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tinued as he looked at Benny, “dey was a Dancin’ Man on de earth den, an’ he had him a honky-tonk up on de bayou dat he run all night every Sadday, an’ a lot o’ trash come dere an’ danced an’ stomped around his place right through inter Sunday. Well day was a carryin’ on dere de very time de water fust rose enough to cut off de neck er land leadin’ out to de honky-tonk. Old Noah’s house boat, dat God called de Ark, had jes’ begun ter float good, an’ he drifted her by de honky-tonk an’ sung oat, ‘Old Dancin’ Man, yer better shut down an’ pray, dis lake ain’ begun ter rise yet.’ Old Dancin’ Man hollered back, `Go ‘long dere al’ man Noah, you lake niggers allus was afeard a’ de water. Let ‘er rise, I’se seed her dis high befo’.’ “Well, Noah, he poled de house boat around to test ‘er out an’ see if dem triflin’ ‘animals he took on was gonna let any of ’em git any rest ’til de water went down. But a while later he come back, an’ old Dancin’ Man was still aclappin’ an’ a dancin.’ an cuttin’ up wid de, gals. Noah hollered at him agin, an’ said, ‘Look at dat water rise, dis here ain’ no ordinary spring ,rise Ole Man, you better quit dat stompin’ an’ actin’ er fool an’ git ready to drown a good man!’ But de ole honky-tonker was brassy, he jes’ looked aroun’ an’ spoke back, `Go on wid dem I stinkin’ animals Ole Man Noah, you bin drunk agin, you cain’t skeer me an’ dese gals, we’s seed it dis high befo’.’ “Now this kinna riled Noah up, an’ he said to hisself, ‘Well, I’ll jes’ drift ‘er aroun’ behind dem islands, ’til dey ain’ hardly no islands, an’ talk to dat man jes’ ‘fore God fills his mouth wid water.’ De rain, she kep’ a-pourin’, an’ Noah sat dere on dat house boat wid de wind blowin’ dat animal stink all over de boat, an’ de ole woman started in on him ’bout God didn’ tell him he had to keep dat boat headed so de wind blow dat hog pen smell toward dem instid of away, but Noah jes’ sot her out, a-waitin’ for his chance to go by dat honky tonk one more time. “Finally, de water was about right, an’ Noah eased de house boat aroun’ by dat honky-tonk. Dere de ole Dancin’ Man was, water just about up to his chin, an’ him er standin’ on de ridge pole of de honky-tonk. Noah poled ‘er by easy, made shore dey was all in shape ter drown, an’ hollered jus’ once, ‘Say, ole Honky-Tonker, has you seed it dis high befo’?’ An’ afore dat nigger could answer, God sent dat water right down in his lungs an’ drownded him dead.” JOHNNY HAD BEEN pointing his remarks to Benny all along, so as he finished everybody was watching Benny. Benny was not to be put down so easily, and for the first time he put in. his word. “One thing you ain’ tole us, Johnny. When God picked Noah to pull dat boat, he was lookin’ for somebody he could trust to stay wid it, wind er rain, an’ no matter how high dem waves got. Did he pick him some milk an’ water man? Some dry-throated Baptis’ er water sprinklin’ Meth ! odis’? You know blame well He didn’. He got Hisself a drinkin’ man, an’ I doan mean one of dem sippin’ kin’ neider. He hauled off an’ picked a rounder what drunk like a man otter, an’ when he started out, didn’ stop ’till he done passed out buck naked in his huntin’ tent. Now Mr. Johnny, you answer me how dat gonna be ‘counted f o’.” It seemed to me that Johnny had his hands full for the first time as long as I had known him. The gang rocked in the thighslapping laughter that always comes when one of them has hung something o n another., Johnny could have called the hands immediately to work, but he refused to leave the field with any doubt lingering about his lesson. “Yes, Benny,” he began, “God did git a drinkin’ man to handle de house boat, an’ every one of you niggers knows why. Dey jes’ ain’ no lake nigger what can handle a boat when dem waves git high an’ vcibite on top, so dey looks like sheep a’walkin’, what doan drink. God had to make ‘lowances den jes’ like he do now, but you Benny, he didn’t say he wouldn’ drown jes one honkytonkin’ dancin’ man when He said He wouldn’ drown de world all over agin an’ you remember dat! Git dem axes an’ come on to de woods.” LEONARD BURRESS Lord Kinross and Texas Pashas BOULDER, COLORADO Mahatma Gandhi, fifty years ago in his first major book, “Indian Home Rule,” lashed out at man’s enslavement by a civilization which concentrated on increasing bodily comforts. “Civilization,” h e said, “is not an incurable disease, but it should not be forgotten that the English people are presently ‘afflicted by it.” Lord Kinross, according to Burke’s “Peerage” the third baron, demonstrated for September 19, 1956, “Punch” readers that Texans are afficted with io civilization, too. Lord