HOUSTON – Why I Love Living in Texas is a weekly feature where Texans share why they love living here. If you want to submit your story, send a column to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Growing up on the South Side of Chicago I never imagined that I would one day live in Texas and call it home. My early knowledge of the state came from my Uncle Dudley who lived in Corpus Christi and Victoria.
I never had the opportunity to visit him before he passed away when I was a young child.
In 1989, I applied for the Weekend Anchor/Education Reporter position at KPRC-TV. When my then-fiancé and I arrived for the interview, we didn’t know what to expect. What we found was a warmth, openness and “you can do anything” attitude that immediately drew us in.
From the cab driver who gave us a crash course on Houston on our way to the interview, to my soon-to-be colleagues at the station, we were welcomed with open arms.
We couldn’t wait to begin our new life in Texas.
I will never forget the day we were introduced to one of the state’s quintessential rights of passage. We staked out on our apartment balcony, watching and waiting.
And all of a sudden, there they were. A line of trail riders as far as the eye could see...right down the middle of Holcombe Blvd.!!
It looked like a misplaced scene out of an old western movie. There were groups in covered wagons and scores of single riders, one after the other, all shouting “howdy” and wildly waving their cowboy hats. I quickly ran to get mine, so proud that I even had one, and I waved and shouted right back. “Howdy!!” A huge grin on my face the entire time.
I was now, at least in my mind, a true Texan!
Looking back, that might have been the beginning of my love affair with the state that has grownstronger with each passing year.
From presidents, first ladies and governors to local and national leaders in private and public service, I have been blessed to meet, interview and become friends with many of our state’s most notable daughters and sons.
I have been equally blessed to meet, interview, get to know and share the stories of everyday Texans doing their part to make this a better world. I am humbled and honored to have been entrusted with telling those stories.
Though I am no longer on the KPRC airwaves, my commitment to telling those stories remains stronger than ever, especially during this age of COVID-19 when we need each other more than ever. That same sense of warmth, openness and inclusivity that we felt 30 years ago upon arriving in Houston, is readily on display as we face the existential crisis of our time.
We applaud our exhausted healthcare workers and first responders, putting their lives on the line to save us.
We make masks for them, and for each other. We grocery shop for seniors.
We find ingenious ways to stay connected while physically apart.
We do what it takes to survive through a crisis, while having faith that better days lie ahead.
We rescued each other during Harvey. We welcomed New Orleans neighbors into our homes during Katrina.
We have stepped up during countless other catastrophes that challenged us to the core, only to reveal once again who we are.
We are not perfect, but we do our best with what we have. We have grit.
We don’t profess to know it all, but we seek to find the answers. We innovate.
When we mess up, we fess up and try to do better next time. We are resilient.
We are Texans, and we are proud Americans.
Almost 26 years ago I gave birth to a Texan, a beautiful baby girl whose beloved Texas roots willforever link us to this state.
So Texas, you’re stuck with us.
There’s no place like home.