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As Big as All Texas: The Aggie Files, Part 1

I arrived at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport around 7:15 last night and departed for Bryan-College Station an hour later. Texas seems to have an affection for conjoined cities.

As the plane took off from DFW the sky was a post-sunset parfait: those colorful layers you get just after the sun has set. The land was a smudge of brown, the horizon a streak of orange. Just above that that was pink, then ocher. And above that was a rich blue fading to black as the night took over.

I wish I'd had my camera, which was safely stowed in my briefcase, which was safely stowed in the overhead luggage compartment. Instead, you'll have to settle for the photo I snapped at a shoeshine stand in the DFW Airport:


Of course, I think "boot shines" are given in Washington, too. Perhaps if the sign had said "longhorn poop clean-up extra" it would have seemed more Texasy. As it is, I don't recall seeing any armadillo-skin cowboy boots on the plane. (And "Tennis Shoes $5" kind of kills the illusion, too. Texans wear tennis shoes?)

I met a man on the plane named David who said his daughter is studying journalism at... the University of Texas. Those are the bitter rivals of Texas A&M, so hated here in College Station that to even utter the words "university" and "Texas" in the same sentence is considered bad form.

But he's a local, with that wonderful Texas accent I remember from when I lived here years ago. Not quite Southern, not quite Western, with a fondness for colorful phraseology. His earlier leg had been on a flight from Kansas City. "I was in the middle seat between two big old boys, I'll tell ya that," he said, chuckling at the 90 minutes he'd spent as the meat in a man sandwich.

But the best part so far of my Texas sojourn is my rental car. I arrived later than Enterprise had expected and the only vehicle available for me was a truck. It's a blindingly white Toyota Tundra:


I almost broke my ankle getting out of it for the first time, since I forgot I was nine feet off the ground.

First order of business this morning: looking for some longhorns to put on the hood.

By John Kelly  |  April 20, 2009; 9:00 AM ET
Categories:  Aggie Files  
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I found it interesting that there are no shoe shine stands in London. Did you find the same to be true during your time over there?

Posted by: mfromalexva | April 20, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse

No first order of business is get some good barbeque! And then check out the fine Texas scenery ie the Texas ladies! And then repeat over and over for the week that you there! Mix in some goos Mexican food and tequila. And remember you ca nver consume enough tequila!

Posted by: sheepherder | April 20, 2009 9:42 AM | Report abuse

John - please tell me you're wearing your wingtips there. The image of you, your hat, your wingtips and your big ole beast of a truck is enough to keep me smiling all day.

Posted by: megtheegg | April 20, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Don't forget to stop at Rudy's for bbq brisket and creamed corn!

Posted by: laur_n | April 20, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Texas's gain is our loss....automatically turned first to p. 3 Metro yesterday. No JK there. But your observations of a foreign place are always acute and much appreciated.

Posted by: OldLady1 | April 21, 2009 6:48 AM | Report abuse

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