January 2012 -We have now been living in Texas for over a year. During the first few months, I started to become familiar with the cultural differences between this western state and the very far eastern states in which I lived in the past. Since I’ve never lived in any other western state, I couldn’t tell you if Texas is similar or different to some of its western neighbors. I can only compare it to Florida, Georgia, South and North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey and New York where I lived or visited in the first 35 years of my life.
One thing that did become very clear in the first year of living here is what I like to call “the pride of Texas.” This is the first state that I’ve lived in that focuses on teaching their kids about their state history, legend and lore. It is a required part of their school curriculum and you can even see it in the stories that are found in the library.
I take my kids to a local library on a regular basis and we’ve found well-known children’s stories that have been re-written with a Texan twist.
The Gingerbread Man has become “The Gingerbread Cowboy.” This cowboy made of gingerbread goes running across the desserts of Texas being chased by cowboys, buffalo and other Texan ‘villains’ before being eaten by the sly coyote crossing a river.
Then there is the slightly disturbing retelling of the three little pigs in a story about three little gators being chased by a ‘big bottomed boar’. The boar destroys the first two gator’s flimsy homes with a “bump, bump, bump” of his large rump. When he can’t knock down the third gator’s home, he tries to scoot his body (rump first) down the chimney. The gators respond by heating up their grill. The boar’s large behind gets slightly charred at which point he quickly retrieves his large proportions out of the chimney and runs away never to be seen again.
Side note: My sons really got a kick out of me acting out the role of the big-bottom boar knocking down the gators’ homes.
I think my favorite book so far is the Texas ABC’s. Every letter of the alphabet has a picture of something from Texas. Jared helped me take pictures of the pages, because I thought they were so cute.
I’m sure there are other books re-told Texan style. I’ve only pointed out the few examples with which I have already become familiar. Let me know if you know of any more, or if you know of another state that has its own similar stories.