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Tag: A to Z challenge

A to Z Texas: M is for the Munster Mansion

Munster Mansion Replica in Waxahachie, Texas While there is no official address for, “1313 Mockingbird Lane,” in Waxahachie, Texas, there is one fantastic looking replica of the Munster family home where, in 2001, Sandra and Charles McKee built a replica of the house depicted in the classic TV sitcom. Since it’s a fictional house, the pair watched and re-watched all 70 episodes of the show in order to create their building plans. They even have a fire-breathing creature under the main staircase. Some rooms, such as the bathroom, were never shown in the series, so they were able to wing…

A to Z Texas: 2nd Longest Burning Light Bulb in the World

The Eternal Light of Fort Worth, Texas Fort Worth, Texas is home to the second longest lasting light bulb in the world. Nicknamed the “Eternal Light,” this legendary light bulb has been burning since September 21, 1908. That’s nearly 105 years! Now on view at the Fort Worth Stockyards Museum, where it is protected from the harsh Texas elements and kept on a protected electrical circuit, this little 4 watt wonder started out on the back porch of the Byers Opera House, which later became the Palace Theater. The name of the joint really didn’t matter to the bulb, of…

A to Z Texas: K is for Kolaches

What is a Kolache? Kolaches are a Czech pastry consisting of a light sweet dough filled with fruit that immigrants introduced to Texas when they settled here in the 1850’s. The word kolache comes from kolae, which is the Czech word for, “cake.” While traditional kolaches are filled with fruit and jam, the Texan style pastry includes savory, meat-filled versions, too. Where is the Kolache Capital of Texas? You wouldn’t think a pastry could inspire a controversy, but that’s exactly what happened with Kolaches here in Texas. While it hasn’t yet come to fisitcuffs, the towns of Caldwell and West…

A to Z Texas: J is for Jesus in Cowboy Boots

Quirky Statue in Paris, Texas After mentioning Paris, Texas recently in the post A to Z Texas: E is for Eiffel Tower I’m bringing up that little burg again because it’s home to a quirky statue known locally as the, “Jesus in cowboy boots.” This statue is actually the 20 foot tall grave marker honoring a man named Willet Babcock, who died in 1888. While impressive, it would hardly be the quirky tourist attraction that it has become were it not for the unusual footwear worn by the cross-bearing figure it depicts; instead of the bare feet or sandals one…

A to Z Texas: I is for Idioms

Texan Accents Vary I love how accents and slang vary throughout the USA, so, for me, that aspect of moving to Texas has been a real treat. Of course, since Texas is such a big place, there is no one official Texan accent. Think for a moment of how different Tommie Lee Jones, Billy Bob Thornton and H. Ross Perot sound from one another even though they are all Texan natives. (And what’s with their three-piece names? Maybe that’s a Texan thing. I will have to look into that. Ooh – Lyndon B. Johnson, there’s another!) My Favorite Texas Idioms…

A to Z Texas: H is for the Healing Water of Mineral Wells

Weird Tasting Water Has Healing Properties In the 1880’s, Judge James Alvis Lynch and his wife, Armenia, moved to north Texas and dug a well. At first, the couple was afraid to drink from it because the water tasted odd. After seeing that their livestock thrived, however, the pair began drinking from the well, too. That’s when things got interesting. Prior to drinking from their new well, James had a stomach issue and Armenia suffered from rheumatism. After drinking from it, the couple’s health conditions promptly cleared up. In fact, their whole family – which included nine children – seemed…

A to Z Texas: G is for German Dialect

German Culture is Part of Texas For some reason, when people speak of immigrants to the USA, New York’s Ellis Island gets all the press. We tend to overlook the fact that the port of Galveston in Texas brought many newcomers to our country, as well. Starting in the 1830’s, for instance, tens of thousands of Germans came to Texas. Although their cultural influence extends across the state, most of them settled in the Hill Country (near Austin), creating towns such as Fredricksburg, Boerne (pronounced, “bernie”) and New Braunfels. While the German flag never flew over Texas, its language and…

A to Z: The 6 Flags of Texas

In Texas, Every Day is Flag Day Technically, Flag Day is June 14th, but it’s easy to get the impression that Flag Day is every day here in the state of Texas. The Dallas – Fort Worth region is quite breezy, which makes it easy to express your pride for state and country with proudly waving flags. Texas State Flag: A Popular Urban Legend Since moving here, I’ve heard over and over that, “Texas is the only state in the USA allowed to fly its flag at the same height as the US flag.” This, it turns out, is an…

A to Z Texas: Dinosaur Footprints in Glen Rose

A to Z Texas: D is for Dinosaurs While many American states have official fossils, only eight – including Texas – have an official state dinosaur. (For those interested, here’s a full list 8 Official State Dinosaurs) The Lone Star State’s official dino is called Pauluxysaurus Jonesi and looks like a huge brontosaurus. Biggest Dinosaur Ever Just as you might expect, this being Texas, our state dinosaur isn’t just big, it is – arguably – the biggest creature ever to walk the earth! Dinosaur Tracks in Glen Rose, Texas What’s great about the Texas state dinosaur is that you don’t…

A to Z: CFS – the Freedom Fries of Texas?

What is CFS? When I first moved to Texas, I had no idea what people around here meant by the term “CFS.” To me, it sounded like shorthand for a debilitating disease! I eventually learned that CFS stands for, “chicken fried steak,” or, “county fried steak,” depending on whose etymology you choose. Recipes vary, but the general idea is a battered fried cutlet. In Texas restaurants, it’s usually topped with a thick white gravy flecked with black pepper and a side of mashed potatoes. Does CFS Have European Roots? Like the hamburger, whose origins are widely disputed, the exact origins…

A to Z Texas: Bluebonnets & Bastard Cabbage

Wildflowers are Big in Texas Each year, spring slams into Texas with all the subtlety of a meteor, and bright swathes of red, blue, purple and yellow wildflowers bloom alongside the highways. Bluebonnets are the Texas state flower While those living elsewhere are often oblivious to their state’s flower, it’s a rare Texan who does not know that the Bluebonnet is the Lone Star State’s official blossom. In fact, it’s become a Texan tradition to dress in your Sunday best, park along the shoulder of a road, and take photos of your loved ones surrounded by wildflowers. Lady Bird’s Bill…

A to Z Texas: Alien Grave in Aurora

Blogging from A to Z I’m blogging about Texas from A to Z this month, with an emphasis on the quirky side of the Lone Star State. Bloggers all over the world are working their way through the alphabet, too, with topics as diverse as wacky princesses, vegan recipes and Romanian culture. If you’d like to join along, check out the official A to Z blogging challenge for details. A is for: Alien Grave in Aurora, Texas Last year, I learned of a strange incident that allegedly occurred in Aurora, Texas. According to a newspaper article published by the Dallas…