`Intelligent, Old-Fashioned, In-the-Grain’ Some recent references to the Observer in other periodicals: “The. Texas Observer has stood . . . as a compliment and a rebuke. to Texas. It is a compliment in that Texas is big enough for a publication devoted entirely to state issues, and a rebuke in that Texas is small enough to need such a publication. . . . The Texas Observer well serves the state of mind known as Texas. . . .” St. Louis Post Dispatch, an editorial, November 16, 1962. “. .. the Texas Observer, an intelligent, old-fashioned, in-the-grain political journal. . . . For many liberals, the Observer gave more than the news, it was written proof of their very existence, and its office served as a social nucleus for this group.” Barbara Probst Solomon in Harper’s Magazine, November, 1963. “The state’s leading liberal newspaper, the biweekly Texas Observer. . . .” Sam Kinch, reporter, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, March 6, 1964. “The Observer . . . is recognized as the leading liberal organ in Texas,” A United Press International report, as published in the Dallas Morning News, March 6, 1964. “The Texas Observer, the Bible of the real Texas Democrat.” Archer Fullingim, editor, The Kountze News, April. 23, 1964. The Observer “has long been the standard-bearer of the fight for liberalism in Texas.” William V. Shannon, columnist, in the New York Post, May 12, 1964. an influential, controversial periodical.” Houston Chronicle, news story, June 14, 1964. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 504 West 24th Street Austin 5, Texas Enclosed is $5.00 for a one-year subscription to the Observer for: Name Address City, State  This is a renewal. This is a new subscription. Abilene My first recollections of J. Frank Dobie go back to times when we sat together in bathing suits in the shade of the tall pecans at Barton Springs nearly forty years ago. The waters of that well-known po -Ol register in summer a little under seventy degrees, so a little swimming calls for a great deal of sitting on the rocks in the shade, where you are soon warmed by the breeze. It was fun to talk with Dobie. Sometimes Roy Bedichek was therein later years he was more likely to be and they would be togetherand the conversation was always interesting and sometimes informative. Dobie’s range of observations and anecdotes was limitless. He could talk about coyotes, rattlesnakes, and roadrunners; he could talk politics. I frequently differed with him, but I rarely interrupted him; it was more fun to hear him talk than to argue with him. In these conversations I was impressed with his high sense of honor, his humor, his sympathy with the Rupert N. Richardson, senior professor in history, Hardin-Simmons University, is the author of several books, perhaps the best known of which is Texas, the Lone Star State Colonel Edward M. House: the Texas Years, 1858-1912 will be published in a few weeks. 24 The Texas Observer unfortunate, his bent for taking the side of the underdog. His prejudices are as pronounced as his enthusiasm for the things he loves and cherishes, and you learn to take one along with the other. For instance, I think he would agree that there are some good oil men, but oil men as a classWell, let’s stay off the subject. He might admit that there were some bad early-day cattlemen, but cattlemen as a class he would pronounce great. I recall one evening with Dobie when he was at his best. After dinner some twenty people engaged him in conversation, and he seemed to be talking with every one of them rather than making a speech that they would be called on to hear. They inquired especially of his experiences in gathering material for his books, his methods of organizing his material and of writing of almost every phase of his life and career. The range of his mind is remarkable; no subject is too great or too small to appeal to him if it pertains to nature or to interesting people. Indeed this has made him popular with millions of readers: his love of nature linked with his keen interest in people, and his ability to take the reader with him wherever he goes. On another occasion, when I was in his home, he showed’ me his collection of materials, rows of filing cases containing tens of thousands of items. Many collectors gather materials, keep and cherish them, but never use them; Dobie makes use of his collection and can locate just about any manuscript, clipping, book, or leaflet in seconds or a very few minutes. I think it was the late Dean V. I. Moore who related to me this revealing incident about Dobie. Moore, or a friend of his, was out with Dobie one afternoon in the hill country around San Saba. Moore, let’s say it was, opened a wire gate for their own car and held it open for a car that had come up after they had stopped. As Moore passed by the second car, the driver whom he had accommodated spoke to him and said,’ “I am looking for the lost Bowie mine,” whereupon Moore introduced the stranger to Dobie. At first the man was a little incredulous. It was just too good to be true. Surely while on his search for such a hidden treasure it was not possible that he would meet the prophet of treasure hunters! Dobie told him all he knew of the lore of the lost Bowie mine, and the stranger went his way. Then to Moore, Dobie made a remark that I have heard him make in substance: “I never discourage people such as that. Hope may be about all that they have; so why should we take that away from them?” I recall vividly another evening spent with Dobie, Walter Webb, Roy Bedichek, and Robert Cotner. We took our dinner to the hills west of Austin: this was before the days of Webb’s Friday Mountain Ranch that became the place for such outings. We built a fire, although it was summer, and spent the evening talking. Then, as always, Bedichek was . interested in birds. I recall that he branded as fiction the notion that the mockingbird, if imprisoned, will kill its young. Webb was drawn on occasionally on the subject of Rangers and the frontier; Dobie drew on his matchless store of anecdotes of the open spaces. They made some inquiry of me on the subject of bees, which has been my lifetime hobby. Bedichek said that he set out to make a hobby of insects but gave it up for birds. Insect life was too complex, he said, to make a suitable hobby. There was so much of the inexplicable in it, there were so many mysteries. Dobie said that was the reason he could not be an atheist; he could not conceive of a world and a universe without a God. “No,” said Bedichek reflectively, “it just depends on what you call it.” He didn’t say what he would call it; we did not pursue the conversation further. IAcrostic Freedom is food for people who Range big pastures, hunting stock .. . And wake alone, in grass and dew, Near a nickering horse or two .. . Kin to the earth and natural rock. Death of a thousand cows in drouth Ought to wear out the restless drover, But the lonely man straightens his mouth: “I’ll head out west a while–ride.southEat laterlook the country over.” tom sutherland Glimpses Through the Years Rupert Richardson
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