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Precedents for Cabbages and Beans We do not hear enough from the intellectuals of this state. They are all very busy with their gardens; or their offices; or their organizations. -EDITORIAL, OBSERVER, MARCH 14 L L Dear Ronnie : How ungracious of you to give me and my dear little garden that editorial dig in the current Observer. Do you recall Diocletian’s reply to his supporters who were urging him to return to the Emperorship and save the world? “You should see my cabbages.” Thus Caius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus, Surnamed Jovius, turned down an empire for his garden in the Year of our Lord circa 300an illustrious precedent favoring cabbages. At that, your editorial is what the political stumper would call a “clarion call to arms.” So with great forbearance I am still An Observer fan, ROY BEDICHEK March 15, 1958 Ft, “If … if … if … if …” Pangloss remonstrated, “if you had not lost all the sheep you brought from that fine country, Eldorado, together with the riches with which they were laden, you would not be, here to-day, eating preserved citrons, and pistachio nuts.” “That’s very well said, and may all be true,” said Candide; “but let’s cultivate our garden.” Who would dare casually demur from Voltaire, from Diocletian, from Bedichek N Half the afternoon, therefore, I have spent, trying to find, in books long musted, something about gardens to crush my critic into his most fertile furrow ; but the intrusions ! A rustic interloper sits through the afternoon, drinking from a bottle of yin rouge, mumbling aloud from a pocketbook edition of Aristophanes ; he comes to Austin as a herdsman might have come to Athens, for what the herdsman might have come for, wine, girls, and Aristophanes in a vulgar demonstration. My young but active son has helpfully peeled for me my hard boiled egg; the flavor of turtle food thus fingerspread thereover has further diverted me from my serious intent. Then comes a call from downstairs that a state legislator has arrived, bearing, presumably, some lobbyist-ladled liquor. The project inpair to pistachio nuts \(out of a can however, and covered over with some beer garden for the evening. But all this research : it would be a waste to let these passages triumphantly speared slip back into their silent pressed captivity. Iloafe and invite my soul,” said Whitman, “I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.” Garden enough for him ! In “America, her athletic Democracy,” “To know the universe itself as a road; as many roads, as roads for traveling souls …” Whitman’s not much help, is he. No. Perhaps Emerson. Emerson is like Jefferson, you can use him to prove almost anything. Sure enough, in “Society and Solitude,” he tells of. a humorist he fell in with on his travels, who confessed to him : “He left the city ; he hid himself in pastures. The solitary river was not solitary enough ; the sun and moon put him out. When he bought a house, the first thing he did was to plant trees. He could not enough conceal himself. Set a hedge here ; set oaks theretrees behind trees ; above all, set evergreens, for they will keep a secret all the year round. … Whilst he suffered at being seen where he was, he consoled himself with the delicious thought of the inconceivable number of places where he was not.” But even gentle Emerson will not assist me. What repayment is this for the avid believing reading of solitary youth ? From this case and others like it the Concord philosopher concludes, “To the culture of the world an Archimedes, a Newton is indispensable ; so she [Nature] guards them by a certain aridity. … They had that necessity of isolation which genius feels. . We pray to be conventional. But the wary Heaven takes care you shall not be, if there is anything good in you. Dante was very bad company, and was never invited to dinner. Michael Angelo had a sad, sour time of it. … Solitude is impracticable, and society fatal. We must keep our head in the one and our hands in the other. The conditions are met, if we keep our independence, yet do not lose our sympathy.” Well, that’s a little help. The introductory point of the rebuttal. But we can get no further. We cannot suppress Thoreau. “Before I finished my house, wishing to earn ten or twelve dollars by some honest and agreeable method, in order to meet my usual expenses, I planted about two acres and a half of light and sandy soil near it chiefly with beans, but also a small part with potatoes, corn, peas and turnips … if one would live simply and eat only the crop which he raised, and raise no more than he ate, and not exchange