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How Jim French Rescued an Outboard Motor OPUS III By LEONARD BURRESS Deep East Texas Correspondent The Texas Observer My cow partner and I were sweatily remembering the pretty literature and smooth talk of the salesman that interested us in an irrigation system when Jim French stopped his pickup and strolled toward us. We with our hired hands were making one of those moves that appeared so easy and restful in the pre-purchase pictures. Aluminum pipe extended over the field, and the twist and pull operation of disconnecting its joints was well under way. Jim moved slowly and casually close enough for conversation, but not close enough to lay hand on a single section of pipe. He deliberately surveyed the layout and insisted I go with him to look the pumping unit over. I knew this meant he had more in mind than giving his customary criticism of any mechanical device I had acquired without previously consulting him. For one thing. the unit was on the lake hard by the farm house, and Jim had an unfailing geiger counter for locating alcoholic beverages. I could come down dry week after week, and no Jim; but let me bring the least bit of stimulant, and Jim would appear as if out of nowhere. Sure enough, this time I had a bottle. We arrived at the new unit, and Jim went over it with a practical eye. The mechanical arrangement seemed to suit him fairly well, but I yet sensed the hurt he felt to his professional pride at my making the purchase before getting his advice. “Mr. Leonard,” he began, “I believe you got more water machinery and less crops than any man in the county. outside of Bill Beckett up on the Bayou.” The Painful Memory I tried to explain that out of sea son crops were my goal, and maybe could break even on the deal later. I even pointed to the bottom between the pump station and the CLASSIFIED ADS Help Wanted STRINGERSThe Texas Observer is building up a bank of reliable reporters -all over Texas. Professional reporters of an enlightened turn of mind are urged -to contact the Editor, The Texas Observer, Drawer F, Capitol Station, Austin. ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVES–U you have some spare time and would like to help The Texas Observer grow, write the Business Manager for advertising solicitation forms. Percentage of sales can be arranged. The Texas Observer, Drawer F. Capitol Station, Austin. LEGAL ADS CITATION BY PUBLICATION THE STATE OF TEXAS TO Wade H. Miller Defendant, in the hereinafter styled and numbered cause: manded to appear before the 98th District Court of Travis County, Texas, to be held at the courthouse of said county in the City of Austin, Travis County, Texas, at or before 10 o’clock A. M. of the first Monday after the expiration of 42 days from the date of issuance hereof ; that is to say, at or before, 10 o’clock A. M. of Monday the 8th day of August, 1955, and answer the petition of plaintiff in Cause Number 101,702, in which Katy Miller is Plaintiff and Wade H. Miller is defendant, filed in said Court on the 17th day of June, 1955, and the nature of which said suit is as follows: Being an action and prayer for judgment in favor of Plaintiff and against Defendant for decree of divorce dissolving the bonds of matrimony heretofore and now existing between said parties ; Plaintiff alleges abandonment by defendant of her for a period of more than three years, with the intention on the part of Defendant of making such abandonment permanent ; Plaintiff further alleges that no children were born of said union and no community property was accumulated ; ,Plaintiff further prays for relief, general trid special : All of which more fully appears from Plaintiff’s Original Petition on file in this office, and to which reference is here made; If this citation is not served within 90 days after date of its issuance, it shall be returned unserved. WITNESS, 0. T. MARTIN, JR., Clerk of the District Courts of Travis County, Texas. Issued and given under my hand and the seal of said Court at office in the City of Austin, this the 20th day of June, 1955. 