Green: February means rodeo, as if there were any doubt
I’m a native Houstonian. And as any true Houstonian will tell you, Valentine’s Day is not February’s main event. Never has been. Probably never will be.
When I first moved from Houston to Marble Falls, Texas, in the early 1990s, I got a job as a fifth-grade teacher. Each month, I changed my calendar bulletin board to match that month’s focus. Several of my teacher friends were confused by my February rodeo-themed display. I was confused by their hearts and cupids. Y'all, I was 25 years old before I learned the jarring truth that February isn’t rodeo month for the whole world.
I’m still baffled by this. Growing up, February was the month I got new boots, jeans, and western shirt. It was the month I pretended to be a bona fide country girl, even though I’d never gathered eggs or milked a cow. It was the month we went to the Astrodome to see whatever country music star we could get tickets for. One year, it was Donny and Marie Osmond. I was 9 years old and pretty sure Marie and I would be sisters-in-law one day.
All these years later, when the calendar turns to February, I get a hankering to watch a calf-roping contest, to cheer the bull riders and wave at the rodeo queen. While everyone else craves those little candy message hearts, I long for sausage on a stick. Save your chocolate and roses... I can get those any time. For me, this is rodeo time.
Though I haven’t lived in that city for over three decades, you’ll never take Houston out of this girl. My life experience isn’t wrong... it’s just different. Through the years, many have tried to convince me I’m incorrect, that my point of view isn’t valid. They’ve shaken their heads, laughed, and rolled their eyes at my lack of Valentine cheer. And that’s OK because they don’t have my history. They don’t get it because they haven’t walked in my Houston-bred boots. In their minds, I’m wrong and they’re right. In my mind, I’m right, and they don’t have a clue.
This unique point of view has served me well. When I meet someone I disagree with, someone I don’t understand, it helps to remember rodeo time. Rather than become angry and frustrated, I try to put myself in their boots. Those boots may not fit. They may feel uncomfortable. But I do my best to puzzle out what makes the other person think and feel the way they do.
Sometimes, I’m still left scratching my head. Usually, I walk away with compassion, tolerance and love. I may never agree with them, and I may never think they’re right. But when I take a moment to really listen, to try and see things from someone else’s history, I’m always richer for the trying.
“Walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace,” Ephesians 4:1-3.
Renae Brumbaugh Green is a bestselling author and award-winning humor columnist. She lives in Stephenville with her handsome, country-boy husband, nearly perfect children, and far-too-many animals. Connect with Renae at www.RenaeBrumbaugh.com