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of Tom Lea, who could draw a longhorn bull or a picture of Bigfoot Wallace sitting on a rail fence with equal evocation of the real thing. Once we were horrified way off there in Boston to discover that we had almost bought sheepskin instead of cowhide for the cover of the de luxe edition of that same book. When we finally told Mr. Dobie how we had saved ourselves and him from such humiliation, he answered, “Romantics always have made too much of the rivalry between sheepmen and cow people, and besides I’ll bet only an old bootmaker I know in Austin wouldhave recognized the difference.” I know he was glad we had discovered the mistake, but I realized how characteristic it was of him to poke fun at hackneyed notions about the West, perhaps in this case as much the result of Eastern fiction as Western faction. NDEED HIS LOVE of the real West makes him impatient with the Wild West of romantics who have sopped up the “Western” notion from books and movies. Once while Mrs. Cameron and I visited Mrs. Dobie and him in Austin he received a phone call, I gathered from his end of the conversation that he was talking with a newspaper man or journalist who wished to interview him. When I realized that he was about to turn them away because of our presence, I urged him to let them come on out. A research and photographic team from Life was doing a feature on The Real Cowboy. They wanted to get Frank Dobie’s notions on this subject. He gently led them to more workaday ideas about the life of a modern cowhand. He joshed them a little when he discovered that they thought the cowboy worked more for the love of it than for the wages, and gave them a real steer when one of them queried, “Mr. Dobie, I understand that -when you were a cowhand you stuffed your pants down into your boots . . . Do you think the modern cowhand wears his pants on the outside of his boots because he’s learned that he can better keep the dust and grit out in that way?” Mr .. Dobie grinned, rumpled his white hair with a gnarled hand and answered, “Well, no. I reckon these boys have noticed just like everybody else from all the Western moving pictures they see these days that their silhouette just naturally looks better with the pants ‘outside the boot.” Always the teacher, the interpreter of the West and its lore, Mr. Frank gave a kindly interview to these two men. Their story lost nothing of the flavor of the old west from having talked to J. Frank Dobie; it gained much of the reality of the present from his gentle humor and advice. He took them on a tour of his Charlie Russell prints and water colors. While he talked I noticed one of the visitors pick up a wood carving of a strange bird. He thought to ask about it but changed his mind. He should have followed his hunch, for the carving was that of a road-runner. Because I knew that Mr. Frank lovedthe road-runner so much and has named his place on Barton Creek Paisano, I had made it a point long before to learn more about this fine, free spirit of the brush country. I liked the fact that the Mexicans call this bird “Paisano,” fellow countryman, and I felt that Frank Dobie’s love of the road-runner epitomizes his fellow feeling of kinship with nature. I discovered that this bird has a four-toed foot and two of its toes point forward, two point backwardequally divided then in passage between the past and the future. Wherever Frank Dobie sets his foot down he is a contemporary of himself but his life points in two directions. Master of the finest traditions of our country’s past, his spirit runs swiftly toward the future. Love of Life and Freedom Austin In September of 1957 J. Frank Dobie was taken to Saint David’s hospital in a serious condition. Just what was wrong we weren’t told. Not much news came to us. Knowing that Roy Bedichek, if anybody, would have some information, I paid him a visit. He was working in his garden. “Yes, he is doing as well as can be expected but is not out of danger. I’ve seen him. He’s had to use an oxygen tent. He gave me that big smile of his and said, `Hello, Bedi. I’m all lit up with life.’ It’s remarkable, just remarkable!” Dobie had had a close call. For more than two weeks only Mrs. Dobie had been allowed to see him. Bedi was the first after her to go into his room. Dobie had been brought in from Cherry Springs, his place in the country, where he had spent two or three nights alone. Pneumonia had run up his pulse and put a strain on his heart. His strength had been low but his vital spark was strong. A month later he told the story himself in an essay called “Camping Beneath an Oxygen Tent.” He spent many hours on the border of consciousness. “Down there in the deep well I saw hardly anything, heard hardly anything, remembered hardly anything that was not beautiful.” One sound that he did hear was that Wilson Hudson is professor of English at the University of Texas. He is the author of Andy Adams: His Life and Writings \(Southern Methodist University Press, Society. 4 The Texas Observer Wilson M. Hudson of roosters greeting the day; it took him back to “a simple and kindly world of a long time ago.” Dobie has always loved life; never has he doubted or mistrusted it. He has loved freedom, which encourages life to develop and reach its fullest possibilities. And he has hated whatever thwarts or strangles the life of man, a creature compounded of body and mind. He has loved literature as “the essence of life.” He has waged war on academicians who. are afraid of life and would treat literature as a thing apart, a lifeless world on paper. He cares not for the puny or precious in literature. The kind of writing that he likes best has vitality and gusto. In 1931 he said, in an essay written for the Literary Guild to send out in connection with Coronado’s Children, that “the qualities most lacking in American literature are flavor and gusto” and that these qualities existed in the pioneer stock of the Southwest, which was relatively free of Puritannical restraint. His most general statement about the necessity of putting life into art was made in 1960: “The one thing needful to all scholarship, as to all literature and art, is vitality.” One of his latest statements came after Walter Prescott Webb’s death in 1963: “The one thing needful for a writer is vitality of mind. Webb had it.” And Dobie has it too. He has sought subjects crammed with life and has presented them with gusto. Dobie has made frequent use of the word “gusto,” a favorite of Hazlitt’s in his critical essays. Dobie can forgive deficiency of form if vitality is present. In quoting N. A. Taylor’s narrative of travels in Texas he said, “Taylor was young and in love with life. His writing is weedy, but it is full of gusto and honest sympathy for what he met.” D OBIE BECAME an English teacher because he fell in love with English poetry while a student at Southwestern University and wanted to communicate that love to others. After a boyhood on his father’s ranch in Live Oak County he went to Alice to attend high school for two years so that he could go on to college. In his freshman year at Southwestern Professor Albert Shipp Pegues’s survey course in English poetry “transmuted the world” for the young Dobie. There were other courses with Pegues later and other good intellectual influences at Georgetown. Immediately after graduation in 1910 Dobie got a job as a reporter for the San Antonio Express at $12 or $14 a week. He had such a good time writing that he was reluctant to go to Alpine in the fall, where he was to be principal of a school and to teach also. He was back at Southwestern from 1911 to 1913 as a teacher of English and secretary to the president. Then he spent a year at Columbia and earned an M.A. degree. He came to the University of Texas as an instructor in 1914, and left in 1917 for two years in the field artillery. Back from France, he resumed teaching at the university; but he was dissatisfied and resigned in the spring of 1920. While acting as Uncle Jim Dobie’s majordomo on Los Olmos Ranch in La