>Texas Tidbits: A Chicken Fried Steak Festival!

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Send. Me Some.

I just learned something that doesn’t surprise me, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard of it before. Being a Texan, I have of course been to Chili Cookoffs and Bar B Q competitions, but until just a short time ago, I have never heard of a Chicken Fried Steak Cookoff! Well, now I have! CFS is one of my favorite vegetables and the good people of Lamesa, Texas have captured a special place in my heart for Eternity by holding Lamesa’s Original Chicken Fried Steak Festival on April 30. I bring this particular event up so far in advance because there is some stiff competition from other outstanding events all over Texas, but you must not miss the CFS Cookoff if at all possible. There are few foods of any ethnicity that rival a good chicken fried steak covered with creamy white gravy. Throw in some smashed taters and some juicy, buttered up sweet corn and I would slap my own Mama away from the table to stuff myself like a Thanksgiving turkey. Sadly, I am 2000 miles away from Lamesa, but I’ll damn sure be there in heart…and stomach.

GrowLamesa.com has more info on CFS Festival. There are a ton of activities besides the cookoff…things like “the sounds of local talents, relax under shade trees, eating great food from vendors, classic car show, kids games, pony rides, and take a tour of our very own Delaney Vineyard Winery. Chicken Fried Steak Cook-Off, Team Roping, 5K Run, Classic Car Show, Childrens Costume Contest, Pet Costume Contest, Live Entertainement, Food booths, Art & Craft Booths, and so much more. Vendors and Booth Registration call 806-872-4322 or 806-872-4345”.

If you can’t have fun at a party like that, then you need to have your pulse checked. Lamesa is a great setting for such a gathering and I know that the town’s folks would love to see you there. They’ll treat you so many ways, you’re bound to like one of ’em. Oh, yeah…a personal request here. Somebody Fed Ex me some Chicken Fried steak !!! Thank you.  🙂

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>Texas Tidbits: The Passport to Texas History! Celebrate and Learn!

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A New Republic Was Born

As you may have noticed if you were reading this blog during February when did a two week series of posts on the Texas Revolution, 2011 marks the 175th Anniversary of the Revolution and the Texas Declaration of Independence. In honor of this historic occasion, the State of Texas has come up with an utterly brilliant idea. The Passport to Texas History. Texas Highways magazine urges you to “show your Texas colors by obtaining a “Passport to Texas History,” and have it stamped at seven sites associated with the Texas Revolution. If you collect stamps from all seven sites by December 31, 2011, you’ll receive a commemorative gift from the Texas Independence Trail Region…” San Jacinto-Museum.org has more great info on the seven sites mentioned above, which are sites along the Texas Independence Trail. (Download a PDF of the Texas Independence Trail brochure here) The sites are:

  •  Gonzales – When Mexican soldiers tried to steal the settlers’ cannon – the fight was on!

  • San Felipe – Where Stephe F. Austin established his colony in 1823.  It was considered the social, economic and political center of the region.
  • San Antonio – Five Catholic missions were built here in the early 1700s to convert the native popluation.  In 1836, defenders at the Mission San Antonio de Valero (Alamo) were defeated by Mexican soldiers and the battle cry “Remember the Alamo” was born.
  • Washington-on-the-Brazos – Where representatives of Texas settlements met to make a formal declaration of independence from Mexico in early March 1836.
  • Goliad – In late March 1835, Colonel Fannin’s forces were imprisoned after surrendering in defeat.  They were then shot outside their prison cell in Goliad, marking this as the largest single loss of life during the days of the Texas Revolution.
  • La Porte (22 miles east of Houston) – The San Jacinto Monument stands as the world’s tallest memorial stone column on the site where Mexican rule over Texas came to a dramitic close on April 21, 1836.

Best of all? The Passport to Texas History is FREE and downloadable! Is that cool or what? This promises to be an adventure that you and your family will never forget. The feeling of being at the locations that played such a major role in Texas History and Independence where true Texas heroes fought and died for the dual causes of Liberty and Freedom. What a great experience this will be.

If I were back in Texas, I would teaching my little girls about the place where Daddy grew up and express to them how important it is to always stand up for their beliefs, like the men at the Alamo. An honorable death standing up for what is just, is preferable to the scourge of oppression. I want them to feel the pride when I explain what they are looking at and why it is a sacred place to so many of us. At this point, i’d like to leave you with a quote from John Steinbeck. “Texas is a state of mind. Texas is an obsession. Above all, Texas is a nation in every sense of the word.” Amen, brother. Amen.

>Texas Tidbits: The Texas Sand Fest!

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Welcome!

It’s spring time in Texas and that means that there will be festivals of every stripe throughout the state over the next several months. One of the most popular activities will be heading to the beach at the local lake or somewhere along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. For those of you in or near Port Aransas, it’s almost time for the Annual Texas Sand Fest.

