Showing posts with label Texas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Texas. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

A young college student who works in a Texas kolache bakery: Why I know she will succeed in life

 My wife and I recently traveled to Waco, Texas, to attend a dear friend's funeral. Our drive home to Baton Rouge took us through College Station, the home of Texas A & M University.

We had left Waco early in the morning without eating breakfast, and we were hungry. I pulled into a gas station near Texas A &M, which happened to house a kolache bakery.

If you've never eaten a kolache, you should search out a bakery that makes them. Kolaches are a yeast-roll pastry topped with fruit or stuffed with sausage. They originated in Czechoslavakia and came to Texas with the Czech immigrants who settled in central Texas in the nineteenth century. Texans are crazy about the Kolache, which is sometimes called a Texas donut. 

 I walked into the kolache bakery and ordered two cups of coffee and three kolaches stuffed with sausage, cheese, and jalapenos. I was served by an attractive young woman who welcomed me with a smile and a friendly greeting. 

The kolaches were delicious.  They were each topped with a thin slice of jalapeno that had been baked into the yeast roll. That little jalapeno slice was something extra--both a garnish and a message that these particular kolaches were stuffed with hot peppers. 

While we were eating, the young woman began conversing in Spanish with another employee who was diligently mopping the bakery floor.  I imagine they were brother and sister. How quintessentially Texan: a family-owned Hispanic bakery that specializes in Bohemian pastries. 

I noticed then that the woman who served me was wearing a t-shirt bearing the name of Texas A & M's Mays Business School. Undoubtedly, she was a business major at the university or an MBA student.

That woman will make a success of her life. How do I know?

First, she has basic work skills. Although selling pastries is a menial job, she did it cheerfully and professionally. She has the workplace skills that will serve her well, whether she spends her whole life selling kolaches or working for Goldman & Sachs.

Second, she is bilingual.  Texas is now a bilingual state--not at the level of Canadian Quebec, but the Lone Star State is rapidly heading in that direction. This woman's language skills will serve her well throughout her life.

Third, she chose to major in business--a major that will probably lead to a good job. Not for her those vacuous programs in the social sciences, liberal arts, or ethnic studies.  

Finally, this young woman is working while in college and probably has minimal student loans or perhaps no student debt at all.

I wish more college students were like the woman who sold me three kolaches. We would be a stronger nation if young people graduated from college with this woman's work skills, language proficiency, and an academic major that will prepare them for a good job.  

PS: Purists call a sausage-filled Czech pastry a klobasniky, but most Texans refer to both fruit-filled and sausage-filled pastries as kolaches.

Is this a klobasniky or a kolache?

Saturday, December 12, 2020

"You can go to hell. I'm going to Texas." Hewlett-Packard, Oracle, and Tesla are heeding Davy Crockett's advice

 Davy Crockett went to Texas after he lost his seat in Congress.  "You can go to hell," he told his political enemies. "I'm going to Texas."

That decision didn't work out so well for Davy. He was killed in the Alamo by Santa Anna's army. 

Despite Davy Crockett's bad luck, many Americans are heeding his advice and moving to Texas.  Hewlett-Packard, Oracle, and Tesla are three corporate giants relocating to Texas from California, and thousands of individual Californians are making the same move. 

I think they are making the right decision. Many people have migrated to Texas since the day the Alamo fell, and most of them have prospered. I am one of those people. I went to Texas as a young man and graduated with honors from the University of Texas Law School in 1980. Forty years later, it is still my proudest professional achievement.

Even as a child growing up in Oklahoma, I knew that Texas was different from the rest of the United States. My family occasionally visited my Aunt Ann and Uncle Grady, who lived in Borger, Texas, in the bleak Texas panhandle. As we crossed the Texas border on old Route 66 in our 1958 Chevy, I would see that Lone Star flag snapping in the Texas breeze, and I knew things were better on the Texas side of the border.  

What does Texas have that the rest of America doesn't? I think it is a distinct heritage that Texans remember on at least a subliminal level--a legacy of courage, risk-taking, and supreme self-confidence.  

Texas, after all, is the only state to have once been an independent nation.  For ten years--from 1836 until 1846--Texas was on its own, and it organized its own defense against the marauding Comanches--the world's finest and most ruthless light cavalry. 

Ed Bruce perfectly expresses my sentiments about the Lone Star state:

When I die, I may not go to heaven.
'Cause I don't know if they let cowboys in
If they don't, just let me go to Texas
Texas is as close as I've been

I'm 74 years old now, one year closer to death than I was a year ago. I once comforted myself in the belief that my end would be marked by a Catholic funeral Mass. But that won't be happening.

