THE WRITER PEOPLE LOVE TO HATE

During the past 30 years, the News’ Dick West has protected a few friends and made a lot of enemies.

What is it that draws them.to the undrinkable sea? Some primordial instinct? Some memory of a gilled Genesis that gives them kinship with the tides? Or is it simply escape from the grim about the mouth and the damp, drizzly Novembers in the soul that inlanders are heir to? Whatever, let time and circumstance permit and like Ishmael they make for the coast, Betsy getting a head start out of Highland Park in her white whale of a Cadillac, while Dick battens down his hatches at the Dallas Morning News.

By the time Southwest Airlines flies him into Harlingen, Betsy has bunked them into a condominium on South Padre just out of Port Isabel. She ferries him across to the island, where for weeks they burrow in the sand and the mild Scorpio sun. They read and drink and talk and take What is it that draws them.to the undrinkable sea? Some primordial instinct? Some memory of a gilled Genesis that gives them kinship with the tides? Or is it simply escape from the grim about the mouth and the damp, drizzly Novembers in the soul that inlanders are heir to? Whatever, let time and circumstance permit and like Ishmael they make for the coast, Betsy getting a head start out of Highland Park in her white whale of a Cadillac, while Dick battens down his hatches at the Dallas Morning News.

By the time Southwest Airlines flies him into Harlingen, Betsy has bunked them into a condominium on South Padre just out of Port Isabel. She ferries him across to the island, where for weeks they burrow in the sand and the mild Scorpio sun. They read and drink and talk and take long walks upon the beach until their bodies are as caramel as Karankawas. Inside the compound that faces the Gulf and the gliding gulls, they are as symbi-otically one as a good marriage of 37 years can make a highly individual man and woman.

But upon the beach they are as opposite in their natures and pursuits as Melville’s chief mate and captain aboard The Pequod. Betsy is Starbuck; she wanders north away from the islanders and tourists in search of solitude and sea-shells. A beach is for bumming and easy communion with healing salt and spongy seascape. In this she is mockingly mutinous of her mate. For he does not leave behind that which posesses him on the mainland.

Dick West’s passion is politics and polemics – on Padre or back in Dallas on the editorial page of the News. He is Ahab, long walks upon the beach until their bodies are as caramel as Karankawas. Inside the compound that faces the Gulf and the gliding gulls, they are as symbi-otically one as a good marriage of 37 years can make a highly individual man and woman.

But upon the beach they are as opposite in their natures and pursuits as Melville’s chief mate and captain aboard The Pequod. Betsy is Starbuck; she wanders north away from the islanders and tourists in search of solitude and sea-shells. A beach is for bumming and easy communion with healing salt and spongy seascape. In this she is mockingly mutinous of her mate. For he does not leave behind that which posesses him on the mainland.

Dick West’s passion is politics and polemics – on Padre or back in Dallas on the editorial page of the News. He is Ahab, angry at the Moby Dicks that would sink the great ship of state that is America. So he sets his compass South, toward the crowd and all manner of men who come down to the water, and beseeches of them their thinking on the woes of the Republic. He comes upon a fisherman, a hearty out of San Antonio named Kelly. “What do you think of Carter?”

“Well,” Kelly says, “wish you hadn’t asked me that. To be generous I’d say he wants to do the right thing but doesn’t know how.”

Dick West nods in agreement, espeangry at the Moby Dicks that would sink the great ship of state that is America. So he sets his compass South, toward the crowd and all manner of men who come down to the water, and beseeches of them their thinking on the woes of the Republic. He comes upon a fisherman, a hearty out of San Antonio named Kelly. “What do you think of Carter?”

“Well,” Kelly says, “wish you hadn’t asked me that. To be generous I’d say he wants to do the right thing but doesn’t know how.”

Dick West nods in agreement, especially about the latter. He walks on down the beach a tall, troubled man. What is to become of the country? Can Connally stop Carter? He has pondered such questions for most of his professional life. The thing that vexes him now, in a deeply personal way, is that as the year draws to a close, so does his career as the conservative conscience of Texas. At 65, Charles Richard West II is retiring as the editorial director of the Dallas Morning News.



