Do you know what the Texas state motto is? Friendship. One simple word that says so much. It says empathy and nurturing. It says welcome and goodwill.
Many of us non-Texans are confused. We would understand if your state motto was “We Control Women’s Bodies” or “We Love Voter Suppression” or even “Guns for Everyone!” Those mottos would make sense given the recent passage of extreme abortion restrictions (enforced by citizen vigilantes who can earn bounties by turning in violators!), laws that restrict voting options, and laws that basically turn the state into an open-carry gun show.
But sometimes it’s the small stories that really make you wonder about this Friendship motto. The other day a young couple, the parents of a four-month-old immunocompromised son, got a well-deserved night out together. Finally, finally, they could take a break from their exhaustion and worries and enjoy some time together. They’re fully vaccinated against Covid, but decided to still wear masks to protect their son.
They met friends for dinner at Hang Time Sports Grill & Bar. It’s about 20 miles outside of Dallas. Unfortunately, they chose the wrong place to go that night, or perhaps the wrong state to live in.
Restaurant management forced them to leave–because they were masked and wouldn’t take their masks off. Up north in that other country, New York, you might have to be vaccinated or wear masks or maybe both to go into restaurants. But Texas does things their way: you can’t be masked in the restaurant!
The restaurant’s owner, Tom, explained his thoughts to reporters: “I have spent my money on the business, my blood sweat and tears in this business, and I don’t want masks in here,” Tom said. He said it’s a private business and he has every right to refuse service to those who want to wear their mask.
“What about the blood, sweat, and tears spent by healthcare workers trying to save people seriously ill with Covid, the vast majority of them having lived to this point unmasked and unvaxxed?” the reporter forgot to ask.
I guess that would be a stupid question to ask Tom, because chances are his answer would be stupid. He said this whole masking thing in the United States was ridiculous.
Way to go, Tom. Way to show your friendship. Way to go, Texas!!!
Some people, probably people who believe in vaccination and who think masks might help get the pandemic under better control, went straight to Hang Time’s Yelp review page to let Tom know their own thoughts on the matter.
P.S. A discerning reader left Elie Wiesel’s “Night” in my little free library. It’s a short and devastating memoir about his experience in a German concentration camp. Wiesel’s the one who said, “We must always take sides.” I’ve taken mine.