Sep 27 5 Comments

Texas, big place and big hearts

Texas is really big. I saw that from the window in the tiny airplane that took me to Midland. This I saw while the biggest lady I have ever sat next to took up half of my seat, besides her own. “I am sorry I am so big,” she said when I struggled to get past her. “And I am glad you are so small.” It was also a very small airplane. From my window I saw en eternity of flat landscape and perfectly square and round fields, all in hues of brown. The round fields interested me. It was as if somebody had made them using a compass. Is it a Texan thing, I wondered. Making round fields, just to create some variety.

I was met at the airport by my favorite Texan friends, Trip and Porter, who are 10 and 11. They were dressed in their suits and ties and welcomed me with serious handshakes. In the car back to their house they wanted to hear about the tax system and the form of government we have in Norway. They also were interested in Kristin. “You can make a whole bundle of money from drilling oil,” they told me later. Then they spent time explaining how oil had come into being in the first place. They also played the piano for me to hear, and told me about all kinds of interesting things I didn’t know.

I am here to speak about Partners and Burma. No surprise there. I spoke to a group of youth tonight and we connected just fine. I could have been their mother. I knew some things that they were into because I am the mother of teenagers myself. I asked if they rock climbed, and they looked at me funny. I quickly understood why: There are no rocks to climb here in Midland.

It is one of the areas of the world where God ran out of imagination. When Ken picked us up once when we came here, he said it was good we came in the evening so that we would not see how ugly it was until the next day. People who live here mostly work in the oil industry. They have oil here. That is what they have. And, the funny thing is that people love living here too. To me that sounds like a lie. There is nothing to do and all around there is only desert. If you want to see a mountain (hill) you must drive at least two hours. The only place to go running is on the track, in circles, on the collage campus. George Bush lived here.

“Yes, it is ugly, but we love it because of the people,” they all say when I ask how they manage to survive without valium. “We would rather live here than anywhere else.” They speak like Texans do, with a slow drawl. They are generous and hospitable. They give of their time and resources, they stop by each other’s houses just to say Hi. They make fine cowboy boots and hats not far from here, they have oil and friends. What more does one need when you think about it?

Would I rather live in an ugly place and have a bunch of friends or in a pretty place with no friends? Another option is of course to live in a pretty place and have friends. But some times that is impossible.


  • Ed Pue says:

    You probably already know that the “Circle fields” are from irrigation equipment that is fastened in the centre and sprays water in a circle. Therefore the crops grow well where they are watered. We have them here in Canada, too.

  • Steve Gumaer says:

    No babe, the circles were established by aliens. Everyone knows that Aliens don’t farm in squares, but circles instead! Texas is a fine spot to land a UFO.

  • Gina says:

    I’ve never been. I know some Texans. They all swear by it so I’ve always wondered. Now I know they’ve just all been abducted.

  • Luana says:

    Wow, that fat lady you sat next to could’ve been me. And I probably would have said the same thing she did, I have before in fact. It’s my fault I’m fat and other people shouldn’t have to suffer discomfort for it. But it is also more humilliating than you could ever imagine. I hope with all my heart I can lose weight and get back to a normal size before I EVER fly again. It is physically uncomfortable to fly long distances even at a normal size. I know because I flew to China and back when I was 15. Now, forget it, but the worst part is the emotional discomfort. Last time I flew it was a full plane and I was by the window. The female flight attendant asked the guy next to me if he wanted to be reseated. Luckily he was a really nice guy and said he was fine. I might have felt like crying if I weren’t so numb.