Each Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile By the Sea shares the first part of a book that she is reading or thinking about reading. This week I'm sharing the first few paragraphs of A Love Letter To Texas Women by Sarah Bird. This is a very short little book, a tribute to the women of Texas. Sarah Bird is a local author for me and I've discussed more than one of her books at book groups. When I heard about this book, I knew I'd need to have it. See what you think:
Me and the Texas Woman, it was not love at first sight. In fact, my match with her was a bit of an arranged marriage. One with a rocky start, potholed by cultural misunderstandings and distrust. It took decades of observation to fully appreciate the Yellow Rose in all her glories. All her contradictions. All her glorious contradictions.
Was she Southern? All belles and balls? Or was she Western? Ready to rope and ride and shoot the head off a rattler? You already know the answer. You know, that like sulfur, charcoal, and bat guano, the ingredients don't really pop until they're mixed up together into gunpowder. The Texas Woman is a hybrid with all the vigor that comes from the perfect pairing of the best of two species. She is Southern but with the Western grit handed down by her foremothers, who could give birth during a Comanche attack, help out when it came time to turn the bulls into steers, and still end up producing more Miss USAs than any other state in the union.
What is it that distinguishes Texas women—the famous Yellow Rose and her descendants? Is it that combination of graciousness and grit that Lady Bird Johnson displayed in beautifying highways and facing down hecklers on the campaign trail? The rapier-sharp wit that Ann Richards and Molly Ivins used to skewer the good ole boy establishment? The moral righteousness with which Barbara Jordan defended the US constitution? An unnatural fondness for Dr Pepper and queso?
In her inimitable style, Sarah Bird pays tribute to the Texas Woman in all her glory and all her contradictions. She humorously recalls her own early bewildered attempts to understand Rosa xanthina, from the big-haired, perfectly made-up ladies at the Hyde Park Beauty Salon to her intellectual, quinoa-eating roommates at Seneca House Co-op for Graduate Women. After decades of observing Texas women, Bird knows the species as few others do. A Love Letter to Texas Women is a must-have field guide for newcomers to the state and the ideal gift to tell any Rosa xanthina how special she is.
Yes, she had me at the Dr. Pepper and queso. Ha! And no, I've never been in a beauty pageant or turned a bull into a steer. However, I am a native Texan and so definitely a 'Texas Woman'.