Wondering about wild grapes

Saturday, August 21, 2010

First Taste of Texas

Remember that C&W song, “The First Taste of Texas”? Think I will reminisce a little and think back to when I got my “first taste of Texas”. Actually, my first taste was when I flew down from Yankee Land to Houston for a job interview.

The first thing that hit me was the view out of the airplane’s window as we were descending for a landing at Houston’s big airport. All those trees, rivers, and lakes; where are all the mountains, deserts, and wide open spaces that I saw on all the “cowboy” shows?

After landing, I didn’t need to go outside to get to the hotel there at the airport. All the terminals and the hotel are connected by underground tunnels. Checked into the hotel, had dinner, and decided to step outside to take a look around. It was October and I did not expect what was about to happen. As soon as I stepped out that door I got hit in the face with air that must have escaped from a run-a-way sauna. Could not believe the humidity and heat, and it was way after the sun went down. Started thinking, “what am I getting myself into”. Needless to say, that during that first winter in Texas, I was in shirt sleeves when everyone else was wearing Woolrich and other heavy hooded coats. Now, I am the one wearing the coat.

It was not just the weather that surprised me, but the insects! I had spent the first 36 years of my life living in Pennsylvania and then I moved to Michigan to take a great position. In the short time that I was there, I did try to fish and canoe some of the rivers, but found out that the mosquitoes were so bad at times that you couldn’t breathe without inhaling them. Had to run back to the vehicle for protection, so I knew about bugs. But, roaches were another story. Up north, the only place I had ever seen a roach was in an old barn and they were small and quick to disappear.

Before I go on, let me fill you in on some history. I first came to Texas without my family to find a place to live. Pulled a pop-up tent camper that I lived in until I found a place. The company I came to work for was Richmond Tank Car Company and the Baytown area seamed like the closest place to find temporary living quarters. My youngest son came down to join me and we finally found a town house type of apartment that had two floors with two bedrooms up and one down.

OK, back to the bugs. The first Texas size roach I saw was at work out in the shop in a “men’s room”. It was huge; I had never seen anything like it!!! I ran over and stepped on it. It was so big that I skated across the floor on what was left of it, YUK!!!!

Now, back to the apartment; my son and I moved in and since we had been living in a tent camper, we didn’t have a lot of furniture. We took the mattresses out of the camper and put on the floor, brought in the small TV, and lawn chairs to sit on. Not quite the typical bachelor pad (grin). The first evening there after supper, my son and I settled down to watch a little TV. All of sudden I saw one of those huge roaches run up the wall, then another, then another, etc.

The first thing the next day I complained to the management. They said someone moved out of the unit next to me and it was sprayed, so the bugs must have ran into my place. (Yeh, right.) They said that they would get an exterminator in as soon as they could, but it would take awhile.

Well, they say when you get hit with a sour lemon, make lemonade. I stopped at a store on the way home the next day and saw some toy pistols that shot those darts with the suction cups on the end. I purchased two of them and that night, my son and sat there watching TV, and when a roach ran up the wall, BANG. Hey, it was fun and my son enjoyed it. Of course we didn’t hit everyone that we shot at but we had a good time. Of course when my wife and other son finally came, she asked what the marks were on the wall. We didn’t know???????

I bored you enough for today, will continue with some more “first tastes” in a later blog. Had a lot to learn.


  1. LOL LOL, I don't know how many times over the years to hear the same report about the roaches in Texas encountered by you Yankee's!!! I "could" tell you a story about a Yankee lady I met one time and her encounter with her first one, but will let that wait for another day.

    Back during the economic down turn in the 70s and 80s we made it a hobby of taking Michigan plates off Cars parked in the local bars..

  2. Hey Ben, is that where my plate went?!?!? I was only in Michigan for 15 months, so didn't get attached to that state. Although the northern part of it was to my likeing.

  3. Not all things in Texas are bigger, I have seen the blood suckers up north and they dwarf the little pip squeaks down here. Now before anyone gets carried away about damn yankee, I am born and raised an East Texan. I have also seen the yankee roaches and they do not even come close to the ones here. I have one or two that I am thinking about saddling up and riding, if, I can find a saddle big enough. I don't have very many in the house, they won't fit through the door.