Deep in the Heart of Texas Daddies


Everything is better in Texas. This is a well-documented fact. Just ask a Texan. 

We are kind of a big deal. Our starry night skies and barbecue are the stuff of legend. The tacos and margaritas alone will bring you back after foolish attempts to move away. True story, y’all.

Most of what makes us awesome is already well known. It’s not like we’ve been shy about telling everyone. But if you pull away the layers of our story and find the quiet places where our roots meet the earth, you’ll find the reason behind our strength. You will also find out why people shouldn’t mess with Texas women: Texas daddies.

A little girl can find no better hero than a country boy who grew up in the Lone Star State. I know this truth because I lived it and got the t-shirt, y’all. My daddy grew up thick in the middle of nowhere, Texas. The stories of his youth are full of tractors, dirt roads, and trouble. I know for sure he had a penchant for Wild Turkey, but the details are sketchy on that. He met my sweet southern mama, quit drinking, and found Jesus. My mama will be glad to tell you the entire story at any time, by the way.

old photo daddy daughter
That’s me and my hard-working daddy!

My dad put himself through college while working the night shift when I was knee high to a grasshopper. He ended up retiring as a director from the very same company he worked for in the middle of the night back in 1982. He’s all muscles, hard work, cowboy boots, and big smiles. He’s a good ol’ boy with deep Texas roots, and he is the very best daddy.

If you come from a long line of Texans, chances are you were raised by a man much like my dad. My experience is certainly not the exception. Growing up, lots of my friends had their own versions of my dad. Country boys might be a little rough around the edges, but they grow into men with strong arms and soft hearts — perfect for raising a little girl into a loving and powerful woman. 

I’ve worked on the east coast and the west, and l loved meeting folks who were genuinely surprised at how easily I could toggle between proper southern girl and take-no-prisoners spitfire. I have my Texas daddy to thank for that. My mama agrees, because she’s the one who started calling me a spitfire while giving my dad the side eye back around 1985. 

While none of our personal stories will be identical, common threads connect those of us who were raised by these rockstars. Because Texas Daddy’s Father’s Day is right around the corner, I think it’s a good time to celebrate everything wonderful — and hysterical — about our cowboy boot-wearing heroes. Here’s a handy dandy list of my favorite small town daddy traits.

You might have been raised by a Texas daddy if:

  • He treated you like a princess and a boy at the same time. My dad had three daughters. This didn’t bother him in the least. He raised us exactly the same way he would have raised boys. We learned about football, firm handshakes, and keeping your mouth shut at the deer lease. He also carried us over puddles to keep our shoes from getting dirty, managed a decent ponytail when mama was out of town, and cheered the loudest at every single drill team performance. Also, I’m probably being generous with the word decent, but it is Father’s Day. Either way, country boys raise daughters with an excellent combination of tomboy and girly girl qualities. My mama has never particularly loved the knack I developed for screaming obscenities at the television during Cowboys games, but such is life. 
  • Your mother kicked him under the table. A LOT. Country boys are particularly skilled at saying whatever comes to mind at any time. This drives proper southern mamas insane. Which equals good family fun, if you ask me. Watching my dad get my mom all riled up was basically our favorite pastime growing up. I will never forget the time I invited a new boyfriend over for dinner the summer after high school graduation. Unsurprisingly, my Southern Baptist dad possessed a strong dislike for President Clinton. It was 1995, after all. Anyway, the whole family was sitting at the long formal dining table, tucking into mom’s famous salad, when it happened. The boy, who hailed from Arkansas, announced with a smile that his family had the distinct honor of being close personal friends of the Clintons. What followed was a slow-motion freight train collision of hilarity as my mother almost knocked her own chair over in an attempt to stop my father from opening his mouth. I only have a blurry memory of my little sisters coughing on snorted sweet tea and inhaled pieces of dinner roll while I struggled to breathe through my certainty that we’d be broken up before the chocolate pie was served for dessert. Politically incorrect Texas dads are super fun. Though sometimes only in hindsight, y’all.
  • You were pretty sure he wasn’t kidding about doing bodily harm to the boys you dated. People from other parts of the country might think it only happens in the movies, but Texas daddies seriously put on a scary show for boys who have the audacity to take their daughters out. My dad sent chills of dread coursing through virtually every date I ever had. Impressively, he did this through a simple polite sentence (“Have a nice time. Don’t be late!”) and direct eye contact. I’m 99 percent sure it was some kind of Jedi mind trick. I used to beg my mother to answer the door and make my daddy stay in his room. This never happened.
  • He always makes a grand — and noisy — entrance. Country boys from the backwoods of Texas aren’t generally known for a quiet approach to life. Their personalities tend to be more of the “hootin’ and hollerin’” variety, and it’s not exactly hard to spot them in a crowd. My daddy enters a familiar space like a jovial explosion. He’s the guy who makes his way through a crowd clapping men on the back, shaking hands, and offering hugs — all with his signature easy smile and patented greeting of “Hidee hidee!” I had to work on a spelling for that one. It’s “howdy,” but said two times in a row very quickly and in his thick Texas accent. It comes out sounding like, “HI-DEH” instead of howdy, and it’s basically the best thing ever. Country boys are the ones who ask how your mama’s doing and really want to hear the answer. Probably because your mom was his second grade teacher and your brother hauled hay with him after school in the 10th grade. Small towns rock like that. Personally, I’m loud, generally happy, and never met a stranger. It’s a gift from my super awesome daddy.
old daddy daughter mowing
Just doing some super girly stuff with my dad. It’s weird that this picture looks so old as it totally WASN’T taken in 1978 or anything.
  • He always rescued you while teaching you that you didn’t need rescuingThis one is most impressive. My daddy was, and still is, my knight in shining armor. He saved the day for me a thousand times over and came to my rescue whenever I needed him. Yet somehow, defying all logic, he managed to do this while instilling the knowledge I was a strong and powerful force who could take care of myself. My daddy gave me the inherent belief that I didn’t need a man to save me. It was his honor to help me and my choice to be helped — but he showed me every day that I was strong enough and smart enough to do it myself, too. Country boys tend to have unshakable resolve and self-confidence. They know anything on earth can be accomplished if they are willing to work hard enough for it. In turn, they give that to their daughters. I firmly believe this is one of the reasons many Texas women are forces to be reckoned with. Thanks to my daddy, I’m a fighter who refuses to believe I can’t do something.

In a particularly profound moment that has stayed with me my entire life, he told me I needed to be careful with my words because, “It doesn’t matter what you meant by it, Chalna. It matters what they felt when you said it.” I think of that moment every time I put a pen to paper. My daddy blessed me with love, strength and above all else, faith in God. The world could use more rowdy country boys just like him right about now.

And maybe some Texas tacos and margaritas. That’s probably the answer to world peace, right there.



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