Kinross entered Texas on an almost empty bus, for he was in “a land where all have cars of their own.” In Houston, home of six hundred millionaires, he found that American Nights are spent in suburbs: “The Mayor of Houston looks forward to the day when its suburbs will spread for fifty miles in all directions and so do the dealers in real estate.” In suburban paradise, the Texas Pashas live in their Georgian, Spanish, or contemporary villas. But the palace of the Pashas was the club, such as River Oaks \(with an entrance fee of Club in Dallas \(“members … like to show off on the sly the’ ladies’ rest room, a boudoir fit for any Sultan’s harem, with red plush upholstery and furThe Pashas keep their temples, but with refinements. One may dial a ‘prayer now, and gas stations have up signs, “Go to Church.” The Baptists are putting up a two million dollar building, “but in an unworldly spirit, have omitted to provide a parking lot for their cars.” The Pasha’s lady, with the help of oil, cotton, cattle, and Neiman-Marcus, can bedeck herself with gowns costing a thousand pounds and hats costing a hundred, suitable for appearance in the Petroleum Club rest room or any public gathering. The Pashas n o w believe their own myths, and Lord Kinross found that “only the old-time banker points out sceptically that his . pile of bad cheques has risen from half an inch to three inches. But Texas laughs at such reactionary conservative doubts.” One wonders if Pasha civilization is not an incurable disease, after all. GEORGE HENDRICK FIVE ART FILMS CONSIDERED For some days I had planned to have the brush gang work in the bottom that bordered the lake, a sprawling, swamp like body of water that in those days varied its level almost capriciously. Johnny, leader of the colored workers, was skillful not only with the axe, but in the many arts of verbal exchange and banter that his people love. He was given on occasion to turning his intense interest in his church and its teachings into the task of getting results from a work gang. He could not be called a lay minister, for he lacked the desire for formal preachment; yet he never tired of displaying his familiarity with the Old Testament, or at least his version of it, in informal gatherings. His stories often aimed a message at one of his neighbors or friends who hasn’t been measuring up to his standards of behavior. On this day I am writing of, we had worked around to the bottom, and as I looked at the high water marks on the timber and the other evidences of flooding, I hesitated about ordering the work to go on. JOhnny seemed to read my -thoughts, and with a wide smile on his face he said, “Doan let dat floodin’ hol’ you back, Mistah Leonayd, God ain’ nevah gonna drown us plumb out agin, He done said so when he smelt 01′ Noah’s offeria’ a-burnin’ after de ark landed.” Since Johnny had me on ground not altogether familiar, I smiled and ordered the work. Yet, from the cast of Johnny’s glance toward one of his workers, I could see the subject was not yet closed. Benny was a robust, high-living single man with a face glistening in its blackness. He always seemed ready to burst into a hearty laugh. He would look on the wine when it was red, white, or simply East Texas muddy. In. those days there were honkytonks across the bayou and county line, and Benny saw to it that they received a reasonable part of the wages I gave him. This was well known to Johnny and deplored by him. Since both were to work in the same group in the bottom, I decided to remain within earshot of the gang, but superficially engaged in other matters. From the beginning Johnny singled Benny out for his rawhiding. “Hit it like you live, niggerHARD,” he would taunt when the blows of Benny’s axe ‘ fell lightly. If a tree fell the wrong way for Benny, he was promptly reminded, “If you jes’ live right, Benny, dat tree gonna fall right.” Any little pause in Benny’s efforts and the jibe went out, “Ole Benny may die hongry, but he ain’ gonna die tired.” ALONG ABOUT the noon rest period, the workers fell into their habitual bragging, and when Benny finally got the floor he expanded at great length on his honky-tonking tour of “Sadday night.” “You know,” he opened up, “dat Frank Gill an’ dem gittar pickin’ friends of his’n can jes’ about make us dancin’ folks stomp a ordinary house down in one night. But dey cain’t hol’ nothin’ up to dem juke boxes when you turn ’em up all de way. Why, over dere at de Blue Moon ‘long ’bout midnight we sot her as high as she would go, an’ me an’ dat yaller gal mighty nigh tore de place down a-dancin’.” Johnny was eyeing Benny as the baiter might size up the bear, and he now began innocently, “Well, well, an’ you is a dancin’ man; an’ I ‘spec one of de bes’. Wonder you ain’ won lots , a’ prizes, but did you ever know ’bout de fust dancin’ feller, an’ him runnin’ de fust honky-tonk, too?” All of the gang stirred restlessly, for they could feel some sort of moral point burning in Johnny. As if to answer his own question he went on “Way back dere when Cain fenced dem sheep of his brother Abel outen of his crops, an’ dat triflin’ Abel cut de fences an’ got hisself killed, folks was gitten away from de teachin’ o’ God. De Book tells us dey was giants on de earth in dem days, an’ dey shore had a giant-like way o’ cuttin’ up. It all got so bad dat God couldn’t find but one man dat wasn’t triflin’ an’ stayin’ on de road all ‘er his time. He was called Old Noah, who God took walkin’ wid Him, and tole him to git hisself a boat together, an’ a powerful big one, at dat. He said, `Noah she gonna cut loose an’ rain here for fawty days and fawty nights, an’ you an’ de ole lady an’ dem three sons o’ yourn, an’ dey wives an’ a samplin’ a’ de animals is all dat ain’ gonna drown. An’ you will, too, Noah, if you doan quit jes standin’ dere an’ get about buildin’ dat house boatnow git!!” JOHNNY PAUSED to see that his listeners were ready for him to bring the story to point, and he decided they were. ‘Yes,” he con bloom. while accompanying all this revved-up efflorescence on the sound track with a Paul Smith bolero. He pulled a similar routine in “Nature’s Half Acre.” Neither will hardened Disney veterans flinch at narrator Winston Hibler’s solemnly intoning, .”The sea is Nature’s cradle of creation!” or his commenting upon the trials of a mating fish, “Looks like he picked a fickle stickle Harris Green back.” James Algar, who wrote and, if such be the word, directed the cast of skittering protozoa, erupting volcanoes, and spitting fish, is to be praised for giving the thing unity and for refraining from stooping to such previous lows of showmanship as that jolting bit in “Water Birds” when the graceful motions of flight were edited to suit the tempo of Liszt’s “Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2.” He has made “Secrets of Life” a must for all who prefer their biology in Technicolor with popcorn. IN CONTRAST to Disney’s tinseled naturalism, the makers of the Austrian film “The Last Ten Days” have treated Life with unflinching candor. In this documentary of the death throes of the German general staff, Erich Maria Remarque, who based his ‘script on the trial records of Nuremberg judge Michael A. Musmanno, and G. W. Pabst, a pioneer director whose mastery of the medium neither age nor custom has withered or staled, concentrate mainly upon the grim concrete bunker in which Hitler was forced to wait out the Russian advance. Some attempt has been made to dramatize the complete collapse of a nation by occasional cutting to the Berlin populace outside. But for the most part, it is Hitler and those around him who are the cam era’s immediate concern, and it tracks them relentlessly through the harsh, grey corridors, catching them in moments of introspection, of vain hope, and, in the nightmarish closing scenes, of roistering drunken abandon. A fine cast headed by Albin Skoda, as Hitler, and Oskar Werner, as a disillusioned young hauptmann, keep a consistently high standard of acting throughout. Remarque and Pabst do the rest, reporting the inexorable events in a documentary style that, far from being journalew, is motion picture at its best, Another look at those hectic days is provided by the British movie “Private’s Progress,” a comedy assembled by Roy and John Boulting, whose thesis here is that the Empire was defended by just about the greatest assemblage of 14 r karat goldbricks this side of James Jones. Their hero, a bland young chap named summoned from college by the draft and reports for induction nattily attired in upperclassman regimentals. He ends up in the infantry, vrhere he learns from his fellow Tommies that the first rule in “Never give your right name.” He assiduously attempts to follow this and other such advice, but as his uncle is a major. he is quite involuntarily advanced in the ranks until soon he is taking part in a super-secret operation known tersely as “Hatrack,” a foray into occupied Europe for which he has been prepared by a survey course in Japanese. “Private’s Progress” rollicks along like this, and since the Boultings, aided b y Carmichael, TerryThomas, and Richard Attenborborough, are able to maintain a consistently ironic outlook at all times, no matter what, it scores as the most satisfying English THE TEXAS OBSERVER Page 6 Dec. 5, 1956 Those readers who live within reach of what are known in the trade as “art