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Things You Learned in Texas the Hard Way

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I recently reread this quote:  

"We camped one night on a pretty grass plot. After midnight there was a Texas shower, and soon there was six inches of water in our tents, and I made my first military mental note: when you see a green spot in Texas, ask why before you camp there."

----- Colonel Percy M. Ashburn, 1914

Thinking about Colonel Ashburn's words made me recall Mark Twain's observation that "A man who holds a cat by the tail learns a lesson he can learn in no other way."  

We all know that life in Texas frequently teaches lessons the hard way.  I thought I'd start a thread about lessons Texas has taught you the hard way.  Here are some things I've learned:

1) Don't change your tire in the middle of the night on the side of the road without first getting your flashlight out and examining the spot in which you intend to squat down. You might very well be squatting in a fire ant bed and, 19 seconds later, be ripping your clothes off as fast as you can in an effort to get those little bugger off of  you. Your so-called "friends" will find your frenzied gesticulations hilarious and never let you live it down.

2) You cannot eat a live oak tree at 25 mph while barreling down a steep trail on a bicycle.  Believe me, folks, I've tried. It can't be done.

3) When camping, always shake out your sleeping bag before going to bed.  I learned this lesson on a Boy Scout campout when I was 13 and a scorpion wound up in my sleeping bag. I thought somebody drove a nail through my chest. That's all it took for me to become a fanatic sleeping bag shaker outer. Sometimes I'll shake out my sleeping bag, put it back in my tent, and then five minutes later take it out and shake it out again "just to be sure."  I done held that cat by the tail once and don't care to repeat the experience!  😎

Anyway, I thought that maybe some younger folks would read the advice that we wise old sages post here and learn from it.  Then I thought" who am I kidding?  They won't learn a dang thing. Everybody has to taught these things on their own.  And yet, if I can save ONE young person from being stung by ONE scorpion, I'll feel like our work here has not been in vain.

What lessons has Texas taught you the hard way?

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I didn't learn 'the hard way' I just got into some early in life, and like your scorpion, didn't want any more, but I got this friend... Horses will unseat you to avoid them. Dogs, cattle and every other wildlife I know respect them and stay away from them. I am talking about Bull Nettles. I don't know the science word for them( I looked it up Solanum Carolinense) but I have heard them called may other things (that I won't mention). They were abundant in the deep sand pastures at home and I reckon got along well with the Shinnery Oak. Like the wildlife, I learned early to respect that demon. Back to my friend. We were having a party, the kind where a keg was tapped and something was started cooking early in the day, for a festive night. My friend, myself and a couple more tapped a keg early and started cooking. There was a patch of Bull Nettles not to far from where we 'made camp' and I told them all to go around  them if they went in that direction. Later in the day I saw my, now pretty inebriated, friend jumping up and down on that bed of Nettles. I rushed over and asked him what the problem was? He said I ain't afeared of these things, and stomped some more. I just shook my head and walked off. Wasn't long before he was whining something fierce and asking me what to do about it. I told him go to the house and get in the shower and scrub with a lot of dish soap and then make a paste out of baking soda and let it dry on the whelps. You got a lot of it on you but maybe it will help. I found him in a bed later and didn't have the heart to wake him and ask how he was doing. That was many years ago but I still call him the Professional Bull Nettle Stomper Champion and he knows exactly what I am referring too. He doesn't see the humor though and sure doesn't like my grinning when I am saying it. 

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I keep a pair of rubber boots on the back deck next to the door. One day I was barefoot and stepped into my boots to walk out in the yard. I felt something squishy and it started to wiggle under my bare foot inside my boot. I squalled like a little girl and fell into the flower bed. I was kicking and flailing around and tearing up flowers trying to get my boot off.  In my mind there was a rattlesnake or copperhead inside that boot and I was dying right there in that flowerbed.

I finally managed to sling my boot off and I saw what it was that was causing so much raw fear and unbridled panic. My cat had been playing with a large rubber band earlier that morning and apparently dropped it into my boot. I looked around to make sure nobody saw me, I got up and dusted off the dirt and flower petals stuck to me and the rest of the day I acted extra manly. The cat just watched the whole time.....

Edited by Flying V Ranch
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