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From 1. to r., Jose Limon, Beverly Lowry, A. C. Greene, Larry McMumy, Shelby Hearon, and Joe Holley ponder Texas literature in the 80s. became known to the audience Bedichek’s daughter, Webb’s widow, D6bie’s nephew. But Texans who knew all three are becoming less numerous, which I think allows me to toss in a story exemplifying the humaneness peculiar to all three of those Texas giants, although it concerns only one of them. I knew Webb and Dobie, in that order, because of work in those days for Frank Wardlaw, then director of the University of Texas Press. Early in my UT Press career I also met Roy Bedichek on my own, but still thanks to Wardlaw when Bedichek, dressed like a tramp, walked into an outer office around noon one day and asked to see “Mr. Wardlaw.” I knew he was in his office but doubted his desire at that moment to talk with this impoverished author, whoever he was. “I believe he’s busy,” I told the man. “Wait a minute and I’ll ask.” With no detectable irony he declared, “I think he’ll see me. Tell him it’s Roy Bedichek.” Later I learned that Bedichek never was a man for formal attire if he could avoid it. That recollection gave John Graves’ concluding remarks even more meaning. If it proves there is such a thing as a Texas literary tradition, he said, then the old three will have a place in it, and if their works are ever eclipsed it won’t be because they wrote about nature or an earlier Texas. “Nature is on their side,” Graves said. “Can we say as much for Houston?” A detailed summary of every ensuing event is impossible. Further, the registrants had a choice of attendance at six brown-bag lunches in two days, and there they heard more discussion by panel members. Finally, two evening events provided opportunities to view an “Images of Texas” exhibition of art and to visit Dobie’s old ranch, Paisano. But here is a list of the other panels along with a highlight or two and occasional remarks by this writer. Completeness or even proper focus isn’t guaranteed. The sessions were long and sometimes without a break, so occasionally I slipped out to the rest room a genuinely appropriate name for it during the three days or 4 4 HE OLD Order” focused on Katherine Anne Porter, William Goyen, William Humphrey, William Owens, George Ses sions Perry, and J. Mason Brewer, with discussion by Norman Brown, Joan Givner, James Lee, and Owens himself, who spoke eloquently as respondent despite a cold. The old guard that triumvirate represented western in fluence; these authors represent southern influence. But the days when most Tex ans considered themselves southerners are gone, as perhaps indicated by the Texas Institute of Letters award for the best book of 1939; it went to Dobie’s Apache Gold and Yaqui Silver instead of Porter’s Pale Horse, Pale Rider. “What really was back of the decision?” asked Givner, and some persons in the audience no doubt envisioned sexual bias \(although Dora Neil Raymond some other awful bias. But the simple and seemingly honest explanation is given in The Texas Institute of Letters, 1936-1966, written by William H. Vann and published by the Encino Press. “While recognizing the fine quality of Miss Porter’s work,” wrote Vann, who was instrumental in organizing the TIL, “the judges felt that because of Dobie’s residence in Texas and the indigenous nature of his material, the award [a plaque] should go to him.” Givner also mentioned sexual bias observable at this very conference and pointed to the symbols used on brochures: cowboy hats, branding irons, and the like. Probably she had some logic a woman, Melissa Hield of the UT College of Liberal Arts, whose hard work as coordinator got the conference through its three days with no obvious major flaw. “The Vanishing Frontier” focused on Larry McMurtry, Larry L. King, Elmer Kelton, John Graves, R. G. Vliet, Ben Capps, Tom Lea, and others, with discussion by Joe Frantz, Kelton, William T. Pilkington, Vliet, and Beverly Stoeltje. A difficulty here was, as usual, agreeing on what represents THE TEXAS OBSERVER 19