Deep in the spleen of Texas


Now and then a person’s ears need some loving, so this week I took both of them to Texas for a vacation. They are now happier than a dog with a dead skunk. Everywhere I take my two ears, I hear people using Texas’ most personal pronoun, “y’all,” which like the humdrum pronoun “you” can be either plural or singular. (Note to you grammarians  and punctuationists out there: I know some of you write the possessive for Texas with an extra “s” as in “Texas’s most personal pronoun.” However, I don’t like it and if I see it I’m likely to ask you to move your “s” elsewhere.) My heart’s been soothed hearing people speak proper and without those accents the Yankees are so fond of.


I have been traveling with my daughter and grandchild visiting family in Houston, basking in hot and humid weather and enjoying every minute of it. That’s what Wisconsin’s 9-month winters will do to a person.



Houston is a great big old city built on a bayou. Unless you are from the South, you may not know that “bayou” is a fancy name given to rivers and ditches to make songs more interesting. Just imagine if the refrain in Hank Williams’ song Jambalaya “Son of a gun we’ll have big fun on the bayou” were “Son of a gun we’ll have big fun at the ditch.” It just don’t sound right and kind of makes your toes stop tapping right in the middle of the song. And yes, that “don’t” is there on purpose, thank you very much.


Our last few days of vacation, we have been staying in Katy, Texas which is just down the road from Houston. We were able to make a run up to San Antonio, but we never made it to the heart of Texas, which approximately 5500 people swear is Brady, Texas. (That’s the population of the city and please don’t tell their mommas about the swearing.)


Houston has set up home near the Gulf of Mexico and southeast of the heart of Texas, so I believe it’s appropriate to consider it the spleen of Texas. Spleens store and filter blood, and Houston does the same with oil, which is pretty much the blood of our nation, so the analogy seems to fit.


I have never lived in Houston myself, but if I did and if I had a son, I would name him Billy Rueben just because it would tickle me every time I thought of my sweet Billy Reuben living in the spleen of Texas.


Today we return north. I sure do hope they didn’t have summer while we were gone. I’d hate to miss it.


Photo: Courtesy of Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries.