BUMPERSTRIPS: McCARTHY PRESIDENT PEACE Fluorescent, genuine peel-oft bumperstrlp stock. 1 for 25c 5 for $1 1,000 for $65 DISSENTING DEMOCRATS OF TEXAS 1505 Cloverleaf Austin, Texas 78723 Doesn’t this make sense? It is the fear of losing the wage earner’s earning power for a year or longer which presents a threat to every Union family. Just as it is impossible to insure an existing fire, it is impossible to insure an existing illness or injury at the time of occurrence! Insurance must be placed before the catastrophe before the lockout of “living death.” We invite your consideration of the policy contract clauses of the American Income Life Insurance Company, the company with the policy with the arbitration clause for Union Labor! Our credentials? Our employees are organized and represented by Local 277 of The Office and Employees International Union of the AFL-CIO. And we like ‘it! AMERICAN AMERICAN INCOME LIFE i lmaitemee Executive Offices, P. 0. Box 208, Waco, Texas BERNARD RAPOPORT President Christmas Eve at the Gay Place Austin To someone who has nowhere special to go for the holidays, and nothing special to stay home for, Christmas Eve can be depressing enough without spending it at Scholz’s Beer Garten. This is the anniversary of the one time I tried that. At this writing, December 24 is still four weeks away and I don’t know what I’m going to be doing that evening. But it won’t be Scholz’s. Scholz Garten, celebrated watering spot of Austin intellectuals, politicians, students, lawyers, writers, and other ne’erdo-wells; the Morey’s of Austin; the essential stop on any sentimental journey through town; but most of all a place to go when there’s no place else to go, because there’s always noise, people to watch, and usually someone to talk to. Except on Christmas. Eve. If there’s anything worse than a quiet, empty house on that one night of the year, it’s a quiet, empty Scholz’s. Last December 24 was about like any other day until the sun went down, and a persistent child-like voice down deep inside me started nagging. This is Christmas Eve, it said, and you’re supposed to be out getting drunk, or something. For that’s the best thing to do when there aren’t any electric trains to play with. But everybody in Austin, God bless ’em, goes home for Christmas, or packs the house with elderly relatives. So I resigned myself to spending a restful if boring evening all alone, watching some , thing bloody on television. But you just can’t do that on Christmas Eve, I soon discovered. All the thrillers and the old late movies are preempted by uplifting Christmas Specials, where toward the end of the hour the music changes from “Jingle Bells” to “Little Town of Bethlehem, 1” and some fool MC suddenly turns solemn and maudlin about the Meaning of Christmas Which All of Us Sometimes Tend to Forget. Even 30 minute Westerns work in some kind of Christmas message the hardened gunfighter, reminded of his own misspent childhood by the sound of churchbells on Christmas Eve, spares 1. Bethlehem: steel, armor plate, Merchants of Death; labor riots, strike-breakers, machine guns and tear gas. To any student of U.S. history, Bethlehem doesn’t connote the right things. the life of the brash young challenger and only shoots off his kneecap. WELL, I couldn’t lick ’em and I wouldn’t join ’em, so about 9 o’clock I relented and went down to Scholz’s, where the action is. Except that there Bill Helmer wasn’t any. No crowds, no clink of mugs and pitchers, no jolly din. The place was like a tomb. A couple of aging regulars sat at opposite ends of the bar, drinking beer out of bottles and looking straight ahead. In the back part one table was occupied by four middle-aged couples, all slightly drunk and slightly silly. The only other customers were a couple of young men with a bucket of ice and a bottle of Old Crow between them, looking very lonely. Heart sinking, I decided I’d have one glass of beer and then go back home to watch “Miracle on 34th Street.” Several beers later I still had not got up the energy to leave, and was feeling a little self-conscious about it. The waitress already had dropped some friendly remarks about how slow business was on Christmas Eve, the idea being that as soon as a few inconsiderate customers cleared out Scholz’s would close up early and everybody could get home to the family. This made me feel worse than ever and I started keeping a close eye on the other customers. As soon as they started showing signs of restlessness, I would make a conspicuous exit that might give them the same idea. That would be my little Christmas present to the employees at Scholz’s. Just thinking about it made me all warm inside. I glanced at the two boys. They were both looking at me and one of them motioned for me to join them. They were Dec. 22, 1967 13
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