By Melvin Edwards
I’ve lived away from Texas for 10 years now and except for the humidity and mosquitos, I try to recreate some of my old Texas experiences every day. Al Gore’s internet makes that so much easier than ever.
The courageous inventor of the internet
Each morning, I wake up and open the Houston Chronicle site to see what’s going on back home. I’m a long-distance Texans and Astros fan, though the Rockets have dropped off my radar lately. I can’t really explain why. Occasionally, I also check out the Austin American-Statesman site because I lived in that city for a few years when I worked for the current land commissioner and governor.
With simple clicks of my mouse, I am back home and well-informed. I know what diminutive second baseman Jose Altuve is doing on the field and in the community. I can listen to or watch games in real time. Back when I was a kid, if I wanted to listen to an Astros game, I had to tune into a local AM station and listen through the crackles of the reception that didn’t bother me at the time, but would probably be unbearable now with modern technology. For an annual subscription, I can watch games on my phone, computer, or TV screen. Thank you, Al Gore!
All during the fall and early winter on either side of New Year 2013, I was struck with Texans’ fever believing they’d reach the Super Bowl after they shellacked the Baltimore Ravens. Living in Baltimore where the Ravens became the eventual Super Bowl champions, it was of little consolation that Houston beat the team that won the league title. But each weekday of the season, I could plug my phone into my car speaker and listen to local Houston sports talk radio and feel a part of the crowd. I was in Baltimore traffic listening to Houston traffic reports.
I try to give my children a feel of living in Texas, while living in Maryland. Watching the news and reading the papers here on anything political always ruins that experiment. And when I see the huge chunk that state income taxes take out of every paycheck, I’m starkly reminded that I’m not in Texas anymore. Still, I try to pretend I am. I have ordered shipments of Blue Bell Ice Cream from Brenham. I have bought – and regularly eat from – dinnerware with the design of the Texas state flag on them. Have you seen the Maryland state flag? Anyone trying to eat off dishes that with design may get motion sickness and lose their crab cakes.
Even sports are different here. My son made his high school baseball team as a freshman just last week. My friends’ children back home have been playing spring sports for over a month already and we couldn’t even have tryouts here until March 1 because of the weather. His best chance of eventually getting recruited to play college baseball will be in playing in expensive summer leagues.
The high school baseball season begins next week and the temperatures will likely be in the 40s. That’s been the hardest part about living so far away from home for me. Al Gore has made it easier to feel connected to Texas from 1,500 miles away, so I’m counting on him to bring in a little more global warming during the winter months because I’m not a fan of cold and snow.
I’m always looking to connect with new and old friends back home, so if you ever want to send messages to cheer me up when I’m freezing, please feel free. Blue Bell Buttered Pecan would also be warmly embraced!