Edward Southerland's This & That
By Edward Southerland
Aug 6, 2019
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Sho-nuff, official state stuff

Often over the years, when the Texas legislature does not have much constructive to do, which seems to be quite often, the solons like to designate "Official Texas State Stuff." All the states do this. Every state has a state motto, a flag, a seal (the coat of arms so to speak, not the fish eating, horn playing, sleek circus performer), and so forth, but lately the effort to designate "Official State Stuff," has moved in to new realms of creativity.

What follows is a list of “Genuwine Official Texas State Stuff.”

Tree: The pecan tree: This is okay. Personally I’ve always liked the bois d’arc, partly for its fancy name and partly because there are a lot of them around here. But since nobody ever got excited about a bois d’arc apple pie,  the pecan is all right by me.

Insect: The monarch butterfly: Butterflies are pretty, but really now, what is more Texas than the chigger. If they had a category for official obnoxious pest with more than two legs—that designation would prevent embarrassment to any number of elected officials—I allow the chigger would win by a scratch.

Dinosaur: The Brachiosaur Sauropod Pleurocoelus: This ought to be considered child abuse. Image having to spell that on a test to graduate from third grade. The pleurocoelus was a 50-foot long plant-eater with lizard-hips. I knew a girl from Mineola who was built like that. It does seem like Texas ought to have a meat-eating lizard of some sort, what with the big deal about barbecue and all.

Stone: Petrified Palmwood:  How come we have a stone that used to be a tree instead of a good ol rock that was always a rock? All the world wonders.

Fruit: Red Grapefruit: They did not joke around while picking a state fruit down in Austin. Ruby reds are mighty good. Wonder if mulberries got any votes?

Plant: Prickly pear cactus: Could it be that the Johnson Grass contingent in the legislature was out to lunch when the prickly pear cactus got voted in?

Reptile: Horned lizard: That is the horned toad of TCU fame.

Seashell: Lightning whelk:  Known to friends and family alike as Busycon perversum pulleyi, the lightning whelk stands, shell and shoulders over the official seashell of Nebraska, which probably does not even exist, as a mud flat on the North Platte does not really qualify as a seashore.

Ship: U.S.S. Texas (ret.): With service in two World Wars, the battleship Texas stands ready to defend the Houston Ship Channel if Louisiana tries anything sneaky in the naval arena. Problem is, it’s sinking, so the naval powers that be are going send it off for a fix and then move it to Galveston.

Sport: Rodeo: Whod thought it, what with 75 percent of the population of the state in the stands on Friday nights in the fall watching people get knocked around by other people, not bulls. Maybe the legislators got kicked in the head by a bronc before that voted on this one.

Song: Texas, Our Texas”: William J. Marsh and Gladys Yoakum wrote it, but Id bet dollars to doughnuts that nobody who has finished with the seventh grade, not even Willie Nelson, knows the words or the tune. It ought to beThe Eyes of Texas, but of course the folks at The University have a prior claim.

Motto: Friendship: Pretty good motto, except during Texas- OU weekend.

Gemstone: Topaz: Like the people of Texas, the topaz comes in all shades of colors and they are all good looking. Well, except for that ol lizard-hipped gal from Mineola and come to think of it, she wasnt all that bad.

Air Force: Confederate Air Force:  Political correctness shot down the Confederate Air Force and now the C in CAF stands for Commemorative. But fear not, the Lone Star fly boys are still on alert over in Midland just in case Oklahoma or New Mexico gets bellicose.

Fish: Guadalupe Bass: Not to be confused with famous jazz man of the same name, the state fish is closely related to the largemouth bass, the smallmouth bass and the spotted bass. But like some other critters who have tried to make a big splash in Texas, Guadalupe is a fraud. He is not even a real bass and neither are his cousins. You can look it up.

Grass: Sideoats grama: Officially known as Bouteloua curtipendula, I guess its OK, but I would have voted for Bouteloua dactyloides, Buffalo Grass. That is what fueled the Texas cattle industry.

Nickname: The Lone Star State:  This is a gimme, and it is better than the suggestion of William Tecumpseh Sherman. The good general once wrote, If I owned Texas and Hell, I'd rent out Texas and live in Hell.

Pepper: Jalapeño: OlCump, thats what this friends called the aforementioned General Sherman, probably had just downed a hot steaming bowl of jalapeño laced chili when he came up the quote cited above.

This is about half the list of of Official State of Texas Stuff. Still to come next week are veggies, fibers, musical instruments and who knows what else. Bet you hardly can wait.