2011 will be the 15th year of the Sand Fest and in that period of time, it has grown into the biggest sand sculpting event in the United States. You and over 100,000 other party-minded Texans will cruise the beach and check out some incredible works of art made from the sand on the beach. there will also be plenty of live music, free sand sculpting lessons for the younguns, amateur sand sculpting and then of course, the professionals will do stuff with sand that you woulkd never believe if you didn’t see it for yourself. This year’s Texas Sand Fest will take place April 15-17 in Port Aransas. For a complete schedule of events at the Sand Fest, click here.

Even if you were to make the drive from Dallas, Houston, Austin or San Antonio, it would be well worth the time and gas money invested. You’ll love it, your spouse will love it and the kids will go nuts over it. Some photos of past Texas Sand Fests can be found here. Get a load of that and then tell me you wouldn’t like to be there.

Here’s the kind of guy I am. I’ll even lay the the link to the Port Aransas Chamber of Commerce on ya. At that link you can get motel and hotel as well as resturant information so you can plan accordingly. It’s just a couple of weeks away, so you’d better get on the ball and make those reservations today!

Sands of the Pioneers

>Texas Tidbits: A Master of the Lens, Bob Zeller

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Sunset at the Lajitas House , Big Bend

Many of you are familiar with my very good friend in San Angelo, Texas, Bob “The Funky Old Dude” Zeller. Bob has a website of some of the most amazing photographs of Nature, specifically birds, but he has some outstanding shots of the landscape of West Texas as well. Over the last few months Bob has made a couple of trips to the Big Bend area of way out there West Texas and each time he has come back with some awe-inspiring photos of the place. If you’ve never been to the Big Bend or if have have never even seen it, be prepared to be astounded and make sure you have a pillow on the ground for when your chin hits the floor after viewing these photographic pieces of art. Incredible. Speaking of art…the following photo is one of the most beautiful images I have ever seen.

Santa Elena Canyon, Big Bend, Texas

Take a peek. At the bottom of the photo, just above the last “a” in the word “Santa”, is a black “dot”. That “dot” is actually a man hiking in the canyon! That one small detail shows the massive size of the canyon walls in contrast to a full grown man. I still marvel at this photo.

As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, Bob’s main photographic subjects are birds. I beilive, and Bob can correct me if I’m wrong, that he has documented over 200 speices of birds! Like these and this. Skip on over to Bob’s blog, Texas Tweeties and browse around. You will be stunned at some the shots that Bob has taken. Did I tell you that Bob’s photograpsh have been featured at museums and in various publications in Texas? They have. Any doubts about Bob’s keen eye to frame a shot that is more than just a photograph will be quelled with one look at the photos below of the American Kestrel.

The Hunt

Be sure to bookmark Texas Tweeties because you’ll be sayin’ to yourself, “How can a funky old dude who married way up to a chickadee (pun intended) like Ann, be an award-winning photographer?” I’m just sayin’. 🙂

The Lunch

>Texas Tidbits: A Texas Primer Reprise

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>Here’s a post that we put up every couple of months . We post it because this blog is picking up readers at an amazing pace. We are now read in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, plus EIGHTY-SEVEN countries around the world! Precisely because we get new readers so quickly, I like to fill them in on what Texas is all about, so they’ll have an idea of why we write the things we do on Three States Plus One. Newer readers, enjoy this post and the link to the Texas Primer. You’ll tank me later.  🙂

Thanks to you, the reader, Three States Plus One is growing in leaps and bounds. We are barely three months old and we now have friends in forty-five of the fifty states in the USA and twenty nine countries around the world. Our overseas readers are from a diverse group of nations, including, our newest country, Serbia. Other readers hail from Italy, Spain, Israel, Russia, Australia, Taiwan, Mexico, the Philippines, India, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, our neighbors to the north, Canada, the Mother Country, Great Britain and so many more. Thank you to you all for being a part of our Global Community of Readers and showing an interest in my home state of Texas. I was thinking that since we have so many new readers, it might be a good time to familiarize them with some facts about Texas, including a brief look at its history. So, I located a primer about Texas that has some basic information that the newer readers might find useful. It’s good stuff and I believe that many of you from around the globe who have struggled and fought in order to live in a country free of tyranny and governmental control over your daily lives, will find the story of Texas an inspirational one, not unlike your own.

 Texas is one of the most recognizable places on Earth, if not for the sheer size of the place, then definitely for its unique profile. Almost anyone can look at a map and find Texas once they know what it looks like and the Lone Star flag is equally recognizable as a symbol of Texas by people from around the world. Many people unfamiliar with modern Texas still think of oil wells and cowboys as the mainstays of Texan culture. And they would be right. Oil and cowboys are as much a part of Texas as the Alamo. But the Texas of today is much more than that. Many Fortune 500 and high tech companies call today’s Texas home making Texas a new kind of frontier for the 21st Century.

