Texas is known for a lot of things; cattle, cowboys and being a wide-open state. But because of the economic downturn and a shortfall in the state budget, legislators decided to cut costs by closing for a few days.
That's right; Texas is closed.
In the state house, the governor signed the measure last week with the first targeted closing date of April 1st. This may have been a poor choice of when to begin because most people simply could not, and did not believe it. "This has to be an April Fool's joke!" said Maria Vasquez as she found herself caught in the long line of cars that had been stopped at the state line. "I live in Brownsville and I have to get home!"
After walking nearly 3 miles, we managed to reach the barricades at the state line and approached a highway patrol officer for some information. But what we got was something entirely different. "Boy, you cain't read, can you? It says 'closed'!"
Trying to reason with most of those who had been tasked with securing the state was almost impossible. But we did manage to talk to one police officer that was a little less abrasive. "It ain't nothing but a thang, you know? They closed the state to save money and all these folks will just have to wait it out like the rest of us."
Looking behind me, the line of traffic extended as far as the eye could see and if the weather should turn bad, this could become a Texas-sized humanitarian nightmare.
Soon, we saw a convoy of large military trucks approaching from behind the roadblock. It was Major Gus (Gravy) Girth of the Texas National Guard and about 200 troops come to relieve the patrolmen.
As the soldiers piled out of the trucks, they were each issued a can of pepper spray, a large cowboy hat and an M-16 assault rifle, with these orders from the Major, "Boys, you been dealt a s**t detail here for sure, but I know you will make me proud! Iffen them what are caught up on the other side in Louisiana start to get ugly, put on them hats and try to talk to 'em nice and all. If that don't work, gash 'em with the spray. But whatever you do, iffens you have to shoot 'em, just make sure you drag them back on the Texas side of the line."
The closure is due to end this Sunday at midnight.
More later as this situation develops.