In these times, editorial writers are almost as obscure as poets and professors of Latin and Greek. A reporter can get a byline for rewriting a press release, but an editorial writer rarely gets to sign his work. He can crawl out occasionally with a personal column, but mostly he is a chameleon who blends himself into a single and consistent editorial voice, which represents the institution rather than the individual.

Dick West has escaped that anonymity, cially about the latter. He walks on down the beach a tall, troubled man. What is to become of the country? Can Connally stop Carter? He has pondered such questions for most of his professional life. The thing that vexes him now, in a deeply personal way, is that as the year draws to a close, so does his career as the conservative conscience of Texas. At 65, Charles Richard West II is retiring as the editorial director of the Dallas Morning News.



In these times, editorial writers are almost as obscure as poets and professors of Latin and Greek. A reporter can get a byline for rewriting a press release, but an editorial writer rarely gets to sign his work. He can crawl out occasionally with a personal column, but mostly he is a chameleon who blends himself into a single and consistent editorial voice, which represents the institution rather than the individual.

Dick West has escaped that anonymity, at least in name. He is loved and hated by people who wouldn’t recognize him if they sat beside him in a -two-hole outhouse. Part of it is because of his switchblade skill with words when he is lacerating liberals. Part of it is because he ran an editorial page that became, for a brief and terrible time, the most hated and maligned voice in America.

All that is past now. Passions have subsided. The assassinations and civil disorders which followed the death of the President in Dallas made Americans realize that political violence was not endemic to Dallas, but epidemic across America. A left-winger killed the liberal president and a conservative newspaper was blamed. If the News was intemperate in its editorials – and to this day Dick West does not believe it was – then let him who was not hoarse cast the first stone. Tempers cooled and life and its institutions went on. America matured at least in name. He is loved and hated by people who wouldn’t recognize him if they sat beside him in a -two-hole outhouse. Part of it is because of his switchblade skill with words when he is lacerating liberals. Part of it is because he ran an editorial page that became, for a brief and terrible time, the most hated and maligned voice in America.

All that is past now. Passions have subsided. The assassinations and civil disorders which followed the death of the President in Dallas made Americans realize that political violence was not endemic to Dallas, but epidemic across America. A left-winger killed the liberal president and a conservative newspaper was blamed. If the News was intemperate in its editorials – and to this day Dick West does not believe it was – then let him who was not hoarse cast the first stone. Tempers cooled and life and its institutions went on. America matured and Dick West and the News mellowed.



The News without West? It doesn’t seem right. Just as it is still odd, though Paul Crume has been in his grave two years, to pore over the front page and not find his column there. He was, as Frank Tolbert put it, peerless. And now we hear that Tolbert too is pulling back, that come 1978 the prodigious storyteller will be writing but one column a week. For some time the same has been true of that elegant dean of Texas letters, Lon Tinkle. The News is an august institution, much older and more monolithic than the Dallas Cowboys, and in the turning of time the whole of its gray voice is greater than the parts played by individuals. The paper I must compare to that most conservative of composers, Puccini, who allowed the individual voice a moment of seeming triumph, only to withdraw this ascendancy from the individual and Dick West and the News mellowed.



The News without West? It doesn’t seem right. Just as it is still odd, though Paul Crume has been in his grave two years, to pore over the front page and not find his column there. He was, as Frank Tolbert put it, peerless. And now we hear that Tolbert too is pulling back, that come 1978 the prodigious storyteller will be writing but one column a week. For some time the same has been true of that elegant dean of Texas letters, Lon Tinkle. The News is an august institution, much older and more monolithic than the Dallas Cowboys, and in the turning of time the whole of its gray voice is greater than the parts played by individuals. The paper I must compare to that most conservative of composers, Puccini, who allowed the individual voice a moment of seeming triumph, only to withdraw this ascendancy from the individual virtuoso and invest it finally in the orchestra.

Crume, Tinkle, Tolbert and West – that quartet of talents most memorable in our time – are, ultimately, but passing bylines in the long history of the News. We remember John Rosenfield, the great arts critic, because he was more recent. And maybe we remember the feisty William B. Ruggles, who ran the editorial page just before West. But who remembers Lynn Landrum, the finest stylist who ever wrote politics for the News? Or Joe J. Taylor, the southern gentleman in seersucker and straw hat who wrote with the flow of a Russian novelist? Or George White, the sportswriter who was as Ruthian in his prose as the Babe was at bat?

