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Feb. 20, 1997

Monahan's Well

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By Jerry Curry

The major tragedy of the tragedy that took the lives of Ray and Ruben
Franco - two good kids most everyone liked, two good kids that were
normal American kids on their way to graduation from high school - is
this. It will happen again. It has happened before.

Although I am now an avid, some say fanatical, disciple of moderation
when it comes to the use of alcohol, I was not always such. This thing
that happened in Monahans just after midnight on Saturday also happened
when I was a high school sophomore a thousand years ago.

That one killed a beautiful girl, Sue Hackler, who was a senior, in a
particularly horrible way. She was decapitated. Her boyfriend was maimed
for life. For some reason, I do not remember his name.

But I do remember how he got the booze.

In our little town those eons ago, there were two or three people in
their 20s who, for a few dollars and a six pack of their own, would trot
out to the nearest package store and buy the beer and the whiskey.

That was then. This is now.

And nothing has changed.

But there is one difference. In this era, there have been decades of
court decisions that establish that those who provide liquor to underage
drinkers are themselves liable for anything that happens - if it can be
proven that the person so charged was the purveyor, a difficult thing,
sometimes, to prove.

Far be it for me to advocate lynching as an answer to anything, but I
could well understand if relatives and other parents of the two young
men killed on Saturday thought about it.

The young men had been in Wickett. There is in Wickett a trailer,
investigators have been told, where there often is a party on the
weekend where the young men and women gather to do rebellious things.

Sheriff Ben Keele, Highway Patrol Trooper Eric White and Monahans Chief
Dave Watts know a lot more than can be reported.

It may be possible those who provided the booze to these kids can be
charged with a double killing if the evidence is there.

But even if that happens, it won't be enough.

It is hoped that the combined efforts of the sheriff's office, Highway
Patrol and Monahans Police can put a slight damper on the Friday night
parties. Legal purveyors of ethanol can lose their licenses to operate
if they sell to a minor. It seems only just that those who go to one of
the legitimate stores and buy ethanol for a minor might also lose some
of their ability to operate.

Literally hundreds of young people have died on the highways and byways
of this nation since the automobile became a part of the American
culture at the same time youthful use of spirits became as popular as
what ever the latest fad might be.

In the 1930s, I am told there was an old country song. Some of the
lyrics went something like this:

"I saw a wreck on the highway
Whiskey and blood ran together
But I didn't hear nobody pray.
Dear brother, I didn't hear nobody pray."

It's time to start praying.

Some day, the carnage must stop.

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Letter from the Editor

By Steve Patterson
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Well, I have to eat a little humble pie. After being asked to act as a judge in last week's Cherry Pie Auction, I bragged in this space that I do know my pies. I felt a great burden upon my shoulders as I drove out to KLBO last Friday.
First, out of a sense of decorum, I decided against wearing my official pie-eating shirt. I did not want to intimidate my fellow judges by wearing - what I consider to be -a badge of honor dedicated to pies past. Across the breast of this shirt can be found the stains of hundreds of blueberries, cherries, peaches, pecans and apricots. As all serious pie eaters know, apple pies don't really leave an honorable stain unless they have too much cinna mon.
Secondly, I was burdened by the task of how I was going to cram my lifetime of pie knowledge into the souls of my two fellow judges, Dr. Judith Moss and TU's Kevin "Sparky" Slay. Little did I realize that I was going to be entering the arena with two of piedom's greatest critics.
I knew I was way out of my league when I entered the radio station and found Kevin and Judith engaged in a heated debate over - I think I've got this right - "The Sociological and Political Impact Of The Introduction of Commercially Canned Cherries In American Pies Of The Early 19th Century." The argument ended on a friendly note when we were told it was time to begin the judging.
Trying to make me feel at ease, Judith started "dumbing down" for my benefit by naming the seven shades of brown which could be found in the crust of a common pie. Although she was explaining what was obviously elementary material (I gathered this by the way Kevin rolled his eyes at my questions), Judith lost me when she entered an eloquent discourse on the evolution
of pie crusts into "our current renascence of American heritage criss-cross crusts."
At this point Kevin started jabbing his fork in the air screaming, "We all know, Judith, that there have been no crusts to equal the flakiness of those early post-WWII pies after the end of flour rationing, and furthermore..."
So it went.
I tried unsuccessfully to hide my novice ranking by quietly tasting the pies spread before us. As I reached pie Number 7 - out of a total of 21 - I noticed that Judith was relaxing in the judges' room.
"Aren't you going to test any more of the pies?" I asked in ign orance?
"I'm finished," she said without looking up from her dog-eared copy of "A Field Guide To North, Central and South American Pies."
I estimated it had taken her approximately three and a half minutes to taste 21 pies.
As I approached pie Number 9, I could see a cloud of flying crumbs out of the corner of my eye and heard something to the effect of "Ohhhmygodthisoneissooooogood!"
I turned in time to catch Kevin's sharp elbow to my ribs. As I gasped to catch my breath, I heard a spectator in the room say somet hing to the effect of, "If you wanna play with the big boys..."
To watch Kevin Slay eat pies is like watching a tornado form. Kevin moved with such speed, power and dexterity, that I was awe-struck. I was also stuck with a fork a few times when I got too close to "The Man At Work".
Kevin attacked those pies with such focus that - this is the truth -sparks flew from his fork. It was all the more amazing since we were using plastic forks! Kevin refused to pass judgement on a pie until he had at least three samples. He was digging in for thirds on Number 21 while I was still savoring my first
taste of Number 11. I must say that Kevin is the only man I know who can turn a pie judging into an athletic competition. Judith Moss, on the other hand, could turn it into a two-year post-graduate internship.
I was but a crumb among the upper crust. I have been humbled. I will never again brag about my pie knowledge.
However, I do know my BBQ...

The Cherry Pie Auction brought in between $6,000 and $7,000 this past Saturday. The money will go to The Gleaners food pantry, the Opportunity Workshop and Shoes for the Needy.
The First Place Pie was baked by Judy Greer and brought in $1,500 from five bidders. (I'm here to tell you that Judy's pie is the best pie I have ever tasted. It's good enough to bribe Saint Peter...)
The Second Place Pie was baked by Jean Venters and it brought in $325. The Third Place Pie came from Pat Finley and it brought in $250.
The Community Pie had 20 bidders join forces to bring in $1,165.
The esteemed Dick Hoyer acted as auctioneer with help from Mayor David Cutbirth, Charlie Walker, Curtis Howard and the Rev. David Weyant.
Hal and Patsy Callaway kept the action moving at KLBO. The usually mild-mannered Hal actually stepped forcefully in front of Kevin Slay to prevent him from helping himself to fourths.

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Copyright 1997 by Ward Newspapers, Inc.
107 W. Second St., Monahans TX 79756
Phone 915-943-4313, FAX 915-943-4314

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