IT IS SO REFRESHING to know that lawmen who are hardworking and corruption-free still exist [“The Last Posse,” March 1998]. These men set an example in their profession. They seem so down to earth and determined. These men are truly role models.
San Benito

LOOKING AT THE COVER PHOTO, I thought, “Yep, those are my kind of folks,” and I felt a funny feeling deep inside, as if the pages of memories of the past �ew by. This article was better than an Arturo Fuente Gran Reserve or Churchill cigar and a glass of single-malt Scotch. I was ready to drag out my old Colt, pull down the old slick belt and holster, reach over and pick up my Stetson, and disappear into the night. I have known Parnell and Mike McNamara for many years. Better yet, their dad, T. P. McNamara, and I met more than forty years ago in the U.S. Marshal’s office in Oklahoma City. The sons appear to be following in T.P.’s footsteps. I imagine they are a credit to their dad, for sure.
Morristown, Tennessee

I’M HOPING THAT THE WHOLE ARTICLE was a joke, a parody. Please tell me that you aren’t serious and that the article was not meant as serious commentary. Although we currently live in Virginia, we are native Texans—BOI Galveston—we are embarrassed by the “backwoods” mentality of the article. Texas has become diverse and modern, while maintaining a tremendous sense of pride and patriotism. We continue to be proud to be associated with the state. Please don’t turn back the clock by reinforcing outdated stereotypes of our state. CHUCK AND LISA REGINI
Alexandria, Virginia

Beef Stew

“HOW THE WEST WAS WON OVER” [March 1998] goes to show that those cattle barons ended up looking like a bunch of yokels. My cap is off to Nancy Seliger. I’m glad to see that there are still ladies like her around.
Albuquerque, New Mexico

YOU OBVIOUSLY HAVE NO IDEA of the impact on the economy that cattle feeding has in our great state or you would not have found it so easy to praise Oprah Winfrey and bash Paul Engler. I am quite certain that Mr. Engler has contributed much more to our state than Ms. Winfrey.
Fort Worth

The Politics Of Gambling

IN “YOU LOSE AGAIN!” [march 1998] paul burka has some insights into the gaming scene that are totally correct. First of all, gaming is entertainment, and when it stops being fun, the players turn to something else. The players also leave when the win is cranked down so low that they feel it’s not worth the effort. This has happened so many times in the past, it’s hard to believe that the same mistakes are made over and over. Second, when politics gets involved so completely, business fails. Just look at New Orleans and Harrah’s. Now watch Detroit.

Our Townes

THE FIRST SONG TOWNES VAN ZANDT supposedly learned to play was “Fraulein” [“The Great, Late Townes Van Zandt,” March 1998]. The first song I learned to play from start to finish was “Waitin’ Around to Die.” That was many years, heartbreaks, and disappointments ago, and I still play the song when I can get through it without tears dripping onto the neck of my guitar. My appreciation to Mike Hall for one of the best and, perhaps most importantly, compassionate articles on Townes that I have had the pleasure to read and reread. I have been listening to the CD The Highway Kind, on which Townes sounds as if he knew the final outcome of his ramblin’, gamblin’ life was not far away.

TOWNES WAS OUR FRIEND AND SCHOOLMATE. He attended Baseline Junior High in Boulder, Colorado, and was with us our sophomore year at Boulder High. His demise broke our hearts. We told wonderful stories about Townes last summer at the Class of ’62 reunion. He was indeed funny, sweet, and a rascal.
Aiea, Hawaii

TOWNES VAN ZANDT’S SONGS WILL stand the test of time; indeed, some of them have already held up for thirty years. By the way, the uncredited photograph of Townes with Lightnin’ Hopkins was taken by me in the back yard of my family home in Houston in 1969 or 1970. In the photo with Townes and Mr. Hopkins are my late mother—Margaret “Mimi” Lomax—and Antoinette Hopkins.

“FRAULEIN” WAS MENTIONED TWICE in the article but the author of the song was not. The man who wrote “Fraulein” and many other hits from the early Nashville days is still alive and kicking—Fort Worth resident Lawton Williams.

We Love Luci

THOUGH I NEVER MET HER, LUCI JOHNSON and I are close in age and lived in Austin at the same time back in the sixties, when she was first married and had her baby boy [Profile: “Luci in the Sky,” March 1998]. All the eyes of Texas were upon her then: She was everybody’s sweetheart and, for those few glorious years, surely the most celebrated woman in Texas.
East Bernard

Oh, Lay!

I WAS GLAD TO SEE KENNETH LAY of Enron named among the best CEO’s in Texas [Reporter: “CEO ABCs,” March 1998]. Not only has he guided this company to the top of the energy industry but he has also encouraged Enron employees to strive for their highest goals. And when the employees reach them, Mr. Lay sees that they are rewarded. He will be the first to tell you that if it were not for the hardworking employees, Enron wouldn’t be where it is today. Ken Lay is Texas’ best-kept secret.
Hobbs, New Mexico

Smoke Screen

“SMOKE DETECTORS” was not only frighteningly informative but also rightly argued [Behind the Lines, March 1998]. I wonder if anybody has thought where the tobacco settlement money will come from. A company is no different from a governmental unit; its money comes from the people, or customers—in this case from smokers here and abroad. What is the future of a society that finances itself on addictive activity, as we seem to be doing?