“Texas…it’s a whole ‘nother country.” That was the state Tourism slogan when I moved there at the start of my forestry career in the late 1980’s. It’s a catchy reference to the decade when Texas was an independent nation, before becoming the 28th state in 1845. The tourism campaign also highlighted the vastness of the state: its deserts, mountains and forests; its cultural heritage and diversity; its tourist attractions, and everything else that pointed to being “big.” In fact, the more recognizable – and unofficial – state motto is, “Everything’s Bigger in Texas!” I like American History, which I trace back to my Philadelphia upbringing. Just walking to elementary school in my neighborhood took my friends and I through portions of Revolutionary War battlefields. Historical signs in front of existing homes and storefronts pointed to the fact that “George Washington slept here.” The round pebbles we dug out of the soil as kids surely were “red-coat” musket balls, dropped where a soldier was dropped in 1777. Our imaginations ran wild! I found out later that those “musket balls” we used as slingshot ammunition were merely a product of the region’s geology – red garnets, weathered from local fieldstone. But living […]
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