could be called a finished style in the sense that the New Yorker or Time magazine have for it has contented itself with Dugger’s original purpose, to be “a journal of free voices.” One knows, intuitively, that the Observer belongs to the young. It should never have a wise and urbane staff, but rather an aggressive gathering of indignant muckrakers. Muckraking especially cultural muckraking is hard work, work for the young. The Observer ought to get in trouble and stay there. And when its writers get sophisticated in interpretation and graceful in style, they ought to get out: they are too old. I think it would be proper in this kind of piece to close with a story. In the early 1960s Willie Morris called me and asked me to meet him at Scholz, the Observer’s ex-officio conference room. Over the second pitcher, Willie divulged that he was leaving the Observer. “Why?” I asked. “I’m worn out. ‘Plumb wore out,’ as they say.” “That’s the reason,” I replied. “I wore out too.” As we were leaving, Willie asked, “How old were you when you wore out?” “Thirty-one,” I said. “I must have worked harder,” said Willie. “I’m twenty-nine.” On the steps in front of Scholz, Willie said, with a touch of wonder: “I don’t know how Dugger does it.” I still don’t. 8 The Texas Observer Betty McKool If you believe that this state can be saved, write the woman who can save it 414, 810 Red Bud Trail, Austin Should Be Governor of Texas BIG THICKET MUSEUM Saratoga, Texas Open Weekends 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Support Your Big Thicket Association National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws P.O. Box 14394 Austin, Texas 78711 By John Henry Faulk Madisonville When The Texas Observer set up shop back in 1954, J. R. Parten of Madisonville straight away pitched in and gave the Observer his enthusiastic support. It was natural that he would. Natural for him, that is. Giving moral and financial support to worthy causes and institutions in Texas and elsewhere, has been a natural instinct with J. R. Parten for more than a half century now. His name is not exactly a household word in Texas, but it ought to be. Mr. Parten is the kind of citizen that people should know about. It would be comforting and reassuring, in times like the present, for people to know that our society can produce the kind of personal integrity, civilized thinking, and informed, responsible citizenship that Mr. Parten epitomizes. It is not possible, of course, to do anything near a definitive portrait of him in this short piece. But I want to try to give you at least a notion of why I regard him as such an admirable and unique citizen. JUBEL RICHARD Parten was born in Madisonville, Tex. some 77 years ago. He got the habit rather early of making a success of whatever he undertook. Like when he was 15 years old and offered a bonus to any of the dozens of cotton pickers in his uncle’s cotton patch who would pick as much cotton a day as he could. For the several weeks it took to get the crop in, Mr. Parten picked over 400 pounds a day. He never had to pay the bonus. Then just to top things off, he was valedictorian of his high school graduating class the following spring. Which might be a non sequitur, but it illustrates my point about his success habit. After attending The University of Texas and studying law, then serving in World War I as a field artillery officer, he went into the oil business in 1919. He is still as active as ever in it, recognized as one of the most knowledgeable, successful independent oil producers in the United States. Tributes In the 1950’s he branched out into ranching. He bought several thousand acres of wooded Madison Country land, cleared and improved it, and concentrated on cattle breeding. Before long he was one of the top men in that line, a recognized authority on the Brahma breed. He has one of the finest herds in the country. For the past few years, cattle breeders from all over the country and from places like South Africa and Australia have come beating a path to his ranches to inspect his herds and buy his bulls. Incidentally, as any of his foremen and cowboys, most of whom have spent their lives handling cattle, will readily tell you, J. R. Patren knows as much about the everyday care and handling of cattle as the most experienced man in his employ does. During the years that he has been giving all this time and energy to making a success in the oil and cattle business, Mr. Parten has managed to give almost as much time to public service. He served as a member and later as chairman of the board of regents of the University of Texas. J. Frank Dobie and Walter Webb agreed that he was the best regents’ chairman in its history. He has been called to Washington, off and on for the past 30 years, to serve the government in various directorial and advisory capacities, usually related to finance or the petroleum industry. Although his successes in his professional career and in his public service career are impressive, his most distinguished achievement lies in yet another endeavor. This is his active, abiding concern with defending and upholding the basic principles of freedom and justice upon which this republic was founded. He says that early in life, his parents, who were intelligent, egalitarian folk, imbued him with a profound sense of responsibility for the integrity of the Constitution, and particularly for the Bill of Rights and the guarantees of individual freedoms imbedded therein. He has also done a great deal of reading and thinking on the subject. He early perceived that the Bill of Rights was the sine qua non of our democratic republic. The First Amendment is not only first numerically, it is first in importance to J. R. Parten. This, of course, explains why it is a natural tendency with him to give freely of his time, thought, and resources to any cultural, political, or
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