Soon after I moved to Texas, near the end of the previous century, I was in a bookstore where I found and bought a Guide to Texas.
Over the years the Guide to Texas has guided me to places like Minerals Wells and the Baker Hotel, Dinosaur Valley, Fossil Rim Wildlife Center, Fair Park, Enchanted Rock, White Rock Lake, the Dallas Farmers Market, Palo Duro Canyon, Galveston, Canton's First Monday Trade Days and many places and events I'm not remembering right now.
Until yesterday I had never noticed or read the Introduction chapter in my Guide to Texas. It amused me.
"It's difficult growing up in Texas. Having to ride your horse to school each day, the noisy oil derrick squeaking behind your house. And then all that dust and those tumbleweeds. It's enough to make you kind of twangy.
The myths surrounding Texas have infiltrated even the most remote of outbacks and the most educated of minds. It's dusty and wild, filled with women and men not satisfied with one name. There's Sue Ellen, Betty Jo and Jim Bob. Hell, Texas must be the only state that lets parents use middle names.
All kidding aside, Texas really is like no other place. Its residents are proud and strong and united with the land they cover. Non-Texans might find the lack of humility disconcerting - Texans will tell them that they just don't understand. Being Texan, to many, is like being from a very large family. A really big family.
The areas that Texas covers are extreme. From the dank, Piney Woods of East Texas, to the sparse desert in the west, so many are surprised by the hidden treasures of the state. When unaware visitors first descend into Austin or San Antonio, peering around and above the undulating, verdant Hill Country, they are delighted, to say the least.
Legends are here. All around. There are big, bold voices, raised to speak their minds. There are big, strong men and women who take the world by the horns. There are big, beautiful vistas that inspire poets and artists. And with a land as broad and deep and varied as Texas, how could there not be legendary material?
Texas fancy themselves a bit unusual. Perhaps that's why Texas roads are something of a puzzle to outsiders. The acronyms you'll find preceding highway numbers look different from those in the rest of the world. Most have origins in rural Texas and actually used to mean something.
FM means Farm to Market. RM means Ranch to Market. RR means Ranch Road. CR or CO means County Road. And PR means Park Road."
Well, it took over 10 years, and the answer was right before me all this time, but now I finally know what FM, RM, RR, CR, CO and PR means.