Lyndon Johnson or get off and walk is a base falsehood. “I had already ridden with Johnson 15 miles the night before in Fort Worth. I had ridden in San Antonio with Henry Gonzalez, and in Houston with Albert Thomas, in their home towns. We had made previous plans to ride with our wives. As soon as we got past their home towns; I rode with Johnson. I had planned to ride with him, if no one had any objections.” In San Antonio and Houston, reporters saw Yarborough negative invitations from Secret Service personnel that he ride with the Johnsons. The night of Nov. 21, he joined the_ Johnsons in the ride into Fort Worth. He rode with them again on the way to the Fort Worth airport the next morning, and he was in the third car of the motorcade with the Johnsons in Dallas when President Kennedy and Gov. John Connally were shot in the lead car. Yarborough confirmed that he had conversations with Kennedy on the trip, but he would say only that about it: “The last conversation we had, he mentioned how long we’d been friends, what good friends we’d been.” Many reports have been published that Texas Democrats had resolved their differences, for the nonce anyway, the morning before the assassination. Sen. Yarborough had been added to the list of speakers for the fund-raising rally scheduled the night of Nov. 22 in Austin, and it was widely understood that harmony was to be the theme of his speech and the evening. Running the Clown Most of the streets in our neighborhood were named for dead writers, and, now .that I look back on it, it seems appropriate enough. The small drama that took place there was both realistic and offensive to property, so it is fitting that the eyes of the district, so to speak, should have been fixed chastely and resolutely on the Eighteenth Century. And so they were: because we were close to Rice, presumably, we were laid out on the prairie in a sort of skewed mandala of the literature of England: I lived on Swift, to the south were Addison, Goldsmith, Wordsworth, and Sheridan, while to the north Dryden pointed us back toward Shakespeare. Houston was a lot smaller then, and bits of the original prairie were still scattered around, circumscribed but whole, pinched off by streets but still bearing dewberries and touch-me-not in spring and clumps of johnson grass seven feet high in summer. But in the built-up sections, it seemed to me, only fall managed to establish itself as a recognizable season. There was something about fall that harmonized with and reinforced the sense of our neighborhood, with its solid houses made of many shades of brick. Anyway, winter and spring hardly exist on the Gulf Coast, and what there is of one is cut up and interleaved with the other, so that we had, according to the northers, either an uncoordinated set of greens or cold mean enough to kill cattle; our roses bloomed all year long, and quickly burned out and died. Summer was merely 14 The Texas Observer MARTIN ELFANT Sun Life of Canada 1001 Century Building Houston, Texas CA 4-0686 Charles Langford a condition of life. It was fall that licked into the streets from the prairies and turned the grass brown and gave it the smell of the pastures outside. In a curious parallel to the turning of the leaves, the first cold weather caught the banana trees and seared the young bananas a deep red. We made minor rituals, as adolescents: the girls began to wear skirts again, and suddenly became less familiar, older, and sweeter. The streets at night were damp and cool, and hollow; we had a habit then of getting up without much discussion and going outside and walking wherever any of us could think of. We stayed out very late on one of these walks, talking quietly, aimlessly, and honestly. I imagine that was why we were out on Hallowe’en, because we were getting too old for it, as the city knew of Hallowe’en, anyway, with everything too expensive to break and the adults too eager to get into the spirit of things. I was thirteen or fourteen, Jane Gwafney was a year or so older, and the other girl, Betsey, was older than Jane, and tougher than either of us. All of us were dubious about having it thought that we were taking part in the observances of children, and we carefully steered away from the kind of house that had papier-mache jack-o’-lanterns burning on the porch and a friendly aunt-sort of woman behind the door with candy, though I knew for my part that the year before I had looked forward eagerly to Hallowe’en, and I think that none of us would have let what once had been an event pass without some gesture of celebration. Still, as long as the small children were out, we stayed very much above the battle. We strolled along, Betsey tore up some of her old note-book paper and scattered it EUR OPE An unregimented trip stressing individual freedom. Low cost yet covers all the usual plus places other tours miss. Unless the standard tour is a “must” for you, discover this unique tour before you go to Europe. EUROPE SUMMER TOURS 255 Sequoia, Dept. JPasadena, California on the lawns, and once I sailed a garbage ,can top up a driveway with a grating roar, which was a kindness to whoever knew little enough to leave it out. We had one egg, which we tossed unexpectedly to each other, yelling “Think fast!” until we got tired of waiting for a target and smashed it on the fender of a parked car. We ran across other children, all of whom we knew, because of course we knew all the children in the neighborhood, but when we first saw the clown, we did not recognize him, and he was noticeable, because he was dressed in an outgrown or discarded dime-store costume, with a conical hat and a mask, that was too stretched and skimpy for his bony frame. He wore tennis shoes and carried a brown paper bag. He was alone, which made him conspicuous enough, and moving fast; though we could not see his face, we knew he was a boy from the loping stride he took along the far side of the street, and his general long-legged boniness. We decided we didn’t know him, and we yelled something across to him about his being on our territory. He had to pull his mask down a little to get a good look at us, but otherwise he did not move or say anything. We laughed and went on ; he stood watching us for a while, but when, at the corner, I looked back, he was on his way down the next block. THE NIGHT was cool and foggy. We walked past a house that was not disturbed on Hallowe’en, where the red-penciled card reading Please do not ring bell. Sick person inside. Thank you., newly wired to the screen door with hairpins, was unnecessary: inside lived a warm-hearted, graying woman and her terribly arthritic mother, who once had been kind but was growing tyrannical. A bit farther down lived our refugee from Hitler, who was also our inventor: he designed an incubator for premature babies that saved many of them. We crossed over to University and walked under a long line of live oaks on the edge of the Rice campus, down to the old iron and red-brick stadium where we had come to ride our bicycles down the ramps, the nearest things there were to hills in the flat city. Somebody, Jane maybe, remem
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