eimisceaies of Sour Cake
D URING the first week of October, 1903, I went to Sour Lake.
Boll weevils had ruined the cotton in my part of the
country, and, like thousands of others, I went to the oil field
to tide over a hard time. By pawning my fiddle and six-shooter
and borrowing fifty cents from a friend, I scraped up enough
money to buy a ticket; I got there without a cent.
Hardly had I arrived before I was introduced to one of the
town's most prominent characteristics-rascality. Two young
fellows at the depot came up to me and gave me a drink of
beer. Then they began a game of matching nickels on the
counter. After playing a short time, they invited me to join
in the game. For more reasons than one, I declined. They
continued the game between themselves, but every now and
then they would invite me to take a hand. After a while one
of them got lucky or something and -speedily broke the other
one. The loser, in a huff, left the room, vowing he was going
to get more money and come back and clean up on the winner.
As soon as the loser left, the other boy came to me eagerly and
proposed that I come in and that he and I work together and
fleece the other fellow. I understood something of the game
and knew that the trick could be worked readily enough, but
I was hardly so gullible as to think it would be worked in my
favor; and again, in mild tones, I declined.
At this late date, I do not remember why I remained at the
depot since I had come to Sour Lake to work, and especially
since I knew that a skin game was being played for the express
purpose of catching me; but I did.
Presently the boy who had lost came back and, true to his
word, brought a handful of money, not nickels and dimes, but
long, green paper money. They started the game again with
gusto. From time to time, they would stop and invite me to come
in, but I continued to shake my head and tell them I did not want
to. They paid little attention to my repeated refusals and soon
became highly insistent. Finally I came out with my more solid
reason-told them I was broke. No doubt they were as well
acquainted with people without money as they were with those
with it. At any rate, they ceased their importunities, and the
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 50, July 1946 - April, 1947. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101117/. Accessed January 30, 2015.