The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989 Page: 114
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114 Southwestern Historical Quarterly
rys. George had wanted to meet the famous Dobie; therefore we had
wangled the invitation-which was not hard to wangle at all.
It happened that Winston Churchill had chosen that Sunday to ad-
dress the British people, as well as Americans. Pancho Dobie wanted to
hear the great orator, as did we all. Dessert was postponed until we had
heard Churchill's sonorous tones die away. It was served while we pon-
dered his earlier promise of "blood, sweat and tears" for the British. All
five of us were ready to help him fight the "little guttersnipe."
The lunch was remarkable to an extent, but an embarrassment made
us a trifle uncomfortable. A maid was bringing food or drink through
the swinging doors when she dropped the tray. It made a loud bang.
The Perrys and I were ready to laugh and to help the hapless woman,
but neither of the Dobies raised an eyebrow or even looked toward the
kitchen. I knew then that the affable Pancho, whom I had met several
times while I was a student at the University of Texas and a nighttime
reporter for the Austin American, was not totally in charge at the resi-
dence on Waller Creek.
The accident and Churchill's speech were memorable all right, and
the afternoon, for me, was even more so.
Dobie invited George and me upstairs to his study. It was a tiny room
with filing cabinets, a chair or two, and tablets and pencils and a few
Dobie told me about one of his most prized outputs, John C. Duval,
First Texas Man of Letters, illustrated by Tom Lea. The author told me
that there had been only 1,ooo copies printed by the Southwest Review
I was even more awed when he let me handle the book, and when he
took it back, he wrote briefly on a flyleaf and then gave it back. He had
written: "Presented to Truman McMahan with appreciation of his civi-
lized interest in Texas culture-and as a recuerdo of his visit with us
today. J. Frank Dobie, on Waller Creek, Austin, Texas. April 27, 1941."
It is one of my most prized possessions today. And George Sessions
Perry prized the copy he received and also decided that Pancho Dobie
was "real." Years later George wrote in his Texas, A World in Itself of
Dobie: "He's as unmistakably Texan as a Longhorn steer, as the sight of
a lone cowboy laying his freshly fried bacon in neat strips on an absor-
bent plop of last year's cow dung to drain off the grease."
That would have pleased Pancho, for George had it right. Dobie 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/m1/141/: accessed May 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.