So now my instructions are these. When I die, just let me go to Texas. I wish to be cremated and my ashes scattered over the upper Colorado River near the historic Regency Bridge in West Texas.

It will comfort me to know that my friends and family will assemble somewhere to eat Texas barbeque after my ashes are scattered. I hope they will commemorate my life by toasting me with cold bottles of Shiner Bock and perhaps listening to some of my favorite songs. 

Maybe the immortal Ernest Tubb will croak out the words of Waltz Across Texas. Perhaps someone will play a recording of the Texas Playboys playing Roly Poly, Big Ball's in Cowtown, and  San Antonio Rose

When my friends gather for my farewell party, I  hope they will listen to Johnny Rodriguez's rendition of We Believe in Happy EndingsIf so, that will certainly be good enough for me.

Shiner: "The beer your mother would want you to drink if she knew you were drinking."

Monday, July 13, 2020

Two Hispanic cops killed while responding to a domestic disturbance in the border town of McAllen, TX: Do Brown lives matter?

Last Saturday, two police officers were shot and killed in the Texas border town of McAllen. Officers Edelmiro Garza and Ismael Chavez were responding to a domestic disturbance call at a local residence. When they arrived, a man identified as Audon Ignacio Camarillo opened the door and shot both men, who had no time to draw their weapons. Camarillo took his own life later that day.

What does Black Lives Matter have to say about this tragedy? Good cops are dead cops, perhaps.

And how about those lunatics on the Minneapolis City Council--the people who want to dismantle the police department even as they buy personal security for themselves. Do they have any comments?

And the "Defund the Police" nut jobs--what is their take on this?  I suppose they will argue that the city of McAllen should have sent a "woke" social worker to deal with Mr. Camarillo instead of two cops.

Both slain officers were Hispanic, shot in a town that is overwhelmingly Latino (or Latinx). Does ethnicity affect the way anti-police yahoos think about this tragedy? If blue lives don't matter, can they at least acknowledge that Brown lives matter?

All over the United States, the police will tell you that the most dangerous scenario for them is a domestic violence call. The guys who beat their wives are unstable and often have guns. Alcohol is frequently a factor.

What is the best way to deal with these perilous situations--which happen every day all over the United States? Do we dispatch a SWAT team in an armored vehicle? Do we send an unarmed community caseworker? Or do we ask the police to deal with guys like Audon Ignacio Camarillo?

Right now, our society sends cops--both men and women--to deal with domestic abusers, who are human time bombs that can explode unexpectantly.  It's a dirty job, but someone has to do it.

Is it too much to ask, then, to say that blue lives matter? Is it too much to ask Americans to say thank you?

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

California bans state-funded travel to Texas. Frankly, my dear, Texans don't give a damn.

In a fit of governmental lunacy, the California legislature passed a law last year banning government-funded travel to any state that discriminates against LGBT people.  As of this week, eight states are on California's travel-ban list: Alabama, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas. 

As a former Texan who is proud to have received a law degree from the state's flagship university, I feel quite confident in saying that Texans don't give a damn.  Ken Paxton, the Texas Attorney General, jokingly remarked that California probably imposed the travel ban to reduce the number of Californians who visit Texas and decide to relocate. 

In fact, 600,000 Californians moved to Texas over the last decade, while only 350,000 Texans moved to California. Between 2009 and 2014, California suffered a net population loss of nearly 1 million people; and Texas absorbed more California emigrants than any other state.

California's travel ban is a display of cultural arrogance equal to that displayed by the British Empire toward India during the days of the Raj. Texas, after all, is not a cultural backwater. It has the nation's second largest economy, and its cities are as culturally diverse as Los Angeles. Houston, which will soon pass Chicago to become the nation's third largest city, has a thriving gay community and even elected a lesbian mayor. 

As of now, California's travel ban only applies to eight states; but there will surely be more. Kentucky, for example, was put on the travel-ban list because it passed a religious freedom statute. But 19 other states have adopted similar laws. Why single out Kentucky?

Let's face it. In the eyes of California's progressive politicians, the entire country is benighted compared to the Golden State. Why doesn't California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who put Texas on the travel-ban list, make a clean sweep and ban state-funded travel anywhere in the United States except Boston and New York City?

No one in California wants to visit flyover country anyway, and people in flyover country will do just fine even if they receive fewer visitors from California.

Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn if you don't want to visit Texas.


John Daniel Davidson. California's travel ban messes with Texas. The Federalist, June 27, 2017.

Phillip Reese. Roughly 5 million people left California in the last decade. See where they went. Sacramento Bee, 2017.