it for an insufficient quantity of more luxurious and expensive things, he would need to cultivate only a few rods of ground … I found that, by working about six weeks in a year, I could meet all the expenses of living. The whole of my winters, as well as most of my summers, I had free and clear for study. … “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear ; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. … . my beans, the length of whose rows, added together, was seven miles already planted, were impatient to be hoed, for the earliest had grown considerably before the latest were in the ground ; indeed they were not easily to be put off. … What shall I learn of beans or beans of me? I cherish them, I hoe them, early and late I have an eye to them ; and this is my WASHINGTON Senators arrived on the Senate floor in dinner jackets for a night session last week to vote on a $124 million tax concession to the big insurance companies. The date was March 14. If they did not vote that night the insurance companies would have to pay taxes under the regular tax law passed by Congress in 1942. The Treasury had recommended that the Congress pass a special retroactive law relieving the insurance companies of their back taxes for 1957. Furthermore, Sen. Lyndon Johnson, who has been urging special economic action to remedy the business slump, had called two night sessions to make sure the insurance companies got their tax concession passed. Night sessions of the Senate are unusual at this time of year. The Senate has taken a leisurely course all winter, will soon go into Easter recess. But to pass the insurance company retroactive tax bonanza, Johnson called two night sessions, summoned senators away from dinner to vote. “The United States Senate is meeting in a night session on the night before the due date for payment,” reminded Sen. Albert Gore of Tennessee. “Are the senators aware,” he asked, referring to Metropolitan Life, “that one insurance company has assets equal to those of General Motors, the Ford Motor Co., and U. S. Steel all added together ? “We always hear about the widow who has a policy. The president of one company draws a salary of $134,500,” said Gore, referring to L. W. Dawson, president of Mutual Life of New York. “I suppose that is approved by the widows who hold policies. The ten largest insurance companies have total assets of more than day’s work. It is a fine broad leaf to look on. … Removing the weeds, putting fresh soil about the bean stems, and encouraging this weed which I had sown, making the yellow soil express its summer thought in bean leaves and blossoms rather than in wormwood and piper and millet grass, making the earth say beans instead of grass,this was my daily work. As I had little aid from horses or cattle, or hired men or boys, or improved implements of husbandry, I was much slower, and became much more intimate with my beans than usual.” But what’s this ? “But what right had I to oust johnswort and the rest, and break up their ancient herb garden ?” And here : “It was on the whole a rare amusement, which, continued too long, might have become a dissipation.” And here : “Why concern ourselves so much about our beans for seed, and not be concerned at all about a new generation of men ?” And here : “Most men I do not meet at all, for they seem not to have time ; they are busy about their beans.” 0 THOREAU, like Emerson, seems to mean both ways. The only possible conclusion is that the fruits of idling contemplation are frightfully inconclusive ; of no use to politicians whatsoever. Can you imagine Senator Yarborough proclaiming, fist-clenched, to a suspenders-snapping scattering of skeptics, “To know the universe itself as a road, as many roads, as roads for traveling souls .,..” Or Senator Johnson, rising in the Senate chamber to a rapt press corps and three of his fellow senators, “They had that necessity of isolation which genius feels.” Or Agriculture Secretary Benson, lecturing a delegation of farmers demanding higher price supports, “If one would live simply and eat only the crop which he raised …” No, no, this is out of the question. Nor *is it that I myself would not cultivate my garden, if I couldthat I would not be an intellectual, if I $62 billion. Oh, the miracle of compound interest !” Gore showed that these 10 companies would get a tax benefit of $81,400,000 under the law which Sen. Johnson was holding night sessions to pass. Metropolitan Life, with a net income from investment last year of $506,244,047, would be forgiven $20,000,000 in taxes. “It is said the policyholders run the mutual insurance companies,” Gore