A tradition is at work here that contemporary readers may not realize. The News is not faddish and it has never been. The root that George Bannerman Dealey virtuoso and invest it finally in the orchestra.

Crume, Tinkle, Tolbert and West – that quartet of talents most memorable in our time – are, ultimately, but passing bylines in the long history of the News. We remember John Rosenfield, the great arts critic, because he was more recent. And maybe we remember the feisty William B. Ruggles, who ran the editorial page just before West. But who remembers Lynn Landrum, the finest stylist who ever wrote politics for the News? Or Joe J. Taylor, the southern gentleman in seersucker and straw hat who wrote with the flow of a Russian novelist? Or George White, the sportswriter who was as Ruthian in his prose as the Babe was at bat?

A tradition is at work here that contemporary readers may not realize. The News is not faddish and it has never been. The root that George Bannerman Dealey nourished is a great old tree now. Some will say that in the span of its branches it shuts out the sun, that it casts more darkness than light upon the passing scene, that it is time the old owls who hoot in its foliage furl their feathers and step down.

And of course those who would hunt the hoary Strigiformes have for years had it in for the greatest horned owl of them all, Dick West. There was something mythic about him, removed as he was from the city room and the fraternal haunts of other journalists. I must admit that from such a distance, a disjunction not only of person but of philosophy, I tended to think of him in dark and even fanciful terms. I saw him as an old nocturnal bird of prey, with disked eyes of such peculiar size and luminance that they gave him an aspect of studious intelligence. Of course he was an owl, a symbol of wisdom, but owls see better in partial darkness, and truth to tell they nourished is a great old tree now. Some will say that in the span of its branches it shuts out the sun, that it casts more darkness than light upon the passing scene, that it is time the old owls who hoot in its foliage furl their feathers and step down.

And of course those who would hunt the hoary Strigiformes have for years had it in for the greatest horned owl of them all, Dick West. There was something mythic about him, removed as he was from the city room and the fraternal haunts of other journalists. I must admit that from such a distance, a disjunction not only of person but of philosophy, I tended to think of him in dark and even fanciful terms. I saw him as an old nocturnal bird of prey, with disked eyes of such peculiar size and luminance that they gave him an aspect of studious intelligence. Of course he was an owl, a symbol of wisdom, but owls see better in partial darkness, and truth to tell they spend the day sleeping in caves, trees and other secluded places such as the editorial floor of the News. And this petrel, this nightmarish Jabberwock, fed on rodents, toads, lizards and liberals!

So it was with some trepidation, though not enough to thwart my curiosity, that I approached him on the eve of his retirement. I expected to find him in the boughs of the Belo bastion off Dealey Plaza. But the old bird had flown the coop. He had spend the day sleeping in caves, trees and other secluded places such as the editorial floor of the News. And this petrel, this nightmarish Jabberwock, fed on rodents, toads, lizards and liberals!

So it was with some trepidation, though not enough to thwart my curiosity, that I approached him on the eve of his retirement. I expected to find him in the boughs of the Belo bastion off Dealey Plaza. But the old bird had flown the coop. He had gone south for the winter.

On the phone, Dick West did not bite my head off. He was very cordial. “Come on down to South Padre,” he said. “You’ll love it here. Betsy will ply us with fresh fish and shrimp. The cabinet’s full of booze, and hell, I’ll talk till the tide goes out.”



We walked upon the beach for the photographer. He was like a beaked owl or a bald eagle, plucked of his feather, long and naked and yet not ungainly. A tall man always looks a little majestic to his short companion. He was very open and direct. His voice was deep with just a sharp and flat of West Texas in it.

“Dick, are you looking forward to retirement?”

“Hell no, I dread it, to tell the truth. I’ve put so much of my life into that newspaper, almost 43 years. But mandatory retirement is a policy I can understand. gone south for the winter.

