By Savanna Rodriguez, Texan by Nature Intern
For as long as I can remember happiness looked like being surrounded by family, animal companions close by, and more often than not a fishing pole (or a couple) in hand. I grew up south of San Antonio in Losoya, Texas. Growing up my parents worked hard to provide for me and my older brother. In hindsight, money probably was an issue, (I’ve been thrifting since before it was cool) but I’m sure if you asked me and my brother at the time we would have never known. All we knew was the outdoors, sneaking snakes and bugs inside to scare my mom with, my brother skinning squirrels on the porch, chasing our escaped cow down the medina riverbank, and shooting our first bb guns at cans dangling in front of the dense tree line that fenced our land, as far as we knew life was GOOD. Although I have a squirrel-loving brother, I was without a doubt my dad’s mini-me. We were always outside together tending to chickens, goats, the occasional donkey, anything I could bat my eyes for at the local flea market. My mom swears that the only punishment that worked for me at a young age was being condemned to the house with NO outside time (sounds awful even now). I owe my love for the outdoors to my dad amongst many other things, he is a man of MANY jokes. He is also a man of many envelopes. Envelopes you may be wondering about. Yes, envelopes. That’s how my dad saves his money for fun activities or important endeavors little by little in envelopes stashed in a drawer we let him believe is “secret”. We may have been thrifting our entire wardrobe, but come summer there was a beach picnic table and cooler full of sandwiches with our name on it.
Unbeknownst to me it seems that the picnic table was always near Aransas Pass, Texas. Aransas pass is a small town located right between Rockport and Port Aransas. The locals call it saltwater heaven and we’ve got the catches to prove it. Fast forward a couple of years, my upbringing made me value experiences (and the Texas coast). So, it’s no surprise After graduating from Texas A&M – Kingsville I found myself RVing full-time in Aransas Pass. The thought of a landlocked apartment terrified me and my need for fresh air and sunshine. That longing for sunshine and fresh air, and love for fauna and flora had always drawn me toward the outdoors.
Generations of my family could say the same. I am the family’s memory hoarder, every old box of photos that comes out of storage is coming home with me for sure. My favorite parts of old photos are seeing not only my younger self but generations of my family enjoying the same natural places I did. Another thing generations of my family enjoyed were Texas Country music. What they didn’t enjoy so much was my singing at the top of my lungs. Singing wasn’t the only thing I did loud, I sort of just tend to be loud. My dad would often tell me I was scaring the fish away growing up. As I grew up I often smothered my rather loud personality hoping to appeal more “collected”. Now I realize that my being loud is just the Texan pride within me. The spirit to share, care and do so in a BIG way. I mean everything’s bigger in Texas right personalities, fish, the number of Texas-themed tattoos my brother can fit on one arm, you name it. Texas is such a special place I find it hard to articulate how being Texan makes you feel like you’re part of something special. Steven Rinella once said I love Texas sure it’s a show-offy state but every time I do look in its direction I’m impressed if you tend to look at things from a woods, water, and wild food perspective as I do Texas Pride starts to make a lot of sense and there’s nothing wrong with pride as long as it leads to a tendency to share the source of that pride rather than hog it and bottle it up. Wanting to share that pride with past and future generations of Texans is one BIG reason that I am Texan by Nature.