continued. “But although Mutual Life Insurance Company of New York has a million and a half policies outstanding, how many votes did its directors get ? Each candidate got exactly 136 votes by policyholders present. “Why on the night before the due date for taxes is the Senate to do this ?” Gore asked. “What about the inequality ? If that fairness? Who says so ? On what evidence ?” Despite this plea, only 19 senators voted against the tax concession. Johnson, the Democratic leader, was paired for the big insurance companies. All the Republicans voted with him except Smith and Payne of Maine, Langer, N.D., and Williams, Del. Nineteen Democrats voted with him. \( Sen. Ralph Yarborough, Democrat, Texas, voted agaist the tax forCabinet members should know better than try to influence Speaker Sam Rayburn by any means other than what’s good for the U.S.A. Certainly Postmaster General Summerfield should know thisnow. He made Sam a political offer last year and was almost kicked out of the Speaker’s office. “You know,” Sam told friends afterward, “that little … came in here and tried to buy my vote. “HP wanted me to go for the fourcent stamp. And when I said no, he turned on a chessy cat smile and said: could ; it is that I cannot. Gardening is not invariably its own reward : Nature does not seem as responsive to good intentions as to good works. Hoping some sensing of the secrets of the shoots of spring would help me deal with cynics and detractors, February a year ago I struck down the valley behind our house uprooting and arching high over my bending back weeds of all descriptions and, no doubt, many useful domesticated plants which looked no different from weeds to me. A hoe I took to them, too, like Henry David, and “many a lusty crest-waving Hector, that towered a whole foot above his crowding comrades, fell before my weapon and rolled in the dust.” Before the hill was half cleared, rains obligingly came, softening the earth. At last we could survey a clean hillside down to the creek : not a weed in sight. Not anything else either, true. The rains did not stop coming that spring ; it became apparent that Nature was not obliging the gardener, but the weed seeds. The long wet spring passed, and it was as before. Somehow now it is spring again, and there is one fellow who rises below my door like a young tree, his milky octagonal stock four inches around and five feet tall, his stickly leaves proliferating huskily. In fact, with a few hardy white lilies showing themselves bravely amid the verdurous profusion of disorder, the garden looks much better than she did even before the hoe was struck to her, natural, unselfconscious, as though she will enjoy the sun without clothes on or a hair-untangling. HAVINc-, THEN, received such a hostile response from the class of humans to whom the admonition was addressed, and having exposed the literary authorities as confused on the subject, I must conclude from my own modest experience that our only hope of hearing from the intellectuals is heavy rains through the second Democratic primary. R.D. `Mr. Sam, you could use a few nice post offices in your district, couldn’t you ?’ ” Mr. Sam didn’t detail what happened after that, but his aides say the Postmaster General left immediately. NoteDuring the Senate debate on the five-cent stamp, the Postmaster General moved into Vice President Nixon’s office while a stream of Republicans, plus some Democrats, filed in to get promises of new post offices. Summerfield had a map on the desk. Under the new post office construction bill a lot of new post offices will be built, and a lot of them were pledged just before that Senate vote. Two Texans Agree The Secretary of the Treasury, Bob Anderson, made an unusual private statement about the Vice President’ of the United States the other day in a talk with Speaker Sam Rayburn. In brief he said, “Don’t pay any attention to Nixon.” The statement was made during a tax-cutting truce arranged by Secretary Anderson and Rayburn, aimed at halting the rash of statements and counter-statements, moves and counter moves, which might have chopped the American tax structure to pieces. Rayburn and Anderson are both from Texas. Sam is from Bonham, while Anderson is from Vernon, which, as distances go in Texas, is not far away. At Vernon, Anderson once managed the 500,000-acre Waggoner Ranch and sometimes sold calves to Sam’s old friend Sid Richardson. It was Richardson, a Democrat who supported Eisenhower, who first got Anderson, also a Republicrat, into the Eisenhower cabinet as Secretary of the Navy. DREW PEARSON THE TEXAS OBSERVER Page 3 March 28, 1958 CC LYNDON ABETS INSURANCE GRAB