The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989 Page: 111
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J. Frank Dobie and Walter Prescott Webb
the prized stand of endangered Texas bluebells, or perhaps his favor-
Bertha McKee Dobie's garden was her pride and joy. Daffodil bulbs
were her only real extravagance. The border of sunny yellow daffodils
along the creek would not be at their finest unless bulbs were pur-
chased fresh each year. One time when Mr. Dobie commented on the
expense, her reminder about his purchases of cases of Jack Daniels ter-
minated the discussion.
My main dealing with Mr. Dobie was with radishes. Though Mrs.
Dobie maintained a vegetable garden, she omitted these favorites of
her husband. Each year I planted radishes and watched carefully in
order to take the first bunch to him as soon as possible.
When a little girl, I found J. Frank Dobie an awesome presence. He
had a brusque manner, gravelly voice, and wild white hair, which were
tempered by his twinkling blue eyes and ready grin. On one radish de-
livery, he deduced that if the roots were good, the greens should be as
well. I stood in horror as he munched a giant mouthful of leaves: his
teeth and munching appeared very similar to those of a mustang!
On my birthday, my parents always invited anyone whom I chose for
dinner-the Dobies were always first choice. Mr. Dobie shared my
fondness for Betty's lemon meringue pie. Daddy always made sure to
have the finest brandy on hand.
After supper, we retired with brandies to the living room. Mrs. Dobie,
Betty, and I talked quietly. Mr. Dobie sat with the Steuben snifter kept
only for his use, sipping brandy and looking into the fire. My collie,
Cody, sat by his side, occasionally nuzzling a hand as a reminder that he
was waiting. Mr. Dobie finally held the Steuben snifter for Cody to lick
the remaining traces of brandy.
Majestic elms once shaded the Dobie backyard. Here they enter-
tained, Mr. Dobie drank with friends, and business was conducted. I
remember our puzzlement when Mrs. Dobie told us that "little brown
men" were expected. When the "Little, Brown" men arrived, they ap-
peared to be of sufficient size and Caucasian. The trees that managed
survival in the years of neglect hardly cast the same shadow.
My father took over Haller Tree Experts, and in this capacity gave
the Dobie trees skilled care. He followed John Haller's tradition, and
whenever a mesquite was removed, the wood would be hauled to Mr.
Dobie for the aromatic fires he loved.
I walked to the Waller Creek bridge. There was a jumble of green-
ery-elm, hackberry, poison ivy, Virginia creeper, grape vines, and
pecan-clipped in a wall to allow passage on the sidewalk. The dog-
wood and hibiscus were making brave stands within this wall. It was
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989, periodical, 1989; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101212/m1/138/: accessed November 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.