For the past few weeks I’ve been visiting my parents in Hughes Springs, deep in the piney woods of Northeast Texas. Hughes Springs consists of approximately three blocks of stores and restaurants, a Dairy Queen, JB’s Hotlinks and my personal favorite, the Wildflower Inn (located just on the border of town). At the Wildflower’s daily buffet, you can get some of the best chicken fried steak, fried catfish and hushpuppies in all of Cass County. Just for fun, I asked our waitress if they had any vegetarian food. “Does banana puddin’ count?” she said, laughing. There are churches every 500 yards or so and there’s even a 4-way stoplight, which was a very big deal when they installed it a few years ago.
In 1980, the year I graduated high school, my parents were some of the first people in the nation to build an underground house. They didn’t do it because of the “green movement” or because they’re hippies—they built it purely for economical reasons: the house is cool in the hot Texas summers and warm in the freezing cold winters and saves them a fortune on electrical bills. My dad, a retired Navy CPO, designed and built the entire house almost single-handedly, digging out a hill, pouring concrete with steel reinforcements, digging a well, and installing electrical, plumbing and carpentry. It’s a great house and although it has surprisingly excellent Internet service, it’s not wired for Wifi, which meant my Mac and I had to go elsewhere the past few weeks to work on PolitiChicks.tv.
Most mornings I ended up at the newly opened Hughes Springs Public Library to work, and if the library was closed I was told to “just park out front and work from your car” which, as you can see, I often did. (Thank you Texas PolitiChick Patti Barnett Terrell for taking this photo!)
But my favorite place to work, with the best sweet tea in town (of which I drank gallons) was Greg McKinney’s Subway/Gas station. The only problem with this location is that I’d have to get there extra early in order to finish by noon when all the deer hunters came in to talk about their three favorite subjects: football, guns and politics. I noticed how far from reality I’d gotten when I found myself relishing the fact that they were actually talking out loud, unafraid and uncaring of what anyone might think of them. In California where I live, Conservatives tend to whisper their beliefs in public for fear of retribution and/or offending anyone in the world—but in this neck o’ the woods, they ARE ‘the world’.
When talking to my Texas friends and family about the pending threats of fiscal cliffs, tax increases and even Islam, the general consensus is, “Bring it!” These people are not only well prepared, they are also well armed and ready for any type of crisis.
The solution to “cliff diving” and tax increases? You live within your means. You spend less and go without a few luxuries. One friend has learned to make her own laundry detergent, spending a few pennies instead of dollars to wash her clothes. (Click HERE for her recipe!) This same friend brought my parents a dozen beautiful brown eggs from her chicken farm and talked about her year-round garden. “I guess you can call me a ‘prepper’”, she said. “If being prepared for the worst is considered a bad thing, so be it. My family and friends will have plenty to eat and that’s all that matters.”
When I asked people about our 2nd Amendment rights being threatened, 100% of the time my question was met with laughter.
“Good luck with that, Obama!” one friend dressed in camouflage said. “I’ve been shooting and hunting since I was 6 years old and they’re not about to take my guns away from me or anyone in my family.” (Further addendum to anyone reading this: DO NOT EVER TRY TO TAKE AWAY TEXAN’S GUNS!)
Another friend is planning to build a safe house in her backyard while others are talking about taking their money out of the banking system and “putting it elsewhere”. Why? “You just never know…” is the overall answer.
Meanwhile in addition to making plans to protect, feed and cherish their families, these same people are in church every Sunday and if someone doesn’t show up, they will most definitely get a phone call to make sure “everything’s okay”. If someone is sick or when someone dies, food is brought to the family so they won’t have to worry about feeding themselves. They will also be placed on telephone and e-mail “prayer chains” all over town.
So while the rest of America may be sinking into despair, wondering what horrors the Obama administration will instill in this country, the biggest thing my East Texas hometown is upset about is that nearby Daingerfield High School didn’t make it to the State Championships in football.
Sigh. Makes me wonder why we’re currently driving back home to California…