On the phone, Dick West did not bite my head off. He was very cordial. “Come on down to South Padre,” he said. “You’ll love it here. Betsy will ply us with fresh fish and shrimp. The cabinet’s full of booze, and hell, I’ll talk till the tide goes out.”



We walked upon the beach for the photographer. He was like a beaked owl or a bald eagle, plucked of his feather, long and naked and yet not ungainly. A tall man always looks a little majestic to his short companion. He was very open and direct. His voice was deep with just a sharp and flat of West Texas in it.

“Dick, are you looking forward to retirement?”

“Hell no, I dread it, to tell the truth. I’ve put so much of my life into that newspaper, almost 43 years. But mandatory retirement is a policy I can understand. An executive at the News has five years to groom his successor, and Jim Wright will work out fine. So it’s no surprise. I ought to be ready for it but I’m not, not really. I’m welcome to do a column now and then and I’ll have more time to fool with my garden, but 1 don’t know. I just don’t know.”

After the photographers left, Dick and I sat talking while Betsy filled our glasses and made nachos. The La Play a Apartments are on the beach, and from the Wests’ second-story flat you could see the waves build and break upon the shore. Betsy Page West is a high-spirited woman and she joined the conversation at will while whipping up an unending stream of drinks and delicacies.

They talked warmly of their three sons. Richard, the oldest, is a senior editor and writer for Texas Monthly. His mother wishes he would remarry and settle down. His father admires Richard’s emergence as a star journalist, but you get the idea An executive at the News has five years to groom his successor, and Jim Wright will work out fine. So it’s no surprise. I ought to be ready for it but I’m not, not really. I’m welcome to do a column now and then and I’ll have more time to fool with my garden, but 1 don’t know. I just don’t know.”

After the photographers left, Dick and I sat talking while Betsy filled our glasses and made nachos. The La Play a Apartments are on the beach, and from the Wests’ second-story flat you could see the waves build and break upon the shore. Betsy Page West is a high-spirited woman and she joined the conversation at will while whipping up an unending stream of drinks and delicacies.

They talked warmly of their three sons. Richard, the oldest, is a senior editor and writer for Texas Monthly. His mother wishes he would remarry and settle down. His father admires Richard’s emergence as a star journalist, but you get the idea the old man thinks that Richard may be a little too left of center in his friends and lifestyle. But maybe that’s not right. Dick West is tolerant and loving in his personal relationships. Betsy said the sons adore him. Elliott is a professor of American history at the University of Texas at Arlington. For years Dick West held the highest grade average for a journalism graduate at the University of Texas in Austin. The student who erased him from the record book was Elliott, who later turned historian – to Richard’s relief. George, the youngest, is with Texas Utilities, Inc., and bent on an executive career. The boys grew up in the comfort and security of Highland Park. Their old man wasn’t rich but he had the status and respect that came with being a successful journalist. It did not come easy.

“I was a child of the Depression,” Dick said. “Since then most of us have the old man thinks that Richard may be a little too left of center in his friends and lifestyle. But maybe that’s not right. Dick West is tolerant and loving in his personal relationships. Betsy said the sons adore him. Elliott is a professor of American history at the University of Texas at Arlington. For years Dick West held the highest grade average for a journalism graduate at the University of Texas in Austin. The student who erased him from the record book was Elliott, who later turned historian – to Richard’s relief. George, the youngest, is with Texas Utilities, Inc., and bent on an executive career. The boys grew up in the comfort and security of Highland Park. Their old man wasn’t rich but he had the status and respect that came with being a successful journalist. It did not come easy.

“I was a child of the Depression,” Dick said. “Since then most of us have grown up in an inflated period when jobs are pretty easy and we get a raise every year. It has got to stop sometime, this plenty, and then we’re really going to have to tighten our belts and test our character.”

Dick West has never been a drifter. He got with the Dealeys and stayed with them. Loyalty and longevity are long suits and West played it that way on purpose, probably, he says, out of reaction to his father’s moving around.

“Father always had the itch,” he recalled. “He never stayed with anything long enough to establish himself. He was a tall, slender Kentuckian, a gifted man who had debated as a school boy with Alben Barkley. Barkley rose to become Vice President of the United States while my father became a jack-of-all-trades. He played baseball in the minor leagues. He ran a department store in Cleburne, Texas, where I was born on September 14, 1912. Then he sold automobiles when they first came out. We moved to West grown up in an inflated period when jobs are pretty easy and we get a raise every year. It has got to stop sometime, this plenty, and then we’re really going to have to tighten our belts and test our character.”

