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#041#11#1144e#4144NINI#41 ,41##I4#41.144414~~###4111#######11 Heavenly Discourse Larry L. King long-dollar boys or who probably have such few brains they’d try to play the harmonica with their feet. Oh, Hell. Everybody knows this! It’s just that nobody much cares enough to do anything about it. It’s easier to drift, after all, than swim against the tide. Washington, D.C. They tell me our country boy legislators have convened again down in Austin, and this news has caused me tb spend many hours on my knees in serious conversation with God Almighty. When it is my turn to talk, I ask Him to give the people of Texas whatever protection and comfort He in His infinite wisdom and mercy thinks they have coming. I would send up the same gentle petition in behalf of my fellow-Texans in the event of another forty-day flood, if a lion were in the streets, or should any other major disaster occur. I know He moves in mysterious ways His wonders to perform, for it is so written in The Book. Even so, I have been brash enough to inquire of Him The purpose of serpents in the land, plagues and famines, and sessions of the Texas Legislature. Having picked up faint signals, I am fairlywell reconciled to the former Acts of God but as of now have no acceptable answer to that part of the question dealing with governmentif we may use the term loosely. It could be, of course, that He is using the state legislature as a training ground for future Congressmen from Texas. But that explanation merely puts more daring questions dealing with Divine Purpose upon my tongue. Why I have taken the subject up with Higher Ground has to do with a singular lack of conviction that our legislators have gathered in Austin to do us real favors. I keep hearing rumors of plots to put sales taxes on the people’s bread, of increasing college tuition, of doing as little as possible about a proposed teacher pay raise, and of doing not one blessed thing to put taxes on gas pipelines or on any form of corporate profits. We are stuck, the story goes, with a legislature among the most mossbacked in the history of Texas. Thinking of that is rather like dwelling too long on infinity or eternity or the number of fishes in the seait scares you to prayer in exotic tongues. If our legislators live up to their sorry advance billing then we should not be surprised should laws get put on the books reinstating the public flogging post, sending children back to their looms, or causing Indian villages to be burned along the Pecos River. I have seen a lot of shoddy performances in my time: the New York Mets at baseball, Lawrence Welk’s band trying to blow sounds, The Texas congressional delegation voting four for and eighteen against on the recent House rules committee change.. But of all the tomfoolery and bunko and highway robbery to flash before these jaundiced orbs, nothing touches the Texas legislature for repeated asinine acts. Thus does one mourn the loss of Malcolm McGregor, Max Carriker, and Lindsey Rod 6 The Texas Observer riguez through their respective misadventures in trying to enrichen the talent-poor buffoons squatting in Texas positions on the Potomac. Considering the paucity of good men their loss is what the loss of Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris and Whitey Ford might be to the New York Yankees. To carry the baseball analogy as far as we dare, we do have a few noble sluggers: Bob Eckhardt, Babe Schwartz, Franklin Spears, Don Kennard, a few others. But for each of those worthies who have some basic idea of how life is in the streets or who harbor some hint of intellect, we can point to a dozen others who are nothing more than willing lick-splittles for the Texarkana, Tex. The first spring after we moved back to this farm, which has been home to me since I was a little boy, we planted a garden. My mother had had a vegetable garden every year as far back as I can remember until her death the summer before. Ours that first spring was not to be an ordinary garden : we were determined to keep it completely free of pesticides. We had read Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, so no DDT, no Dieldrin, no endrin, no other commercial insect killers. Nearly everybody preached doom and gloomthe bugs’ll drive you out, you won’t make anythingbut they were wrong. We had so many cucumbers and green beans we had to sell them, give them away, freeze them, and let them rot. Worms got into some of the corn, but we still had corn in the freezer a year later.. I don’t mean everything was perfect. swarmed from the crimson clover to the peas, and all we had left was a few messes of purple hulls. The watermelons and cantaloupes didn’t make at all, but my father said it was the soil. I spied a big green tomato worm one morning, but he was gone by the afternoon. There has been no wholesale spraying by airplanes here that I know of, and there are plenty of birds. Over-all it was a good garden. The crab grass finally won because of my midsummer lassitude, but we also won : there were no new and deadly residues added to our soil, waiting to poison a new generation. L AST. YEAR I decided banning pesticides wasn’tenough and took another You are going to have to forgive me for giving you short shrift in this issue, no matter how much you need the enlightenment. A funny thing happened to me on the way to the grave. I got married to a sweet girl named Rose Marie. About the time your eyes are roving over these words I will be going before a duly-constituted man of the cloth for the purpose of swearing a solemn oath. Know all men by these present, it shall be held in closer proximity to pure fidelity than are the oaths of so many of our claybog politicians. Sorry, girls. . . . step toward having an organic garden. I had been reading some of the natural food literature and decided to stop using commercial fertilizer. Synthetic fertilizer eventually puts a hard crust over the soil. Earth worms, which aerate the soil and keep it lively, die. So we hauled several slide-loads of rotted cow manure from the barn and spread it over our plot, smaller now to reduce our yield. Dad borrowed my cousin’s horse and broke up the ground and covered the manure. We let it rot until around Easter, when Dad laid off ten short rows. You could spit across the whole garden \(if you grew up here where Though mixed, the results were better than the year before. Lice got on the turnip greens, but we still had more than we needed. No aphids, or atheists either, on the peas; I don’t know why. The purple hulls were big and dark-green until the drouth burned them out. Onions, okra, radishes, limas, pepper, eggplant, tomatoes, carrots, rape, cornall were healthy and safe. One organic farmer tells me bugs won’t attack a perfectly healthy plant grown on healthy soil, ,and I suspect he’s right. But I must admit small green cabbage looper worms ran amokhog wildin the cabbage and the squash. “Better get yourself some spray,” a neighbor said. “I’ll let the worms have ’em first,” I replied. But it didn’t quite come to that. Another, wiser neighbor, D011. Roberts, told me flour would do the job because worms get caught in it and die. It’s simpler than spraying, cheaper, and safe. Squash bugs were another problem. Normally we don’t eat much squash ; last RACHEL CARSON HAS A TEXAS GARDEN James Presley