 I am not going to excerpt the Texas Primer for you here as I can’t do it justice, so please take a few minutes to read it and you’ll have a basic understanding of what is so special about this place called Texas.

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>Texas Tidbits: Willie and Me, The Next Great Country Duo

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The Red Headed Stranger

James Ott said to me in the comments of my post on Buddy Holly, ” Just think what this country would be like without Texas. A ship without a rudder or engine!!!” James hit the proverbial nail on the head with that statement. We’d also be without one of the greatest recording artists, and I do mean artist, singer-songwriters, humanitarian and all around cool dude – Willie Hugh Nelson.  As I have mentioned in previous posts, I had the good fortune of spending some time with Willie after one of his shows in Wichita Falls about 30 years ago. It was a dark and stormy night…I mean, it was raining like hell that night as Willie and I led his band members to his bus for the interview. I was the first one on the bus, followed by Willie, who was followed by his lead guitar player, Jody Payne. As I stepped onto the the bus, Willie not so subtly asked, “Hey, Toby. You got a joint?” I wasn’t exactly stunned. I replied, “No, Willie, I wish I did”. No sooner had I answered Willie’s question when Jody stepped on board and stated, “Don’t worry, I got one”. Hilarity and an interview ensued. When I asked Willie why he did so many duets, he told me that he just loved to sing, then he promptly invited meto record a duet with him! Funny thing is, I think he was dead serious. Or stoned. Or both. At the conclusion of our little pow wow, while saying our adios‘s, Willie gifted to me the leftovers of a partially smoked “tamale”. This laid back guy is as real in person as he is on TV or in a movie. This is Willie Nelson for cryin’ out loud. Willie wasn’t always a superstar. He struggled for twenty years as a singer/songwriter in order to become an “overnight sensation”. Willie has written some of the best-known country music classics ever : Hello Walls (Faron Young), Crazy (Patsy Cline), Funny How Time Slips Away (Billy Walker), Pretty Paper(Roy Orbison), Always On My Mind (Elvis & many others) Night Life (Ray Price), etc.,etc.,etc. The Red Headed Stranger is one of the most critically acclaimed albums in the history of music, period. Willie has sung with many country music legends including, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Hank Williams, Jr., Ray Price and his brother from another mother, Waylon. Besides being a prolific singer/songwriter, Willie has been in several feature films – The Electric Horseman, Barbarosa, Honeysuckle Rose andThe Dukes of Hazzard. How many people do you know that would bail you out of a $16million debt to the I.R.S.? Of their own free will, without being asked? That’s what friends of Willie did for him back in the 80’s. I have a feeling that these folks knew that Willie would have done exactly the same thing for each and every one of them, if the need arose. There’s enough material on Willie that I could write a book about it, so I’m sure I left plenty out of this short post. If you’ve got a Willie story, please share it in the comments. Now, Willie, about that duet…..

>Texas Tidbits: W, Loving His Country and Its Warriors

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You Damn Right I Do

It was September 27, 2010 when I posted this. I picked this particular post to rerun because I want us all to remember that we have men and women who serve this country with the singleminded determination to keep Her safe from the dumbfucks who would do Her or Her citizens harm. Men and women who love this country and who sacrifice a “normal” life with family and friends to fulfill an oath to “keep Her safe from all enemies, foreign and domestic. George W. Bush is one of these men.

It seems like forever ago that we had a man in the White House that respected and loved this country and the men and women who served in its Armed Forces. Agree or disagree with him, there was no doubt that George W. Bush did what he thought was right for the United States and he stuck to his guns. His wife, Laura was the epitome of class, grace and dignity while representing our nation as First Lady. You damn right I miss them. Why? Read on and you’ll understand.

The last Sunday in September is designated as Gold Star Mothers Day, a day set aside for Mothers who’ve lost a son or daughter who died in service to his/her country in the US Armed Forces. This past Saturday, George W. and Laura Bush held a reception at their Dallas home for Gold Star and Blue Star Moms. Blue Star Mothers are Moms who have a child serving the country right now. About 80 women showed up at the Bush’s house for this very special occasion. Cynthia Garcia, whose son, Corporal Adam Garcia, died in Iraq, was one of those women. At the link, in her own words, is Mrs.Garcias’ touching account of her time with the former President and First Lady at their Dallas home.

This is a man who was vilified and demonized by the Leftist assholes and the media, but I repeat myself, as stupid, out of touch and a war criminal amongst other “niceties”. Let me tell you what, if being stupid, out of touch and a war criminal means being a man like George W. Bush, count me in. And the Left can kiss my stupid, out of touch, war criminal ass.    

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