A Good Ole Gal

buffalobayousunriseHouston is a good ole gal with a heart of gold. She’s a hard worker who doesn’t mind getting dirt under her nails but she also has an inventive mind. She’s had some crazy ideas that actually worked, like building a channel from the Gulf of Mexico to her landlocked home creating one of the busiest ports in the world. She got it in her head to establish a university that would rival Harvard, a medical center that would attract the best doctors in the country and a space center that would explore the universe. Her ideas came to fruition even as her critics laughed at her. She is fearless, unafraid to risk everything. She is exciting.

Houston is a chameleon. Sometimes she appears to be very plain, maybe even a bit homely, but then she flashes her brilliant eyes and suddenly becomes quite beautiful. Perhaps it is her undaunted spirit that makes her so attractive or maybe it is her generosity. She provides opportunity and security to anyone willing to work with her. She offers a shoulder to lean on when times get tough. She will be there to help after storms devastate or tragedy steals joy. She is ever faithful, always willing to lend a hand. She welcomes strangers and provides succor to her ever growing family.

She angers us with her unpredictable moods. It’s difficult to know what to expect from her from one day to the next. She may cry enough tears to fill our streets and our homes and then respond with a smile of brilliant blue skies and sunshine. She wears her lovely bayous like silky ribbons in her hair and then strangles us with their fury. She bears down on us with her fiery heat and just when we think that she is unbearable she brings us a day so lovely that we fall in love with her all over again.

Houston has many faces. She is a wealthy patrician with deep roots in her aristocratic heritage and a newcomer with dark eyes and brown cheeks filled with hope and optimism. She loves the rodeo and the opera, a honky tonk bar and a symphony hall. She likes ballgames and art museums, fast food and fine dining. She’s quite accommodating which is perhaps her most enticing quality. She wants to please and works hard at making everyone happy. She is the quintessential hostess.

Houston is always so busy, sometimes to her own detriment. She invites everyone to her party but doesn’t plan for all of the traffic and commotion. She seems unaware of how aggravating her haphazard tendencies can be. We wonder how someone so bright can also be so clueless. She is wild and unfettered, tendencies that we both enjoy and loathe. She is a whirlwind, a tornado, a contradiction.

Houston is a conundrum to those who do not really know her. They can’t imagine what her appeal might be. She seems simple and unattractive to the unschooled. She is a mystery that confounds reason. Her detractors wonder why any of us give our hearts to her. She seems so unworthy of our affection and yet we feel an unflinching loyalty to her. We love her even though we are sometimes hard pressed to explain why. Our feelings for her are among the grandest mysteries of life.

We sometimes consider leaving Houston and her irritating ways. We may even temporarily act on our emotions and take a break from her, seeking another to satisfy our needs. Somehow we find ourselves thinking of her in our absence. We actually miss her with all of her quirks and idiosyncrasies. We recall her openness and uncomplicated ways. We remember all of the culinary feasts that she provided us. We call to mind how unselfish she generally was to us. She was there when we needed her most with offers of education, work, and solace. We enjoyed her welcoming nature and her willingness to accept us just the way we were. She never put on airs nor did she expect us to do so. She worked her way into our very souls and no matter how far away we have travelled we find ourselves wanting to see her again, to be with her. She has a power over us that we somehow can’t escape and so we return, lingering near her and feeling the calm that being with her seems to revive in our souls.

Houston is a good ole gal, the salt of the earth, the joy of our lives. We love her and always will.

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