Dick West has never been a drifter. He got with the Dealeys and stayed with them. Loyalty and longevity are long suits and West played it that way on purpose, probably, he says, out of reaction to his father’s moving around.

“Father always had the itch,” he recalled. “He never stayed with anything long enough to establish himself. He was a tall, slender Kentuckian, a gifted man who had debated as a school boy with Alben Barkley. Barkley rose to become Vice President of the United States while my father became a jack-of-all-trades. He played baseball in the minor leagues. He ran a department store in Cleburne, Texas, where I was born on September 14, 1912. Then he sold automobiles when they first came out. We moved to West Texas and Cisco in 1925, where my father ran a dry goods store before the Depression ruined him. Then he sold life insurance until the day he died.

“But he was a splendid man in spite of it all and a good father. Let me tell you a story to illustrate that. I took up tennis when I was in Cisco. My parents were so strict, we had to go to Sunday School and Church and prayer meetings religiously. We were Campbellites, Disciples of Christ, and you weren’t supposed to play on Sunday.

“Well, here I was, captain of the high school team. I had just won the county tournament and was scheduled to play in the district tournament in Ranger on Saturday. But it rained. It never rains out there but here came a gulley washer. So they postponed it until Sunday. I am faced with a crisis. What am I gonna do? My coach said, “Well, you either forfeit or you lie.’ I worried all night and decided to lie. I got up the next morning and told Mother I was sick and couldn’t go to church. As soon as she and my father got Texas and Cisco in 1925, where my father ran a dry goods store before the Depression ruined him. Then he sold life insurance until the day he died.

“But he was a splendid man in spite of it all and a good father. Let me tell you a story to illustrate that. I took up tennis when I was in Cisco. My parents were so strict, we had to go to Sunday School and Church and prayer meetings religiously. We were Campbellites, Disciples of Christ, and you weren’t supposed to play on Sunday.

“Well, here I was, captain of the high school team. I had just won the county tournament and was scheduled to play in the district tournament in Ranger on Saturday. But it rained. It never rains out there but here came a gulley washer. So they postponed it until Sunday. I am faced with a crisis. What am I gonna do? My coach said, “Well, you either forfeit or you lie.’ I worried all night and decided to lie. I got up the next morning and told Mother I was sick and couldn’t go to church. As soon as she and my father got in the old Studebaker and headed for church I pulled on my white flannels. The coach picked me up and I went on to play in Ranger. I won.

“Dad was waiting on the front porch when we returned. He had a board in his hand as big as a bed slat. Oh, what a great guy he was, had a lot of psychology in raising a boy. He chased me up and down those hills, ripping at my butt with that board, until I fell. He reached down and picked me up in his arms. He said, ’Did you win, Boy?”

” ’Yes, Father, I won.”

” ’Good boy! Good boy!’ “



West did well at the University of Texas, to which he transferred after a year at Randolph Junior College in Cisco. He was chief editorial writer for the Daily Texan and later night editor. As a teaching assistant working on a master’s, he lectured and graded papers. In 1934, he was the university’s nominee for Rhodes Scholar. A man he in the old Studebaker and headed for church I pulled on my white flannels. The coach picked me up and I went on to play in Ranger. I won.

“Dad was waiting on the front porch when we returned. He had a board in his hand as big as a bed slat. Oh, what a great guy he was, had a lot of psychology in raising a boy. He chased me up and down those hills, ripping at my butt with that board, until I fell. He reached down and picked me up in his arms. He said, ’Did you win, Boy?”

” ’Yes, Father, I won.”

” ’Good boy! Good boy!’ “



West did well at the University of Texas, to which he transferred after a year at Randolph Junior College in Cisco. He was chief editorial writer for the Daily Texan and later night editor. As a teaching assistant working on a master’s, he lectured and graded papers. In 1934, he was the university’s nominee for Rhodes Scholar. A man he would come to admire was on campus. His name was John Connally. West, who was called “Rural” because he was from the country, made some important friends in the Phi Delta Theta fraternity. His best friend was Ben Decherd, the grandson of George Bannerman Dealey. Joe Dealey, Ted Dealey and Al Dealey all were Phi Delts.

