No joke (and thank God), Texas has a lot to be proud of

Candace Cooksey

There’s an old joke about how Texas and Texans came to be that my daddy used to tell. I’ve told it too, so forgive us if you’ve heard it. This being March 2, Texas Independence Day, a little Texas-type bragging is in order.

The joke goes back to earth’s creation (hence the use of the adjective “old”). God’s original plan was to create most of the earth, and on the last day create the very most beautiful of all earthly places. That place would be called Texas.

Well, making a world is fraught with all the same problems making anything from baking a birthday cake to building a house or cleaning the kitchen. Too much of this, not enough of that, need more time, something else you’d rather do, getting the first things first routine to flow, etc. Yes, I know you understand.

Anyway, by the fifth day in the creation process God was just tired. And He decided if he could just take a little rest, then He’d be fresh and rejuvenated and do a better job making Texas. But as He leaned His head back to rest, He accidentally fell asleep.

And when He awoke, all the good clay had dried. Really all the best materials He had weren’t good enough anymore. So God pondered the problem and came up with a fine solution.

He decided to leave everything just the way it was. He flicked a few good raindrops off his fingertips so the wildflowers would grow in the spring. He made sure the sky was extra blue and wide. He put hardy livestock that could survive out on the near barren hills. And finally, He made people who could and would love the place anyway -- unconditionally. And He called them Texans.

Hey, it’s a joke. Get it? Well I’m sure real Texans do, and those new to these parts are probably beginning to.

Since 1519, six flags have flown over Texas: Spain from 1519 to 1685 and again from 1690 to 1821; France from 1685 to 1690; Mexico from 1821 to 1836; Republic of Texas, 1836 to 1845 when it was annexed and became the United States 28th state. Texas seceded from the Union with the other southern states and was a part of the Confederate States from 1861 to 1865 and in 1865 rejoined the union, the last Confederate state to do so.

What I love about Texas, being a born and bred fifth-generation Texan, is the way we make do, and make the best of what we do until what we do is the best, and we can be proud of what we’ve done. Sometimes we can’t help but brag on ourselves.

But seriously, Texans historically paid a high price for their independence. On Wednesday, March 2, 1836 (coincidentally, delegate Gen. Sam Houston’s 43rd birthday), even as the Alamo lay under siege by the Mexican dictator Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna’s troops, 59 delegates met at Washington-on-the-Brazos, which is few days’ ride south of San Antonio, to declare Texas independence from Mexico.

Under Santa Anna’s dictatorship, all promises made in recruiting people to Texas to populate its vast land had been broken.

The declaration stated in part, Santa Anna “now offers us the cruel alternative, either to abandon our homes, acquired by so many privations, or submit to the most intolerable of all tyranny, the combined despotism of the sword and the priesthood.”

That the Republic of Texas was only a sovereign nation for a little more than nine years and for most of 178 years since, Texas has been a state in the United States, is a mere historical notation to those who pause to celebrate Texas Independence Day today.

What it’s really about is the little and brave winning out over the big and powerful. That stirs the loyalists’ souls still today. Of course Texas historians love to point out that no other course of history records such astounding success with so little resources and such poor timing, and yes, there may be a little brag added to those facts.

The point is, always, anywhere, the right thing done for the right reasons is something to be proud of. That people were willing to risk their lives to claim inalienable rights and liberties for future generations is more than right. It’s unquestionably courageous.

That’s why I am proud of my home state and its history. I expect you are too.

God bless Texas. It’s cause for celebration.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Candace Cooksey Fulton is a freelance writer, formerly of Brownwood, living now in San Angelo. She can be reached at