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April 16, 1997

Monahan's Well

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By Jerry Curry

12:01 a.m., Wednesday, April 16.
The wind howls and the window panes move as I stumble over the weights
and crash into the torture machine alleged to be on the cutting edge of
the technology of keeping fit. It is dark. I curse softly as I reach for
my bruised toes and rub them. It truly is dark. My toes hurt. But
nothing can stop me on this quest.
12:01 a.m., Wednesday, April 16.
Somewhere over there in the corner is the telephone. It is white.
Because of its whiteness it reflects light and seems to glow in the
corner. Perhaps the Holy Grail looked like this to Galahad. Perhaps? Not
I plunge onward, oblivious to the pain in my toes and the handlebars of
the torture machine catch me below the ribs and I recoil. But nothing
will stop me now. Ahead is the telephone. Ahead is the final step on my
12:01 a.m., Wednesday, April 16.
My hand reaches out for the telephone. I clutch it. I drop it. I grab
for it attempting to sit down at the same time in the chair I know is
there. The chair is not there. Did I mention it was dark? Did I mention
the only thing I could see was the spectral telephone which I now had
dropped but it was laying on the floor beside me where I am now sitting
having made an unscheduled journey derriere down to the floor.
12:01 a.m., Wednesday, April 16.
My palms are clammy. I focus. I have the telephone to my ear. I am going
to call Odessa. At this moment, I am going to call Odessa and it will be
a local telephone call for which I will not have to pay long distance
charges. Of course, I will have to pay an extra $3.50 a month on my
residential telephone bill. If I am going to have to pay extra bucks for
the right to make Odessa a local call, then I am going to get my money's
worth. I start now a minute after midnight on O-Day (Odessa Day). I am
going to have to pay more than 40 bucksa year for this privilege. If I
pay for it, I am calling Odessa.
"Are you out of your mind?," screams a voice that already knows the
answer to the question being hurled through the darkness. "Have you
broken something? Are you crazy? What are you doing in there after
midnight banging stuff around?"
I mumble: "I am calling Odessa."
"What? Stop mumbling." comes the disembodied voice in the darkness.
I scream: "I am calling Odessa! Now, are you satisfied? I am calling
Odessa! So there!"
Then I mumble: "I think I broke my toes. My toes really hurt. Why are
there weights in the middle of this floor?"
12:01 a.m, Wednesday, April 16.
"You're screaming too loud. No body can understand that," says the
disembodied voice. "What did you say?"
Calmly forcefully, I speak into the darkness from my impromptu seat on
the floor: "I am going to call Odessa. I am going to call Odessa from
right here in Monahans and I am not going to dial the area code."
Replies the voice from the darkness, calmly, softly, as you might talk
to an errant child: "You don't know anyone in Odessa."
I begin to sob.

Letter from the editor:

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By Steve Patterson

It's an old joke, but it's worth retelling.
An official in Fidel Castro's government and a mid-level bureaucrat
from the U.S. State Department decided to go out for drinks in Communist
Havana. After a couple of rum punches, the conversation finally rolled
around to politics.
"What? Just name me one thing that makes the U.S. so much better than
Cuba," the Cuban diplomat demanded of his counterpart.
"Well, just off the top of my head, we have freedom of speech," the
American said, before reaching for his drink.
"How so?" the Cuban implored, feigning interest in the Yanqui argument.
"Let's just say," the American started, "That I walk out in front of
the nation's capitol and scream at the top of my lungs `Out with Bill
Clinton!'... nothing would happen to me. That's what I'm talking about."
The Cuban sipped his drink stoically before responding, "My American
friend, I can do the same thing."
"What?!" the American responded. "We both know Fidel would throw you
in jail!"
The Cuban laughed. "My friend, I assure you that if I walked out in
front of my nation's capitol and screamed, `Out with Bill Clinton!'
nothing would happen."
I said it was an old joke, but I wasn't about to tell you it was bad.
John Paul Jones exercised his freedom of speech at the Monday morning
meeting of the Ward County Commissioner Court. He said a few things I
agreed with, and he said a few things I didn't agree with... but most
importantly, he said these things in an open meeting where he knew they
would become a matter of public record. That my fellow taxpayers is an
example of (big D) Democracy in action.
Yes, Mr. Jones took this newspaper to task, just as he took the county
and city governments to task.
I listened. I considered what he said. Mr. Jones - and others of those
of you who know me - realize my door is open to civil discourse in the
public arena. This little, bitty newspaper out here in the middle of
West Texas is a gift of Democracy.

I salute John Paul Jones for having the impetus to stand in front of
the democratic process and exercise his rights as a citizen. I believe
we need more taxpayers in Ward County, the State of Texas and the U.S
who will do the same.
Civil discourse in the public arena - or debate if your will - is what
greases the wheels of Democracy.
But, when it comes to criticism of the local media coverage of things,
I must take exception, sir...
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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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