Page 10


THE OBSERVER ALMANAC Ed. Note The Observer has always been uneasy about the monopoly on Texas fact held by The Dallas Morning News, publisher of The Texas Almanac. Aware of the enchantment that distance can bring, we asked beloved contributing editor Harris Green, now residing under his own name in New York City after having his press pass revoked by The State Fair Musicals \(see Observer summer issues, Observer Almanac. He refused. Then he announced that he can turn out such research just as long as the Johnson Administration lasts. If ‘it does. We don’t know what connection the Johnson Administration has with facts, but Green says that’s the point. His first entry for The Texas Observer Almanac is below. We haven’t personally checked his research. You know how big this state is. CREDIBILITY GAP County seat of Howie. Pop. \(no credible, much less consapparently very low since the town is continually 4 PRODUCE: Goats, nuts, t and oil. HISTORY: Settled 1835 by Big Daddy “Hawk” Byrd, hero of the Alamo, who is credited with persuading the garrison to disobey Sam Houston’s order: “Load out & join up with me!” “Hawk’s” reasoning has not entirely disappeared from strategy: “This mission has got to be de-fended. Mother’s milk was mixed hi to make this adobe.” \( Someofie shouted,’ “They was Three days later, the Alamo was surrounded and then some by Santa Anna’s army. Daddy “Hawk” was thought to have been shot before the battle started. Long before. Of him, Sam Houston said, “I don’t know how to thank him.” Birthplace of Brig. Gen. W. T. “Puss” Hackworthe, “Boy General of the Confederacy,” who participated in Hood’s final, disastrous campaign, which concluded with the disbanding of what was left of the army. “Puss” issued the famous 12 The Texas Observer order that the boys, on a forced night march, should whistle “Dixie” to keep the spirits up. This betrayed their position to a Union artillery company. This practice has recently come back into military fashion. Presently home of Old Uncle Tawm “Bull” Dozier, oldest living ex-railroad commissioner, who subsists entirely on pecans, branch water, and bluebonnets. “Not everyone can swaller what I can,” says “Bull.” Visited every year by dutiful journalists on his birthday, he can al Port Aransa:s Except for weekends. Port Aransas is quiet, but expectant, preparing for “the season.” Some of the tourist courts put their summer rates on May 15, but you can bargain for weekly winter rates up to June first; then things go sky high The bar dowti at the Sports Center is boisterous at night, but only about a third full; the Rod and Gun Club, a very exclusive club you get into only if you have a driver’s license, is a slow and languorous place, with a few people at the bar and one or two tables ‘occupied. In May Port Aransas is, in fact, rather a nice place to come. It’s not so hot you need air conditioning; the jetty and the pier are cool in the afternoon and night, and you don’t find the rows of fishermen elbow to elbow, tangling up each others’ lines, that you do in the summer when the fishing is better. Things are still, but if you have work to do with you, or if you have work you are trying to get away from, however it may be, maybe it’s still you want. Bertrand Russell it was who said that solitude is the principal casualty of modern life. A dog barks, a seagull caws and another answers, a tool clanks at the upholstery ways be counted on to provide aphoristic copy. Like: “Where would an army be without civilians?” “You show me a ‘Nervous Nellie’ and I’ll look at it.” “I used to know Allan Shivers when he was.” “This state was founded on publicity.” If journalists do ,not come to visit him, he is madder than if they do. His favorite topic: The great Texas military tradition. NATURAL ATTRACTIONS: It is always open season on doves around Credibility Gap. HARRIS GREEN shop next door, and the easy atteploon breeze brushes your elbow. ,iji; Not, however, to romanticize Poll iAransas! One of the worst things about the island now is the ubiquity of signs that have been mass-printed and all say, “Another White Marlin Enterprise.” It appears that this Dallas millionaire, whose name I knew a couple of years ago, has bought up, not only the Gulf fishing fleets, but also tourist courts by the armsful. Not only the “small family farm,” but also the small family tourist court appears to be on the way out. There is one weatherworn court for sale, across the street from Woody’s Basin, but one can see why White Marlin didn’t buy it. The same centralizing, biggening trends has been driving independents out of the shrimping life for the last several years. Corporations own more and more of the shrimp boats now, and the “captains” are hired hands, just like the crew hands and the headers. No wonder so many people flock down to places like Pt. Aransas in the summertime, to swim, to surf, to fish, to pay maybe $100 for a few hours’ trolling in the Gulf: at least it’s a simulation of adventure, of authenticity, and of man’s ancient, rights in nature and among each other, old, old things that life in the cities ‘has’ just about crushed. There is still something great about a boy standing etched in the wind on the far, far end of a wave-swept granite jetty, squinting at the water for .the sight of tarpon surfacing so he can cast his lure out toward them and hope for a fight with one as it leaps into the air, again and again. And the other night on Horace Caldwell Pier I watched a man fish, a man from Fort Worth; his grace and knowhow, his skill so unconscious he gave no thought to it, let him haul trout after trout onto the pier until us ordinary mortals around him lost our tempers with ourselves or, until next time. There may be more real hope for the future of life in America in the great variety of causes called by the catch-all, “conservation,” than ‘there is in Texas AFL-C10 recommends EDWARD P. MORGAN and the news Coast to Coast on ABC Monday thru Friday Austin KVET 10:30 p.m. Big Spring KBST 6:40 p.m. Bryan KORA 6:00 p.m. Dallas-Ft. Worth WBAP 7:00 p.m. El Paso KHEY 9:30 p.m. San Antonio KBAT 6:40 p.m. SPONSORED BY AFL-CIO Our Editor at Large Reports from the Road