0. T. MARTIN, JR., Clerk of the District Courts, Travis County, Texas lake and spoke of August tomatoes and other truck coming on under irrigation. “Yes,” he drawled, “Old man Anderson that, had this place before you bought it tried that out. You see them old earthen tanks there. He run a line from the lake to them and rigged him up a gasoline engine pump. His tomaters come along fine, too. Then when August come the water was up to here on them tomaters.” \(He held his that old lake went over a rise, they really didn’t want for water.” It did not matter to Jim that this comment brought back the painful memory that the line to the tanks had disappeared between the start and end of my negotiations for purchase of the place. Even that various parts of it had been observed in use on some of Jim’s projects thereafter. He had been working us toward the farm house porch as he talked. When we reached the steps, I submitted and invited him in for a drink. I did not even wait for the usual “Don’t care if I do” and brought out the bottle. By now I sensed Jim had some information he wanted to pass on, and along the way pick up some reassurances from me. His hooks, as we euphemistically called his illegal fish traps, had not been paying off too well, but we could rake up enough fish for a fry if I felt like it. I declined the offer because of earlier arrangements and asked what he had done lately. “I thought I picked up a reward,” he replied, “but I never. When I was over by Bole’s Camp the other day the guides was talkin’ about some fisherman out of Longview losin’ a 50 horse outboard Evinrude off the back of his boat. Seems he has a camp up the lake, and when he started in, he tried to shift the motor, and it got away from him and went to the bottom. I never paid too much attention to the talk, ’cause I wouldn’t have one of them heavy pieces of machinery nohow. All it’s good for is to wear you out crankin’ it and tear itself or your boat up on a stump. NOTICE OF HEARING ON EXCLUSION OF LANDS OR OTHER PROPERTY FROM TRAVIS-WILLIAMSON COUNTY WATER CONTROL AND IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT NO. 1 THE STATE OF TEXAS COUNTIES OF TRAVIS AND WILLIAMSON NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN to all persons owning property, real, personal or mixed, located within Travis-Williamson County Water Control and Improvement District No. 1 as created and established by H. B. 775, passed by the 54th Legislature at its Regular Session, THAT A HEARING will be held at 2:00 o’clock, P. M., on the 29th day of July, 1955, at 1301 Capital National Bank Building, Austin, Texas, at which time and place the Directors of said District will announce their own conclusion as to the exclusion of lands or other property and will receive petitions for exclusion of lands or other property from said District. All interested property owners in said District may present petitions for exclusions and offer evidence in support thereof or contest any proposed exclusion and offer evidence in support thereof, whether based on a petition or upon the Board’s own conclusions. Petitions for exclusion of lands must accurately describe the metes and bounds of such lands. Petitions for exclusion of other property shall describe the same for identification. All petitions for exclusion shall be filed with the District not later than said hearing, and said petitions must clearly set out the particular grounds on which the exclusion is sought and consideration shall be confined to the stated grounds. Said hearing may be adjourned from one day to another and until all persons who desire to be heard are heard. THIS NOTICE is given in pursuance of an order passed by the Board of directors on said District on the 17th day of June, 1955. LARRY COX Secretary, Board of Directors NOTICE OF ELECTION THE STATE OF TEXAS COUNTIES OF TRAVIS AND WILLIAMSON TO T H E RESIDENT QUALIFIED VOTERS 0 F TRAVIS-WILLIAMSON COUNTY WATER CONTROL AND IM-PROVEMENT DISTRICT NO. 1 : TAKE NOTICE that an election will be held on the 23rd day of July, 1955, within said District, for the purpose of electing five directors, in obedience to an order duly entered by the Board of Directors of said District on the 17th day of June, 1955, which is as follows : “WHEREAS, Travis-Williamson County Water Control and Improvement District No. 1 has been heretofore created and established by H. B. 775, 54th Legislature, Regular Session ; and WHEREAS, it was provided in said Act creating said District that within 30 days after the effective date of the Act the Board of Directors of said District shall call an election for the selection of the first regular Board of Directors ; “In the course of talk, though, Bob said the feller had offered a X75 reward and I says, ‘Well, that’s shore one way to git it found.’ I then commented to git some bearin’s on the place where he was when she dropped overboard, and got it pretty well in my mind how locate it. “The next day I drifted over to where the motor fell in. The water was pretty deep, and I fished around with jointed poles and a hook considerable before I grappled on to that outboard. When I did, I set a marker and went back and got some lines and gear, and finally got her out on the bank and took her apart so as to git the water out and oil her up. The Natural Consequence “On the way home, I dropped by Bole’s and told him he could tell that feller to bring his $75 and pick up his motor. I didn’t hear nothin’ for about a week, so I went by Bole’s again, and he told me the feller said he was ready to pay $37.50, but for ,me to fergit anythin’ about any $75.” At this point I blurted out that I believed I would have put the motor back in the lake. “That’s just what I done,” Jim said. Nov this \\might raise some disbelief among those unacquainted with Jim French, but at the time I did not doubt his story. I had witnessed his savage disregard of formality and conventionality too long for that. I had heard him mildly inform a friend who kept his boat at Jim’s camp that some missing rope from it “had just got used up.” And this in such a fashion that no further reply seemed necessary. I had seen him dive into a box of fittings in my tool room with an “I need this,” and “Let’s see now, these nipples ought to do,” as he carted off items as though they were his. For some reason it would have seemed profane to have protested. Anything not in immediate use was subject to his seizure as a matter of course. And if the man wouldn’t pay the reward of fered, why Jim naturally would THEREFORE, BE IT ORDERED BY THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS of TRAVIS WILLIAMSON COUNTY WATER CON-TROL AND IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT NO. 1: That an election be held in said TravisWilliamson County Water Control and Improvement District No. 1 on the 23rd day of July, 1955, for the purpose of electing five directors for said District. That for the purpose of said election the entire District is hereby constituted one voting precinct. The polling place for said election shall be Bush’s Cafe, formerly Larry Cox’s Place on the Burnet Road, and the following named persons are hereby appointed officers of said election: Martin Pruett, Presiding Judge John Brogdon, Assistant Judge Mrs. Larry Cox, Clerk Mrs. Q. C. Taylor, Clerk. The ballots for said election shall have written or printed thereon the names of the Directors to be voted upon, and blank spaces shall be left on the ballots in which the voters may write in the names of other persons, as follows : FOR DIRECTORS : David L. Tisinger Q. C. Taylor Vernon Lemens Leo Martin Larry Cox Only resident qualified electors in said District shall be entitled to vote at said election. Said election shall be held and conducted and returns made to this Board of Directors in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 25, General Laws enacted by the Thirty-ninth Legislature at its Regular Session in 1925, and amendments thereto, so far as the same make provisions for such election, and in matters not therein provided for the election proceedings shall be in accordance with the General Laws of Texas. Notice of said election shall be signed by the President and Secretary of this Board of Directors and shall be published once a week for three consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in Travis and Williamson Counties, Texas, the date of the first publication to be not the date of said election. Immadiately after said election has been held the officers holding the same shall make returns of the result thereof to the Board of Directors of said District, and return the ballot box to the Secretary of said Board for safekeeping.” GIVEN UNDER OUR HANDS, this the 17th day of June, 1955. DAVID L. TISINGER President, Board of Directors. Attest : LARRY COX, Secretary. NOTICE OF INCORPORATION “Notice is hereby given that Heath Floor Company, 4820 Ayers Street, Corpus leave him in the same fix he found him. I awaited further development of the story, but saw Jim eyeing the bottle in a way that caused me to nod my head toward it and say, “Well, go ahead, you know by now I only pour the first one.” This always delighted Jim; for it meant he was on his own, and did not have to tailor his drinking to mine, or anyone else’s. “You ought to have heard that feller from Longview holler when word got back to him that the motor was back in the lake,” Jim mused, after proper lip-smacking. “Why he sent word I had done stole his motor, and he was gonna prosecute. I never said nothin’, and knowed he would be too shamefaced to talk to me direct, and he never. But he must have done a powerful lot of talkin’ around, ’cause the story got all up and down the lake, and all the way back to Longview. “Then I begun to hear other folks takin’ sides. Some I heard from didn’t know the feller, and criticized me, but a whole lot more who did know him complimented me. “Pretty soon some little feller come around sayin’ he was from Kilgore, and did I know where he could buy a second hand Evinrude 50 horse outboard. He was plumb clumsy in telling why he wanted it, and giving a lot of other information that wasn’t right in