Oh the Humanity !

An earth shattering event happened around here last fall and I was too wrapped up in personal stuff to report it. Big Tex, one of the most beloved and familiar icons of the Lone Star State, went up in flames. If you want to read the official news story concerning this event, see link below.

Big Tex originated  in the Dallas area sometime in the 1940's or 1950's as a  rather thin Santa Clause promoting a local business. Not finding success at that job and perhaps feeling discriminated against vis-a-vis all the other Santas out there on issues of weightism,  Big Tex somehow made his way, with a change of clothes, across town to the State Fair grounds, where he has welcomed visitors ever since I was a baby in the early 1960's. He was famous not only for his sartorial flair, but also for his mechanical drawl of "Howdy Texans!" which emanated from his hinged jaw that dropped, skeletally, as he spoke. (Imagine Craig Ferguson's sidekick Geoff.) Due to his height, he was often used as a landmark for various friends and families visiting the State Fair, as in "We'll meet by Big Tex at noon". No one could miss him. (P.S. He wasn't as tall as this image would seem to suggest, i.e. taller than the world's tallest Ferris wheel. He was 52 feet tall.)

Many natives, myself included, felt shock and awe as we watched the perpetually unfolding news images of smoke and flames pouring out of our beloved icon.  We couldn't bear to look, yet we couldn't tear ourselves away. In that special way that grief sometimes combines with dark humor, I couldn't help but being reminded of images from the original "Ghostbusters" movie, when the Stay Puffed Marshmallow Man went up in flames. Proof of Big Tex's humanlike persona is that State Fair officials carried his remains out in giant body bag while thousands watched and mourned. Didn't want folks to gawk at his charred carcass, didn't want to leave the burned metal skeleton and fried electrical wiring around for folks to see. Since that day, there has been a public clamor to rebuild Big Tex. Someone somewhere traced down another head, long forgotten  in storage or a junkyard , that was made at the same time for Big Tex. Plans to create another oddly proportioned body for him have begun.

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