Page 17


Heart Downtown Dallas 24-HOUR COFFEE SHOP $6.50 up No Charge for Children Under 18 Radio-Television Completely Air Conditioned FREE INSIDE PARKING HOTELcC outhtemb Commerce-Murphy-Main Streets Telephone: Riverside 2-6431 Dallas, Texas soldiers from New Jersey, or someplace like that, stationed at Fort Hood. We talked about the nonsensical things to which strangers commonly resort for the sake of making conversation: Texas, the Army, Scholz’s, what I studied at the University, and so on. Grim it was, but better than nothing, and after a sparkling glass of Old Crow it was downright pleasant. Good fellows, these! Hell yes! By about 11 o’clock the bottle was empty and my friends, my good friends, were complaining about. the long trip back to Killeen. When I came back from the men’s room they were gone. Not only that, they owed a dollar-something for the ice and set-ups, the waitress informed me. They had paid for their meals, but not for the extras. She wasn’t trying to collect from me, she said; she just wondered where they had gone. I knew where they had gone, and conjectured charitably that they were probably a little drunk and just forgot. Being a little drunk myself, I handed her my last two dollar bills and grandly pointed out that it was, after all, Christmas Eve. She smiled and reminded me that I owed her a dollar-fifty for my own beer and set-ups. ALL OF WHICH got us to talking about Christmas, 2 about what her children were getting for presents, and I 2. You don’t get to chat with Scholz employees except on Christmas Eve, and only then if Freddie the Foreman isn’t watching. 14 The Texas Observer started getting so sentimental that T nearly played a dime’s worth of Bing Crosby on the record machine. Then she mentioned that her husband was a Houston detective, and that she hated cops. She also seemed to know every worthwhile crook in Austin, their lawyers, and a good deal about the local narcotics industry. She was a new waitress in Scholz’s and I found the conversation interesting, but it also wrecked my glow and I was a little relieved when the tableful of drunks started knocking over bottles to leave, and she had to go tend to them. I got back to the house just in time to fall asleep during “Miracle on 34th Street,” and the next day wasn’t much better. If necessary, I shall watch “Miracle on 34th Street” again this year. Or at least find a better place to go on Christmas Eve. Austin In association with a photographer who took pictures of them, Emily Edwards of San Antonio has written a full study of the painted walls of Mexico. The University of Texas has published the results of their collaborationa handsome volume of value and importance for anyone who loves Mexico and cares about art. But my purpose mentioning this is to quote, with her permission, from a letter Emily has written me. “Several nights ago,” she wrote, “I forced myself to watch through an NBC newscast. And what did I see? A burned village still smoking and the ground strewn with dead children and women and old folks, while our great victory was recounted. Then a few moments later I watched the N.Y. Police beating up the . Peace Marchers. What has happened to our people? I certainly was not watching it all alone. How can we live with this knowledge? Where are the ministers of the gentle Jesus? Is this the America of bright hope? Rather, we seem as barbarians or worse, because we do know what we do in pursuit of power and prosperity, because we do not face human concerns.” 2,000 Years Late Here is another Christmas reading, from Congressman W r i g h t Patman’s 1,568th letter to his constituents this month: “The proper use and development of non-lethal weapons is under study so that police departments can more effectively control crime and riots. These include tear and vomit chemicals, pepper extracts, itching powders, pain inducers, adhesives, barbed tape, slippery confetti and other EPILOGUE The above Christmas Eves were those of 1965 the impending one of 1966. For obscure reasons, the Observer has held this rather pointless account for a year, requiring a postcript: the author did not, as things turned out, have to spend last Christmas at Scholz’s or even in Austin. During a bean-supper sponsored by the John Dillinger Died For You Society on December 21, two of his friends, Mac and Maureen McReynolds, took advantage of his condition and invited him to fly to California in the back seat of their rented Cessna 172, leaving at 3 a.m. As a result, he spent Christmas Eve 1966 in a neighborhood bar in the northern part of Los Angeles. It wasn’t much, either. This year he is open to any offers: 305 East 12th Street, Austin, Texas, 78701. GR 8-3851. materials that make movement impossible, foam generators, water cannons treated with dyes for marking individuals, cold brine projectors, blinding light, sound harassers, bullet proof shields and clothing, and armored police trucks that resemble tanks. In short, American technology is rapidly developing an entire new anti-crime and anti-riot arsenal to meet the obvious need.” Crowd control is a vital part of the social order. Think how much better off the world would be if Pontius Pilate had had at his disposal these new marvels. Jesus’ voice could have been harassed during the Sermon on the Mount. His hands could have been stuck to his sides before he could multiply the loaves. What a funny scene it would have been, all those people slipping down the road to Calvary. A Blinding Light I am in favor of people who run red lights getting tickets. I have got a few, myself. I like cops who are friendly, decent, polite, and doing their jobs. Police are necessary. I am glad burglars, muggers, heroin profiteers, killers, and rapists get caught, tried, convicted, and punished. I feel with them as each one may be, and with their victims, too. And this is heresy, isn’t it. What strange times, that to be in with the outs, people fall silent about such simple, necessary things. It can be a form of cowardice to be cowed into silence about such things. But listen, gentlemen of the established order, in many things you go too far, and in some things you go beyond the pale. Go beyond that pale often enough and you lose the color of reason and the argument of order. Law is what the community wishes; the community underlies it. , 0 Observations Confetti at Calvary