Back as soon as I lived in Dallas, I functioned for a training video clip company that dedicated in continuing education for around 25 different industries. Our legislation enforcement maintain network was courting a particularly lucrative contract to provide video training come police departments transparent the state of Illinois. The courtship was successful and we hosted a barbecue dinner come celebrate the closeup of the door of the deal.

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The mrs in fee of planning the event, Sharon, to be a actual nice lady who was not from Texas. She planned everything down come the table centerpieces … which were small fake saguaro cacti through cowboy hats, lassos and cowboy boots.

“Does the say Texas or what?” Sharon said as she stood ago to admire her work.


“Sharon, the lovely. But there’s a problem,” ns said. “Saguaro cacti do not flourish in Texas.”

By the look on her face, you’d have thought ns shot her.

“But it says ‘Texas’ to me,” she said.

“Sharon, honey, saguaro says ‘Arizona’ and ‘southern California’ because that’s whereby it grows,” ns said. “They’re strictly from the Sonoran Desert, no Texas.”

“Oh my (gosh), Janna. You’re not gaining all purist-Texan ~ above me, space you?” she snapped.

“I can not let girlfriend perpetuate a stereotype about my ancestral home and also dis the great state the Arizona in the process,” i replied. “Use prickly pear cacti or none in ~ all.”

Prickly pear cactus is the Texas state cactus, just as the bluebonnet is our state flower, the mockingbird is ours bird and also the pecan tree is our tree.

Sharon cussed me nice good, yet she walk out and also got prickly pears.

I know y’all think all this was most likely pretty silly, but I have to tell girlfriend that one of my pets peeves is human being planning Texas-themed barbecues and putting saguaro cacti top top the invitations.

In fact, ns can’t was standing anything labeled “Texas” or “Texan” that has saguaro cacti in the representation.


Last Christmas, I collection up my own desktop Texas-themed Christmas tree in ~ the III Corps public Affairs Office. Ns swore I’d never do a Texas-themed Christmas anything, but due to the fact that I pen this column, ns figured it would be fun.

While shopping for Texas-themed ornaments (yes, i caved and also bought cowboy Santas even though ns think they look weird), I discovered a box of “Texas” Christmas ornaments containing saguaro cacti.

I complained to the retailer.

My campaign versus “saguaro-cactus-as-Texan” borders on an obsessive-compulsive disorder. It’s no that i don’t prefer the cactus; i do. I think it’s really cool. However if we’re going to execute things “Texan” we don’t have to rob Arizona of the cactus that bears the state flower. That disrespectful to the civilization of Arizona. And also the cactus wouldn’t grow here anyway. Again, it only grows in the Sonoran Desert.

Y’all probably think this is stunner … and it could well be. But hear me the end on this, please.

Texans already are accused of being bold, brassy and myopic once it concerns our state. Ns feel choose the appropriation of an additional state’s symbols perpetuates that stereotype.

The fact is, Texans space mortified when we find out we’ve offended somebody. We shot real hard to not hurt anyone’s feelings. And Arizonans space pretty territorial once it concerns their cactus.

I learned all about the saguaro cactus top top a pilgrimage to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson nearly twenty years ago. Ns played golf on a food there the was complete of saguaro cacti. I invested a week there, taking in all things Arizonan. In law so, i learned that Arizonans are pretty crazy about their huge cacti. So, yes, ns have become adamant about them as well.

Not lengthy after the an excellent Texas Cactus/Barbecue Party debacle, one of my coworkers, a aboriginal Arizonan, took me next to talk privately.

“I recognize you told Sharon to change the cactus centerpieces,” Dave said.

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“Yes, i did,” ns said.

“Good job,” he said. “Saguaros only thrive in Arizona. Cd driver me stunner when human being don’t respect that.”