Smelly Socks: You can't take Texas out of Texans

By Johanna Bloom
Jan. 17, 2013 at midnight
Updated Jan. 16, 2013 at 7:17 p.m.

Playing in the snow.

Playing in the snow.

Ranch Life

Austin, my 12-year-old, and I are cursed. We are both hindered with bad allergies. He has asthma, and I honestly don't think my child has ever been able to breath consistently through his nose. I understand his misery and every night we take our allergy medicine, puff on our inhalers, slather on the Vicks VapoRub and pray for a better morning.

Jamison and my husband, John, have been blessed to not know our degree of suffering, except for having to put up with our unpleasantness when we can't breathe. While occasionally their noses might be a little stuffy, they never have to suffer more than a day, while Austin and I trail behind them stopping to blow our noses every other minute for weeks on end.

Every Christmas, Jamison, my 8-year-old, sweetly writes on his Christmas list that he "really wants to see and feel some snow." In reality Jamison has seen and felt snow many times. Christmas vacations for many years always end with us heading to take our kids to visit "snow country." This is just Jamison's little way to push his Dad's buttons.

However, John doesn't need much encouragement to take this little trip. Mountains and snow are two of John's great loves. So, as usual, after the Christmas festivities are over, my husband piles everyone into our four-wheel drive Jeep, and off we head to the mountains.

As soon as we cross over the Texas border heading to the mountains and we start to see white snow blankets on either side of the road, Austin's nose and my nose miraculously become unstuffed. Breathing is no longer a chore, and for the first time in weeks our mouths are closed, and we feel human again. Going to see snow country is worth the long car ride for the sheer relief we get from our allergies. Thankfully the snow covers up all of the irritates that bother our allergies in Texas. Ah, sweet relief was ours for at least a short time.

Recently, my husband discovered skiing, and it is a love he shares with our sons. Austin, who has skied with John in the past, decided to try snowboarding. This year was Jamison's first to ski, and he was a natural. It wasn't long before the aches and pains of using new muscles sidelined the boys, and true to form, they turned their interest to something more mischievous.

The boys busily began preparing for our annual high-country snowball fight that was slated to be the boys against Mom and Dad. This is something that they always look forward to, and I have to admit I also enjoy it.

This year, they got really into it and built a wall of snow to hide behind and a supply of snowballs were stashed ahead of time. They even recruited some area kids to join in. They pelted John and me unmercifully. John made a few choice shots himself, but all I did was run around screaming, hollering, begging for mercy and reminding them that I am "their sweet little mother, that would never hurt a soul." I honestly think that they enjoyed that part the best. After a decisive victory was handed to Austin, Jamison and their recruits, we all hugged, and the losers treated everyone to some well-deserved hot chocolate.

Before we knew it, much to everyone's dismay, it was time to head back home. Jamison was delighted that his Christmas wish was once again fulfilled, Austin had a nice time showing off on his snowboard, and John was just wishing for a supply of Advil so that he could walk normally. It snowed and sleeted most of our way home, and we were thankful for our 4x4 vehicle. As we stopped for lunch on our way home, I hurried everyone through their meal; I was worried about the poor road conditions and didn't want to dawdle.

Soon, we were back on the highway in the trusty four-wheel drive. We slipped and slid sideways until we finally gained some traction on the icy road. The boys thought that was great with both of them hollering out in unison, "Floor it, Dad." The hollering continued until John turned around, and they could see his veins protruding from his forehead.

We left the snow and the ice behind as we got closer to home, Austin's and my nose progressively stuffed up, but neither of us did much complaining as we were both ready to get back home. I think Austin said it best, "You can't beat Texas." That seems to be particularly true when you live on a ranch. We will take the allergies, rattlesnakes, sticker burs and scorpions. Who needs five-degree weather, frozen slippery roads and fluffy, white snow except at vacation time? I guess you can take Texans out of Texas, but you can never take the Texas of out Texans.

Johanna is a proud, seventh-generation Texan. She lives on her family's South Texas ranch with her husband and two lively boys. Email Johanna Bloom or Anita Spisak at



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