Friday, October 19, 2012

Rest in Peace Old Friend

News travels fast. Especially bad news.

Big Tex, as you have heard, has been pretty much burnt to a crisp. This news has been greeted with horror and sadness. It was kind of like the moment I heard Jim Henson had died, taking Kermit the Frog with him. All Texans, especially Dallasites are in mourning.

And if you didn’t grow up in Texas I feel sorry for you and you probably don’t care anyway, which is another reason to feel sorry for you. For most Dallasites, he was a friend, father, brother and ambassador to the world at large. He had no opinions to disagree with and was pretty much beyond the miasma of politics except for the fact that only last year did it dawn on me that he is suspiciously Hispanic looking . And, if it never occurred to you, either, just take another look at him.

He was like a member of our family. Like a big brother, our children were instructed from Day One that if they ever got lost at the State Fair, they should go to Big Tex and we would find them there. This became such a standard instruction that when we were in Paris last month all I had to say was “The Eiffel Tower will be our Big Tex,” and everyone understood. Anytime any of us were overwhelmed by a large crowded area we would say that we would meet at Big Tex if we got lost. Most everyone can imitate his deep drawl, “Howdeee Foolks, this is Biiig Tex a’talkin to ya.”  He was a beloved relative you only saw once a year and looked forward to it the other 364 days.

Now that the shock and grief are fading, and everyone has been assured that he will be back next fall, the jokes about fried treats are settling in. We love our icons and all that but Texans as a rule don't usually take things too seriously.  Our Governor is the guy who actually said,  (and I quote here verbatim), "Oops" in a major presidential debate and thought he could get away with it. Hell, his own Governor's mansion burned down a few years ago and I don't think it bothered him too much. We always take these things in stride.

Every visit to the State Fair includes a Corny Dog. I think it’s some kind of state law. But it’s also generally acknowledged that Fletcher’s are the best. And, yes, they do sell off-brand dogs and you have to be careful. Sarah got one this year and she’s not likely to forget that sad experience.

But the absolute BEST corny dogs are the ones you get in front of Big Tex. You can see him from most parts of the fairgrounds but standing right in front of him everyone feels small and young.  As soon as he starts speaking, all the world’s cares fall away like sand on a beach as the waves retreat.. As you stand there you know you are going to have a great day, whatever happens. It will be interesting, fun, energetic and entertaining.

I know he will be back next year. And will probably be better than ever. I’m not sure if they want to make him any bigger, he was quite big enough and I’m used to him this size. I just hope they don’t repeat the yellow shirt from 2010. Yellow is not really his color. I remember one year his shirt was similar to the state flag. That would be a good one.


Rest in Peace old friend. I can’t wait to see you reincarnated next year.

PS: There is a Big Tex Grief Support group on facebook.

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