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“If stories come to you, care for them. And learn to give them away where they are needed. Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive.”
—Barry Lopez
(as Badger, in Crow and Weasel)


To be nobody but yourself -- in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you like everybody else -- means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight, and never stop fighting.
- e. e. cummings


Boomer Sooner?

-----On the way home to Dallas one afternoon from deep in the heart of Longhorn country, my friend and I felt the restful solitude of an empty Texas highway. We were somewhat drifting, unaware of the vast expanse of land that surrounded us. Like a total silence to which one is oblivious until startled by a sudden outburst, our attention was charged this afternoon by the sudden approach of a speeding car. Seemingly out of nowhere, the car was rapidly gaining on us as we watched in disbelief. To further break the silence, we noticed the vehicle had a customized horn that repeatedly blasted a familiar tune. Well . . . at least I thought it was familiar . . . at least to me.
-----My friend, an avid University of Texas Longhorn fan, took note of the tune he heard. "They're playing 'Boomer Sooner, they're playing 'Boomer Sooner!!!'." [For the uninformed - "Boomer Sooner" is the fight song of Texas' arch-rival the University of Oklahoma.] As the car approached - in a fit of anxiety, and for no apparent reason - my friend hit the accelerator. Now we found ourselves running side-by-side with an unknown car at approximately ninety miles per hour. I felt as though I had entered the twilight zone. In the first place, why did my friend, Mr. Longhorn himself, not recognize that the tune we were hearing was "The Eyes of Texas?" Secondly, why would a lone car be speeding down a lonely highway in the "Lone Star" state, decked out in U.T. stickers, signs, and pennants, blasting "The Eyes of Texas," when no athletic event had been played for weeks? In fact, school wasn't even in session. My third puzzlement - why would my chauffeur feel compelled to pound the accelerator to the floor, matching wits with these obviously crazed college students? And finally - as the car passed us we saw that the occupants were not college students at all, but rather a couple at least twenty years our elders.
-----I managed to inform my friend that the tune he was hearing was indeed friendly fire and that we were in no danger of an enemy invasion. His embarrassed laughter at realizing his mistake lightened his mood, but not his right foot. We were still bolting down the highway flashing the famous "hook-em-horns" to a couple of total strangers.
-----A few minutes later, inhibition took over - or maybe it was common sense - and he reduced his speed, allowing the other vehicle to speed away into a burnt orange sunset. We laughed at ourselves and marveled in disbelief at what we had just experienced. After a few moments of laughter, the excitement vanished as quickly as it had come and we found ourselves once again drifting on the vast sea of the Texas highway.

© 2004 - The Trill House