to pull together several random thoughts that have been bouncing (ka-boing, ka-boing) around in my head this summer as we've travelled around - Nevada, Texas, Minnesota, New York:
First off, this country has wonderful smells. Alpha drives with the windows down a little (I've never gone for that ears-flopping-in-the-wind-at-seventy-miles-an-hour look), and to move from the Nevada desert sage to the pines in Flagstaff back down to the Arizona desert, and New Mexico, and the Texas Panhandle, and the Texas Hill Country.... even the smell of the rabbits changes as you go. It's amazing. I'm just glad I'm one of the lucky dogs who gets to travel.
We're in Minnesota now, just a few miles from where I was born. I recognize SO many smells here: not just the RabbitsThatRunCrooked, but the DeerThatBounceHigh and the SquirrelsThatRunUpTrees and CharlieTheBigDogNextDoor, and GanderTheLittleDogThreeDoorsDown and the LittleBirdsThatFlyAway and the BigBirdsThatRunAway and the BigBirdsThatSwimAway... it's wonderful.
And I get to say "hi" to all the ladies who use the road past our place to walk for exercise. They started doing that more when the road got paved than they did when it was gravel... But it raises a couple questions: Where are the men (or do men get there exercise somewhere else?)? And don't they realize that if they wanted to really exercise, all they'd have to do is sniff out the rabbit hiding two rows into the beanfield and chase that little thing? Two minutes of serious rabbit-chasing and you are exercised out: you need to slurp up some water and take a nap!
But while I'm asking questions, I noticed as we drove through the country this last month or so that Texans are proud people: just about every town has a sign that says its water system is top-notch, and about half of them have a sign that says its schools are top-notch too. Now understand, I've got nothing against people being proud. I prance a bit with my head high and my chest puffed up too, even when I haven't done anything terribly special yet that day. I do wonder, though, how every single town can have "the best" water. If they all have it, doesn't that make them all "average"? Or does "the best" just mean it's safe to drink every day? I know, I know: I should find out what the standards are before I go popping off about it, but still, shouldn't "top-notch" mean more than "I'm as good as everyone else"?
And the "top-notch" schools thing bugs me, too. When every third town has "exemplary" schools, how can Texas rank 48th in the nation in SAT scores??? Either the SAT is flawed, or the Texas standard is flawed. (I will give Texans credit, though - over half their kids took the SAT. That's a better percentage than most states, even if it doesn't explain the dismal average scores: too many states with even more kids taking the test scored higher).
Oh, well - that's enough thinking for one day. I've got ladies to say "hi" to, and rabbits to chase :)