Relax, and take a break for lunch or dinner, and watch the river. go by. The drinks are ample, and the cheesecake is our own. We have sandwiches to seafood, from 11:30 until 11:30 every day of the week; open till midnight in the Metro Center, San Antonio, Texas. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 17 `Maury Jr.. you didn’t turn out to be anywhere nearly as big a horse’s ass as Elliott Roosevelt.’ I was weeping, but then, suddenly, we both broke out laughing as he lay there dying.” The bottom of the barrel “The Joe McCarthy era in Texas politics remains the low point of my life. “We hit the bottom of the barrel in the Texas House of Representatives the day a bill was passed and sent to the Senate removing all books from public libraries adversely reflecting on American and Texas history, the family, or religion. “The stunning moment came when the Texas State Teachers Association, in exchange for a pay increase, handed out a press release endorsing the bill. Teachers, mind you! “I voted against the bill and then, while walking to my apartment, vomited until flecks of blood came up. It is the nearest inkling I ever had to what it must have been like to be a Jew in Nazi Germany.” Tiger Jim “Blind Jim Sewell, the state representative from Corsicana, old Tiger Jim, touched my heart like no one else. `Maaaaverick,’ he would say, ‘just look at that sunset. God isn’t it pretty!’ He put you so completely at ease you forgot he was totally sightless. “Jim would memorize his surroundings and often walk along without help, show-boating every inch of the way. One time we legislators went to the Driskill Hotel, had too much lobbyist whiskey to drink, and couldn’t find our way to the elevator. ‘Gentlemen,’ Sewell announced, ‘I will take you to your cab.’ And he did, the blind leading the blind. John Nance Garner “One time long ago, Willie Kressman, the mayor of the American sector of-Berlin, came to San Antonio with a request from the State Department that I introduce him around. A call to rancher Dolph Briscoe resulted in a trip to Uvalde, and a visit to ex-Vice President John Nance Garner who was sorting out pecans when we entered his room. “That night, Dolph and Janey had Uvalde’s finest out for a formal dinner. `And what did you see at Mr. Garner’s?’ Janey asked in the grand manner. Well,’ Willie began, `vhen ye first saw the Vice President dare he vuz at the dinner table playing vid his nuts.’ ” Joe Kilgore speechless “Joe Kilgore, now a posh Austin lawyer, was one of the most able legislators I ever knew. A poor boy, he went from being a liberal in his youth to conservative as he became wealthy. Never theless, I always liked him. One time Joe had a bill to stop the Mexican black fly from coming across the Rio Grande, an effort to help the fruit growers of the Valley. Kilgore asked for an appropriation of $100,000, but a House amendment came up from the floor, which was adopted, lowering the appropriation to $50,000 and mandatingjhat only the female Mexican black fly be stopped. It was the only time I ever saw Joe speechless.” Like William Blake “Banished with honor by the ironies of fate to California is one Fred Schmidt, an old CIO boy, once the Adlai Stevenson of Texas organized labor. A heart-attack victim, living on a modest pension, Fred has become a sculptor. “As a kind of memory thing, I have an affinity for the long-gone CIO ‘radicals.’ First, there was Walter Reuther who got my father to help organize the automobile workers. Then there was Jeff Hickman, the Austin CIO lobbyist, who used to talk with me about restructuring our country in a way where there would be less competitiveness, less greed, and more generosity. “But most of all I remember Fred Schmidt who inherited a love of liberty so common among the early German immigrants to Texas. Like present-day craft union business agents, he could talk wages and hours, but unlike too many of them, he had a general reform spirit and drive. Fred, like William Blake, could see ‘a world in a grain of sand . . . and Heaven in a wild flower. . . I bet he still can.” One for conservatives “This is a story for conservatives. Will they ever understand the moral of it? “A few years ago, a wealthy Texas businessman asked me to be a pallbearer for his father, an immigrant Marxist Jew from czarist Russia. After the services were over, the coffin was lowered. I walked with my friend to the edge of the grave. He looked down at the coffin and said, ‘Goodbye, papa, Franklin Roosevelt messed up your revolution, didn’t he?’ ” The movie pass “When I was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1949, D. F. Strickland, lobbyist for a theater chain, sent me a movie pass. I returned it to him, explaining I thought it improper for me to accept. He replied saying he was sorry I felt that way because only one other legislator had ever done that, ‘and he was a Baptist preacher who later went insane.’ I asked for my movie pass back and used it.” Jan Jarboe is a reporter for the San Antonio Light.