As of late, I’ve learned that, generally speaking, Texans speak with a colloquialism unlike any other place in America. Certain US regions have their tell-tale accents (Chicago, New England, New Jersey, the deep South, etc), but few compare to the slang and idioms of Texas. It’s like a whole other country. And if you disagree with them on that, they’ll probably just secede to prove their point.
And you know what? I’m kinda jealous, because here in Michigan, we really don’t have a dialectal distinctiveness. It’s all rather meat and potatoes midwestern mumblings. We have all the creativity of a…um, of an…er, of an uncreative person. That’s not the case in Texas.
For instance – if it’s really hot, around here it’s generally “Man, it’s hotter than heck!” (there’s no swearing in Michigan, you know) But in Texas, it’s “Man, it’s hotter than a two dollar pistol at an all-nite shoot out!” Or take personal appearance…say, ugliness. In Michigan, its “Man, she’s as ugly as heck!”. But in Texas, you’re liable to hear “He was so ugly his mama used to have to tie a pork chop around his neck just so the dogs would play with him!” Or say someone’s talkative, a real chatterbox. In Michigan, we might say “What the heck, shut yo mouth!” But in Texas, you could hear someone comment “She has enough tongue for ten rows of teeth!”
See where I’m coming from? There’s a rhythm, and a slight tinge of whimsy, to Texas-speak. Why say something ordinary, when you can say it BIG? And I don’t mean this in any derogatory way, either. I believe they’re proud of their vernacular virtuoso, and they ought to be.
So it got me thinking. What if Jesus was from Texas? How would the Gospels sound then?
And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, “The Kingdom of heaven may be compared to a rancher who gave a rodeo for his son, and he sent his cowhands to round up those who were invited to the rodeo; but they would not come. Again he sent other cowhands, saying ‘Tell those who are invited, Behold, the beef’s on the barbecue and the beans are in the pot, and everything’s ready ‘cept for the spittin’ and the grinnin'; come to the rodeo.’ But they made light of it and went off, one to his ranch, another to his oil derrick, while the rest seized the cowhands, treated them shamefully, and strung them up. The rancher was angry, and he sent a posse and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. Then he said to his cowhands, ‘The rodeo is ready, but those invited were as unworthy as a rubber band at a pistol fight. Go therefore out into the trails, and invite as many as y’all find.’ And these cowhands went out into the trails and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good; so the rodeo was filled with guests (Mt 22: 1-10)
But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man from The University of Texas was going from Austin to Ft Wayne, and he fell among cattle rustlers, who stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a Texas alum was going down that road; and when he saw him he passed by on the other side, like a collie avoiding a den of skunks…But a Sooner from Oklahoma, as he journeyed, came to where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion, and went to him and bound up his wounds… (Lk 10: 29-31, 33-34)
So he told them this parable: ‘What rancher of y’all, having a hundred head of cattle, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine at the watering hole, and go after the calf which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lassos it, hogties it and carries it upon his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, “Rejoice with me, for I have found my calf which was lost, and I’m happier than a rabbit at a carrot convention!” (Lk 15: 3-6)
You have heard that it was said, “You shall not commit adultery.” But I say to y’all that every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already eaten his supper before saying grace. (Mt 5: 27-28)
You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I say to y’all, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…For if y’all love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even cattle rustlers do the same? And if y’all salute only your brethren, what more are y’all doing than others? Do not even those from Oklahoma do the same?” (Mt 5: 43-44, 46-47)
A ten-gallon ht to Rebecca at Shoved to Them, a true Texan who is not all hat and no cattle.