Where you from? Everywhere (or nowhere), man!

Brownwood Bulletin
Steve Nash

"Where you from, stranger?"

Now back in the days of the Wild Wild West, that's a question that could bring a response ranging from a cold stare, or the words "nowhere, man." Perhaps the response would be "NUNYA" accompanied by or a cloud of gunsmoke.

That's well documented (on TV westerns). In the Wild Wild West, you just didn't ask a man or a horse "where you from, stranger?" That was a deeply personal and private matter. 

That's akin to asking someone today "that's a nice watch, how much did you pay for it?" Or "how much are they paying you at your new job?" Or "how much did you pay for your house?" 

These days it's considered generally OK to ask people about their previous wherefroms —  although that may be a hard question to answer or explain if someone has a varied, complicated and convoluted background. Sometimes a body might need to respond with "define 'from.' Because there could be a multitude of answers and all would be accurate.

I personally find it fascinating to learn people's back stories of how they came to live in a particular location, how they ended up in their professions, how they met their spouses, how they ended up as a rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief, a puppet, a pauper, a pirate, a poet, a pawn or a king. Because that's life.

Part of the answer might involve growing up in a military family or in the circus.

I have no idea how the two Nash yoots and yootette respond if someone asks them "where you from, stranger?" Brownwood is the only hometown they've even known, but I'm not sure if they action say they're from Brownwood.

Yoot the elder was born in Temple and lived there for only the first 10 months of his life. Yoot the younger was born in Peoria, Ill., and never lived there a day in his life, unless you count his brief hospital stay upon birth. The yootette was born in Pekin, Ill. and lived there for the first two weeks of her life.

Wifey can give a pretty straightforward answer to the question: She's from Western New York. Or, North Tanawanda, New York. Or, the Niagara Falls area (Niagara Fall? Ni-ag-ra Falls! SLOWLY I turned ... )

Now if we're visiting another location such as another city, state park or some other locale and someone asks us "where you from, stranger," we'll usually answer "Brownwood."

So what about me? My story? First of all I can say I am not a jerk. Convos be like:

"Are you from Brownwood?"

"No."

"Where were you before you came to Brownwood?"

"Illinois."

"Are you from Illinois?"

"No."

I could say I'm from Kentucky. I could say I'm from Texas. I could say I'm from Wichita Falls. All would be correct.

It all started when I was born into a military family in Lexington, Kentucky. An astute reader might ask how is that possible since there are no military installations in Lexington, Kentucky? (My dad was overseas, in Japan I think, and my mom was staying in Lexington extended family.)

Although my grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. lived in Lexington, I spent only a small amount of time there and haven't been to Lexington since the early '90s. If I visited there now, I'd never know how to find anything and I wouldn't know anyone.

So I lived a vagabond life. Because of my dad's Air Force career, ,e, my mom, and later my sister were whisked from state to state, town to town, Air Force base to Air Force base. We lived from sea to shining sea — from the Pacific to the Gulf of Mexico, and in a foreign country (France). I attended three hah skools (Woodford County in Versailles, Kentucky, Wichita Falls Hirschi and Burkburnett), although I never graduated from any of them. Did you know that Burkburnett was actually named for a man with two names: Burk Burnett.

Now an astute reader might ask how I ended up in hah skool in Versailles, Kentucky when there are no military installations there? See, me, my mom and my sister lived there (it's close to Lexington) to be near other family when my dad spent a year at Udorn Air Base, Thailand.

I won't even try to explain the places I lived once't I was grow'd, they being many and varied.

So, where am I from, stranger?

Or maybe I'm just from nowhere, man.