It’s been over forty years since I left my home town West, TX. I visit frequently because my family still lives there. My parents are gone but they spent over fifty-four years in their one and only home in West. My sister and her husband remain, along with many, many cousins and aunts and uncles. My friends laugh out loud when I tell them I have 112 first cousins.. no, that’s not a typo. Yes, my family is Catholic and Czech. My Mom had 13 siblings and Dad – 15 siblings. There’s a perfectly good reason for having all those mouths to feed… they are farmers and they need field hands.
Most of you know the recent tragedy in West, TX. I visited the town the other day (April 23, 2013) – very sad day. My sister and I walked streets that looked like a war zone. Police officers patrolling everywhere… for safe keeping. It’s a good thing because what makes West so special are the people, traditions, ethics, and down to earth principles. And it would be a real shame if anything ever happened to that!
West is a small town like no other and that’s why it receives volumes of visitors every day. It’s not a beautiful town but it holds special treasures for many. And the town has found it’s sweet spot that visitors flock to so often.
When thinking of my home town, I am reminded how “being different” is their trademark (and the people there enjoy flaunting those differences) – that’s why out-of-towners love it so much. The people from West are not haughty or proud – instead, they hold strong to who they are – humble and earthy – with big hearts. People who’d give you the shirt off their back. As a matter of fact, I experienced it the other day – several people stopped (while walking the devastated streets) and asked if there was anything I needed?
Embrace tradition (who you are) – no one not even the explosion will demolish the strong traditions of West. They are Czech and they are simple people and proud of it too. No one is a stranger to them. Seriously, it’s been part of my life for many years. My family embraces everyone. They welcome you into their homes – dinner table – to a beer – you name it – they share. Family is top priority in their book. It used to drive me crazy because when growing up my mom and dad did not have friends.. they had family. They care for one another deeply.
Why visitors love West, Texas (How West is different than most towns):
1. It’s hard to be duplicated – West is very unique. The majority of the population is Czech and German. So, you know what that means…. beer (everywhere) and frequently offered – one matter what time of day (well not before noon usually – well, usually), kolaches (don’t know what those are click here), Czech and German spoken – more English these days, Polkas and waltzes are played at community functions, predominant dance in West is the polka, and the warmest, friendliest people in Texas.
2. You’re accepted just the way you are – amplifies the trust factor.
3. People get exactly what they expect when visiting West (great times, spirited music and of course good sausage, kolaches and beer – gives accurate results.
4. West makes the ordinary extraordinary – the above factors puts it above most small towns (all the fun things listed) – which encompass the things visitors care about, cherish, and want when visiting a small town.
5. Visitors come to West to get out of the big city or boring small towns – West meets the needs of those yearning to connect with the simple life and a lost sense of community.
6. West gets publicity – mostly WOM (word of mouth) – people all over Texas KNOW and talk about West.
7. West NEVER loses focus. They know who they are and what they do best.
My home town. Many blessings to those who make West what it is today!
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