Lone Star Success News

Deep in the Heart of Texas

August 14th, 2014

by Susan Combs

You’ve heard the old saying: variety is the spice of life. That is certainly true for Texas cities. They are varied, diverse, exciting, and successful and range in sizes from teensy to towering.

People move for jobs, sure. But they also move to places. Places with great names. Places with great vibe. For example, how about Booker? Bet you never heard of it, but you should. Small place, but plenty of sass, in a remote corner of the state. I had the chance to visit this outpost of great Texans some years ago. Didn’t see a booming metropolis. But I saw a guy wearing one of those gimme caps with the words: “Booker. Next Nine Exits.”

Huh? I hadn’t seen any exits, much less nine. This relentlessly optimistic Texan grinned and said proudly: “Booker, we’ve got nine streets.” That is what makes Texas and its cities of all sizes great. Literally. He was all hat and..well…at least nine cows.

So how about a batty city? Austin fills the bill. For some it is batty for other reasons than a giant bat colony that emerges in the early evening near the Lady Bird Lake and fills the skies. People travel to see it and we welcome both the boost to the economy and the natural insect control!

How about Brewster County where I ranch? We are big and proud kind of Texans, and Brewster County is also the largest county in the state. We’re not bragging, just stating the facts…while Texas is bigger than France (which is a good thing!!!), my home ranch county is bigger than…Rhode Island (by 4x!) and about the size of Connecticut. So there.

Remember the UHaul Index? It measures those new Texans moving in from all parts of this great country. Maybe not ALL move to Brewster County, but some do. Wide open spaces, gorgeous skies, and good heavens…the stars. We had some friends out at our ranch, turned off all the lights inside and went outside. We looked up at the heavens. Someone said- “Gee, what is that cloud?” Took me a second to figure out what they meant. It was the Milky Way.

The Lone Star State has long been linked to the heavens, and we haven’t lost our bearings here in Texas. We are still linked to the stars. Remember, the first word spoken upon landing on the moon in 1969 was “Houston…” Not New Jersey, Detroit, Los Angeles, but Houston. And Houston is also home to some bright lights of its own, with 26 of Texas’ Fortune 500 companies headquartered there. Wow!

And what about Hondo? Hondo is a great town west of San Antonio with a German background with great food and greater accents. And the sign! As a kid we drove through Hondo on the way to the ranch. My father would not let me read the sign out loud. See if you agree. “THIS IS GOD’S COUNTRY. DON’T DRIVE THROUGH IT LIKE HELL.” We stuck to the speed limit…mostly.


And what about our great city of San Antonio? Home of the biggest little river in Texas: The San Antonio River Walk, where you can watch paddleboats while eating some of the state’s best Tex-Mex. It’s a real treat.

Let’s not forget our biggest friend in Dallas – Big Tex. He’s a stand up guy, just like the rest of us Texans.

The point is – Texas is big enough to embrace us all, welcome us all, and turn us into boosters.

So whether your city/town of choice is big or small, Houston or Hondo, Austin or Alpine, Dallas or Dalhart…we have everything. And we want you to sit a spell.

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Susan Combs
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

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