For The Girls

I’m just starting my last day of the Texas book tour.

I’ll be signing tonight at the Waldenbooks in Hurst and will hopefully be able to swing by a couple bookstores in Fort Worth and sign stock first. 

But it’s hot here in Texas, so hot that my face feels like it melts every time I step from the car and I’ve become some horror-film creation, a girl with a wax doll face and the face is now sliding off. Sounds pretty, doesn’t it?

Fortunately the Texas readers and women I’ve met so far have a great sense of humor and they just laugh at my horrible jokes and make me feel like a million bucks and despite all my worries about touring Texas on my own, this has been a great week. I said Texas men would make great romance heroes, but Texas, I think, is all about the women. Texas women are cool. They kick butt. And I mean that is the nicest sort of way. They’re charming and smart, strong, friendly and feisty and I think that sweet, tangy addictive barbecue sauce they serve on steak and ribs had to be inspired by Texas women.

On this trip I’ve stayed with a Porter cousin, Judy, in Austin, and then overnighted in Temple with Debbie, a friend from Visalia (my hometown in California) and have now spent a couple nights in Heath with Cyndi, one of my best friends. Heath, Texas, in the outskirts of Dallas and its been a perfect place as a launch point for Dallas book events.

Both Debbie and Cyndi have three kids, Debbie has two girls and Cyndi has all girls and while staying with them I slept in each of the oldest daughter’s bedroom (thanks Cat Curry and Devanne Parent!) and late at night with the girls posters and awards, photos and shelf of dolls surrounding me, I read copies of their magazines, Seventeen and Teen Vogue, and I felt like a young teenager again. Suddenly jr high and high school wasn�t so long ago and I remember how I dreamed endlessly, dreamed big. I, too, had colorful painted walls, a pretty comforter, and bulletin boards crammed with movie tickets, school photos, trophies, dolls, and school mementos. I didn�t play land sports–was a swimmer–and earned my Varsity letter my freshmen year on the swim team. I wasn’t popular like the gorgeous girls, but was well liked enough (Debbie was RHS’ homecoming queen my senior year and Cyndi was the FFA Sweetheart) and those friendships and Friday nights of cruising Mooney Blvd (or being forbidden to cruise Mooney Blvd) and the parties in the orchards and the high school dances on the tennis courts made us who we are. And who we are is perfect. Who we are is who we should be.

I’d been so afraid to come to Texas and do so much traveling on my own. It�d just seemed overwhelming to have three events in a day plus hours on the road in a rental car, day after day for 8 days straight, but as it’s turned out, I’ve actually come home. I’ve found the young Jane who learned to do her make up from tips in Teen magazine, and styled big 80’s hair because that’s what Farrah Fawcett and other celebrities had (and we in Tulare County still favor big hair….maybe its to go with that love of country music?). Being around young girls and teenagers again makes me laugh. The girls are so fun, and I love the giddiness of being young and hopeful and anxious about the future.

Devanne and Cat, thanks for letting me take over your bedroom. And Cyndi and Debbie, you are awesome parents. I love how you’re raising your children, especially your girls. I don’t have daughters, but if I did, I’d want them to be like yours–pretty, yes, but more than pretty–smart, athletic, funny, kind, curious, and best of all, confident. Cyndi and Deb, you’re wonderful moms and wonderful women and I’m so glad I got to come to Texas to remember what it’s like growing up a girl.

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