Page 16


42 DECEMBER 14, 1984 k SPLENDID EL POKlif 4207 MEDICAL PARKWAY AUSTIN, TCXAS 458-6287 goes the grand call for biscuits that enclosed a political generation. The hillbilly band is gone \(“They’ve all got good jobs, and now I’m lookin’ for biscuits, but after twenty years they aren’t forgotten among the folks who rallied to them and made a legend. Traveling through this lonely brooding country, often over the same routes Pappy once followed when he was selling flour, you see the legend alive again for a moment. It is the country where the wind whistles and whispers when you drive through it and the old-timers sit around gnarled tables in the tiny ugly railroad towns playing dominoes into the afternoons. . . . He would walk into a grocery store in a crossroads town. There would be the wrinkled faces, the stained teeth, the soiled khakis. He would introduce himself simply, with a faint touch of shy humility, “I’m W. Lee O’Daniel and I’m runnin’ for governor,” and he would smile his warm human smile. The faces would lighten up, and the old folks would rise slowly and shake his hand. Sometimes they would be speechless, looking at him long and hard. For a time there would be silence, disturbed only by the drowsy whine of a fly or the swift thunder of a car whipping along the highway outside. “Well, pass them biscuits, Pappy!” someone would finally shout. “Well, I’ll swan,” an old woman would say. “What you doin’ way out here, Pappy?” or “Where’s your boys, Pappy?” or “Still sellin’ flour, Pappy?” and he would look at the floor a moment, his broad neck thrust out of his loosened collar, and slowly the voice that once belonged to all of them would say, “Yeah, I’m runnin’ again, I’m out to clean up that mess in Austin, just like ’38.” Always the past, always the ‘thirties “when I was through here first time I ran.” .. . Willie Morris July 11, 1958 With Yarborough . . . He is a tireless campaigner. The grin is a physiological wonder: only in rare moments do you catch him without it. A plump, well-groomed man who looks closer to 40 than 55, he walks from the heels with a boyish bounce; he gives to his speeches a folksy touch, more than a Daniel, less than an O’Daniel. He is not a spectacular speaker, but he is a good one; he attacks the opposition with a vengeance. He leaves a vague impression that a man running for office has to pump an opponent, and that the more entertaining he can make the pumping, the better. He seems proud of his life and record and calls attention to it without blush or hesitation. He often recalls the harsher facts of past campaigns, neither with bitterness nor forgiveness. Occasionally he lapses into phrases of real eloquence \(“Tonight the flickering campfires of our Marines light the green and rolling hills of Lebanon, the same hills that sent the cedars that built King quence he uses rarely, and when he does it sounds a shade rehearsed. He looks happy and he is not shy. It is easy to see he has done all this before, many times. . Willie Morris July 25, 1958