About “Native Texan”
When I was a boy growing up long ago in a working-class suburb of Waco, my dad had a potato chip route. From maybe age 5 until I was about 12, several days a week each summer, I was his Creamer's "Clover Fresh" Potato Chips helper. Leaving home about 5 every morning in our yellow delivery van, we called on grocery stores, beer joints, cafes and hamburger stands in small towns within about a 50-mile radius.
That step-in van - picture a bread truck with open sliding doors on each side - was my classroom; my dad and his customers, my teachers. Hurrying back and forth from truck to store during the long, hot days, balancing in my arms boxes of potato chip, corn chip and pigskin packages, I learned about hard work, learned about people.
I also learned that towns and cities, like people, are intelligible. I came to appreciate their distinctive and particular personalities.
"Native Texan" owes its origins, you might say, to those folks from my Central Texas past, to my dad, to Creamer's "Clover Fresh" Potato Chips. I like what Abilene humorist Murray Edwards wrote not long ago about Texas existing in a kind of parallel universe, an alternative reality.
Each Sunday, "Native Texan" visits that reality, past and present, in all its Lone Star manifestations.
The column samples the particularities - indeed, the peculiarities - of place. I also explore how my fellow Texans have taken the hand they've been dealt - place, fate, family, circumstance, luck - and crafted a life, not unlike a poet acknowledging the rules and limitations of a type of poem and creating a work of art. I explore crafted-in-Texas lives, maybe even works of art.
I hope you enjoy the column. Whether you're a native or whether you became a Texan just as soon as you could, I hope you'll make the column a conversation about this place we call home. Let me hear from you, via email, Twitter or Facebook.
Note: The column runs every Sunday in the Houston Chronicle’s City & State section. You can read the current column and past columns online at: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/author/joe-holley/
You can also find links to my column and related material on my facebook, which I invite you to “like” at: https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Joe-Holley/296218067166702