Deep in the Heart of a Texas Wedding
“What will happen if I do it?”
“Everyone will look at you like you’re an idiot.”
“That isn’t what happened in the movie. Everyone loved it.”
“Hate to break it to you, but this isn’t a movie about Texas. This is Texas.”
My boyfriend Scott decided that when we arrived in Houston, he’d begin to loudly sing, “The stars at night, are big and bright…,” just to see if everyone would stop what they were doing to clap and sing, “Deep in the heart of Texas!” Texans are extremely proud of their state but singing in unison usually only occurs on the silver screen.
I’ve been dealing with stereotypes about Texas since I started my first job, where I’d have to talk to people in New York. I would feed the stereotypes they already had and make up stories about how we didn’t have paved streets because concrete was terrible on our horses’ hooves and seeing tumbleweeds was a daily occurence. When I was asked what I was doing for the weekend, I’d tell them that all my time outside of the office was spent on my farm feeding chickens and cow tipping. It amazed me that my stories would be embraced so well because I think people would really like to believe Texas is like it is in the movies… barren and dusty, with cowboy hats and horseshoes.
The truth is, I had never been on a horse until I moved to Virginia. The only person I know who wears cowboy boots is my stepdad, and I’ve never known anyone who owns a cowboy hat unless it’s purely out of the cheesy factor. I don’t have a Southern drawl and Houston isn’t all about rodeos.
Not all about rodeos anyway.
We arrived in Houston Saturday to attend the wedding of my good friends, Christina and Daniel. They’ve been together over 12 years, so last summer when Christina called me to say that Daniel proposed my jaw dropped in disbelief. When we were teenagers we had the righteous feminist mentality that we didn’t need marriage to complete or define us, that marriage and children were things that happened to other people but weren’t right for us. Fast-forward 10 years, and our philosophy on such things has definitely changed.
I was anxious for Scott to meet my old friends and show him around Houston. I haven’t been back since I left in 2001, and frankly, other than my friends, I didn’t miss it very much.
There’s something very special about showing the place where you grew up to someone you care about. There are memories attached to every street, bridge, restaurant and house, memories that sometimes mean nothing to the person you’re sharing them with but can make your own thoughts trail off to a faraway time and place.
The rehearsal dinner was at Christina’s stepdad’s restaurant, Mykonos. I’d been dreaming of that place, as they have the best Greek food I’ve ever had. There’s a house salad dressing that I believe is made purely of garlic, nothing else. You can’t talk to anyone for three days after you eat it but it’s worth it. Since it was a Saturday night, there were authentic Greek dancers opa-ing everywhere and throwing glasses, getting the patrons to dance in long circles all around the restaurant. There was also a bellydancer who came out to shake her junk and ring her hand cymbals for all of us. Clink clink clink o-pa!
The wedding was beautiful. It was outside at a Spanish-inspired villa close to the Galleria area. When Christina walked down the aisle, everyone – including some of the groomsmen – couldn’t control their tears. We danced and partied all night long and sent the newlyweds off to their honeymoon with great memories of their big day.
Now that the wedding is over, we can finally relax and do some sightseeing. Houston is rich with culture, friendly people and amazing restaurants, but I’m still happy with my decision to trade all of it to see mountains, even if they’re far off on the horizon. And Scott’s Pee-Wee Herman fantasy came true when a few wedding guests sang “Deep in the Heart of Texas” after I prompted them. That is one stereotype about Texas that is true – we are nice folks.
To comment on this column, email Rachel Brear at firstname.lastname@example.org.