’m not sure I will ever fully cross over, but slowly I am allowing myself to enjoy the kitschy moments that this Lone Star State has to offer.
My husband is from a small town about 45 minutes west of Fort Worth. His father and step-mother still live in that small town and we often get to visit. They live on a few acres and occasionally have goats and miscellaneous creatures that seem so fascinating to me, the girl who grew up in Arlington, TX, which I kindly refer to as “The Land of Strip Malls.” Usually I try desperately to convince my father-in-law that he should start raising mini-pigs and floppy eared bunnies, for obvious reasons (they are adorable.) He laughs at me and launches into some story about the time he tried to [fill in the blank] and why he would never do it again. All while chuckling and being just about the most charming person you could ever hope to meet.
This past weekend Zachary and I made the trek up to Fort Worth to visit the Stock Show and Rodeo with Frank (my FIL). I was really excited about this. Partially because I absolutely hit the jackpot with my in-laws and I love spending time with him, and partially because I knew this was one of those rare opportunities where I’m not only allowed to, but expected to put on my Texas girl panties*. I swear to God I have never seen so many cows. And rhinestones. And sometimes rhinestones on cows.
I also had the best time.
Upon arrival to the Stock Show we dove right in. We walked up and down every aisle of the vendor areas, and made sure to stop for snacks along the way. I had a wonderful time observing and sampling everything with Frank. He was so patient with my curiosity and has no problem stopping at every booth. Frank is also a genuine gifter. If he sees something that he thinks you’ll like, he will drag you over and make sure that you know you are more than welcome to it. He is also keen to notice when you have your eye on something. I didn’t grow up with a genuine gifter as a father so this is a new thing for me. Frank saw me eyeing some really beautiful, hand-crafted cutting boards and made sure to know that I was absolutely leaving with the one that I wanted. I was instantly nervous and questioned him, “are you sure?!” to which he chuckled and said, “Sure, I’ll think about it and get back to you. Sir, will you wrap that up?”
From there we went on to get some monogrammed hats with our family name and sit in on a few cattle auctions. My boys patiently walked through five very long rows of bunny cages so I could take a picture of them all. We indulged in cinnamon roasted almonds and some lite beers to finish off the day. It was one of the best days I have had in a very long time.
I’m not sure where my appreciation for cutting boards came from, but the Nason men seem know that it is the way to my heart. Zachary got me a cheese board for Christmas and now Frank has added to my collection. Perhaps it comes from my undying love of gluten and cheese. I really do love them both. So much.
Or maybe it comes from the moments that happen around those plates. My husband and I practically lived off of cheese plates on our honeymoon (we are visions of health, people). I love having friends over to snack and daydream. I like taking the time to lay out the plate to be full of all the best bites and picking over them with the ones I love. I enjoy taking time to break bread and share it with those I treasure.
I am currently plotting how to get myself invited to the yearly Stock Show trip that Frank takes simply to wander the aisle with him and Zach. It is not lost on me that I have a great gift in having in-laws that I want to spend time with and that truly enrich my life. So if being in Texas means hanging out with Frank, I guess I’m okay with Texas.
*figuratively speaking… I’m fairly certain there aren’t actually “Texas girl” panties