The fourth Texas Birthday Bash was held this weekend to celebrate Texas’s 180th anniversary of independence. Ronnie and I went both nights. My friend Karleen Koen went with us Saturday night. We were supposed to join Butch and Sheila Juelg, but there were a couple of thousand people crowding the bandstand that was set up beside the Navasota City Hall and finding them was just impossible. We’ll try again next year. Most likely meet at the house and then walk the four blocks to the venue.
The weather was perfect. We didn’t even need jackets once we moved to the beat of William Clark Green, Josh Abbott, and John Michael Montgomery. There were other bands, but these were the ones we came to see.
The crowd was the real show.
Long legged fillies in denim shorts that barely covered their bottoms wore cowboy boots to mid-calf and frilly white lace camisoles or plaid sleeveless shirts. Except for a few sporting ponytails, most had hair loose and cascading down their backs. Bling-crusted belts assessorized all choices of attire, from the fringed denim shorts to mini-skirts to skin tight jeans. Lots of fringe. On shirts, shorts, boots, and handbags.
The young men with dates kept a hand on their woman’s waist or in her back pocket or slung possessively over a shoulder. Single men lined the outermost edges, in groups of three and five, drinking from their longnecks and checking the beauties who were forever weaving through the crowd gathered in front of the bandstand.
There weren’t many cowboy hats this year. Instead, there were plenty of caps with bills pointed forward and pulled down over masculine faces, not askew or backwards like city gangsta types. These guys hailed from College Station, Brenham, Hempstead, Anderson, Roans Prairie and other neighboring communitites. They wore low-slung Levis held in place by tooled leather belts. Their boots were scuffed, proof that they worked the land or in one of the industrial or manufacturing plants.
Many wore snug tee-shirts that showed off muscular bodies. Most of them were Aggie brands with appropriate tag lines about the 12th Man and such. My favorite was “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of the Ring.” (For you non-Texans, that is the pusuit of the Aggie graduation ring.)
Others wore western shirts or long sleeved white dress shirts. One had on a hoodie with this statement stenciled on the back:
Where else will you find someone promoting fracking at a concert? Only in Texas, my friend, where oil field is still the major employer and an important revenue stream for the state budget.
The crowd thickened as the night wore on. The single men began walking into the fray, feeling pumped by the beer and the band. Young women jumped atop hay bales, swinging their hips to the beat of the bass guitar. Couples danced in spaces no bigger than three-feet square. Shiner beer, Bud Light, and bottled water from HEB kept most people hydrated.
Even though Open Carry is law in Texas now, the only thing anyone had in a holster was an iPhone, which was frequently drawn to shoot photos of each other and the bands.
I love this small town that celebrates the birthday of Texas. Yee-haw, y’all.