Happy Monday, all! I mentioned a while back that I would have a book ready this month, then things seemed to be going a little slow, so I kept quiet. As it turns out, I’m close to finishing my edits and my last read through. I will put up the preorder for That Perfect Someone as soon as I can. I just need a book file and a cover! I have plenty of possible images for a cover picked out. I just need to see what works.
If you missed my reading at the JAFF Reader/Writer Get Together and my preview at Austen Variations, Lizzy is a vet and Darcy is a horse owner in this modern AU variation. I had an idea for an interaction early on where Lizzy is examining Darcy’s horse and he’s being a complete douche. I was a vet tech once upon a time and rode horses from the time I was five. I even showed in Western Pleasure and English classes at open shows for five years when I was at college/university. I adore horses so this was a fun way to use some knowledge I already possessed, though I still had to research to make sure what I knew was still the current course.
In That Perfect Someone, Lizzy is a veterinarian in the Texas Hill Country. Since most people go to vet school in their state of residence (it’s extremely hard to be accepted outside of your home state!), Lizzy is a Texas A&M Aggie. I know some of you may not know what an Aggie is, so in simple terms, an Aggie is a farmer and refers to the school’s agricultural background. Texas A&M University is an agricultural and mechanical college well known for it’s engineering department, vet school, and its research (medical, agricultural, etc). Von Miller, a famous American football player, obtained a degree in Poultry Science from A&M before being drafted into the NFL. Texas A&M has the only veterinary medicine program in the state of Texas.
Texas A&M University is a school full of long-standing traditions and a lot of history. The Aggies are called the 12th Man, which dates back to 1922 and an Aggie named E. King Gill. On one occasion, Gill was a squad player for the team and was up in the press box identifying players during a game for the reporters. The team was losing players left and right due to injuries so the coach motioned to Gill, who then suited up in an injured teammate’s uniform and rushed to the sideline, where he stood ready to play for the rest of the game. Aggies pulled off an upset, winning 22-14 that day, and by the end, Gill was the only player still standing by the bench with eleven players still on the field, making him the “12th man.” That is why the student section stands during every football game and basketball game for the entire game. They represent what E. King Gill was that day, the 12th man willing to step up and play when his school and teammates needed him. “The power of the 12th Man is echoed in the unity, the loyalty, and the willingness of Aggies to serve when called to do so.” (Texas A&M’s website)
There are so many traditions, I could write multiple blog posts on them, but I thought to explain those most relevant to the story. Aggies have a ton of school spirit. You can’t miss it when you enter College Station. Most students wear Aggie shirts, hoodies, and whatever else they can find to show off their school spirit, and that spirit never goes away. They maintain their love for the school their entire lives. It’s an amazing thing. I think every time my own daughter Facetimes me, she’s wearing a different Aggie/Texas A&M shirt/hoodie/etc.
A big tradition with students is also an Aggie ring. Most of us here in the U.S. are familiar with class rings. Most of us buy them in high school, wear them for a couple of years, then they sit in a jewelry box for the rest of our lives. Aggie rings are considered a staple. The Aggie ring dates to 1889 Most Aggies buy a ring and receive it on “Ring Day.” Three times a year, Aggies come together in the alumni center where they get their rings then take part in other activities during the day, including a “Ring Dance.” Every engraving on an Aggie Ring is symbolic of something (eg. large star=seal of the state of Texas). They are considered a big deal, which is why Lizzy mentions hers at a rather important part of the story (you’ll see 😉 )
Another long-standing Aggie tradition is Silver Taps. Dating back to 1898, Silver Taps is a ceremony, held on the first Tuesday of the month, to honor any current graduate/undergraduate student who has died during the year. There are events that happen all day such as Aggies writing letters to the families of the fallen Aggies. Then at 10:15pm, all the lights on campus are turned off and hymns play from the bell tower while students and families gather. A volunteer part of the Corps fire a three volley salute then Taps is played three times: once to the north, once to the south, and once to the west, but not to the east “because it said the sun will never rise on that fallen Aggie again.” (A&M Website)
Tune in tomorrow at Austen Variations when I will start posting the preview of That Perfect Someone! Maybe you’ll find some of these traditions I’ve mentioned here when you read the story 🙂
That Perfect Someone releases March 29th!!
4 thoughts on “Sources of Inspiration: Texas A&M University”
Thank you for all the explanations Leslie, it makes a huge difference when reading a book if I know the terms being used (especially for someone from the U.K.)
I’m really looking forward to your excerpts as I remember the last one! Good luck with the final read and choosing the cover!
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Not all of the traditions are mentioned, but Lizzy does proudly wear her Aggie ring. In some of the parts I had to trim, she’s putting on Aggie t-shirts, etc. I’m wearing an Aggie shirt today, actually 😉 Thanks, Glynis!
Having lived in Oklahoma, I’m familiar with strong college traditions, especially during football season. I can’t wait to read this Leslie. I so love a modern! Congratulations!
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I’m not too familiar with Oklahoma’s traditions, but they do have a strong university football culture. Thanks, Marie!