Thus it came to pass that on Easter Sunday of 1935, Dick West found himself in Dallas, being introduced to the grand old man as a likely prospect for employment. At that time G. B. Dealey had the afternoon Journal as well as the Morning News, printing forth the word from Commerce at Lamar. Dealey was in the ripest resonance of his character, a strikingly handsome man of 76 with a white mustache. He still had 11 years of life left in him and he had a good thing going, especially in the News.

The paper had taken on the Klan in the Twenties, showing idealism and courage in the face of 9,000 cancellations by subwould come to admire was on campus. His name was John Connally. West, who was called “Rural” because he was from the country, made some important friends in the Phi Delta Theta fraternity. His best friend was Ben Decherd, the grandson of George Bannerman Dealey. Joe Dealey, Ted Dealey and Al Dealey all were Phi Delts.

Thus it came to pass that on Easter Sunday of 1935, Dick West found himself in Dallas, being introduced to the grand old man as a likely prospect for employment. At that time G. B. Dealey had the afternoon Journal as well as the Morning News, printing forth the word from Commerce at Lamar. Dealey was in the ripest resonance of his character, a strikingly handsome man of 76 with a white mustache. He still had 11 years of life left in him and he had a good thing going, especially in the News.

The paper had taken on the Klan in the Twenties, showing idealism and courage in the face of 9,000 cancellations by subscnbers. Its editorial position was moderately New Deal, having supported Roosevelt in 1932. This was in no way a problem for the nervous young man from Cisco who stood before the publisher. Dick West idolized FDR. He was, after all, a child of the Depression. He had grown up reading and loving the News, especially the “Old Man Texas” cartoons by John Knott. Knott’s “Old Man Texas” was a kind of cowboy version of “Uncle Sam,” a stalwart man of the West who was as wary of the right as he was the left. He was tough and practical, manfully independent. In fact he looked like G. B. Dealey in a ten-gallon hat.

So Dick West stood before the old man with Ted Dealey, G. B.’s son, and grand-son, Ben Decherd, watching. The old man pulled a Webster’s cigar from his vest and offered it to West. Dick declined, saying he did not smoke.

scnbers. Its editorial position was moderately New Deal, having supported Roosevelt in 1932. This was in no way a problem for the nervous young man from Cisco who stood before the publisher. Dick West idolized FDR. He was, after all, a child of the Depression. He had grown up reading and loving the News, especially the “Old Man Texas” cartoons by John Knott. Knott’s “Old Man Texas” was a kind of cowboy version of “Uncle Sam,” a stalwart man of the West who was as wary of the right as he was the left. He was tough and practical, manfully independent. In fact he looked like G. B. Dealey in a ten-gallon hat.

So Dick West stood before the old man with Ted Dealey, G. B.’s son, and grand-son, Ben Decherd, watching. The old man pulled a Webster’s cigar from his vest and offered it to West. Dick declined, saying he did not smoke.

“Well if you ever start,” the old man advised, “don’t smoke cigarettes. Look at Ted sucking those things through his nose.”

Dick was hired as a cub reporter at $15.40 a week. “You start June 10,” the old man declared. “Report to our Mr. Withers [Harry Withers, managing editor of the Journal]. Be there at 6:45 in the morning.”

As Dick left, Mr. Dealey stopped him. “By the way,” he said, “Don’t expect a byline right away. That will come with time.”

The cub rented a room from a widow who had a duplex on Rosedale near the Southern Methodist University campus. The street car fare from SMU to the newspaper was seven cents. He had breakfast at Woolworth’s for 11 cents. That first morning, Withers sent him to Bill Truax, the city editor of the Journal. Truax did not say hello, he did not get up, he did not shake hands. He just kept writing assignments. At last, he looked up and West began reciting his credentials: honor student, Rhodes Scholar Nominee, master’s degree.

Truax exploded. “Now what the god”Well if you ever start,” the old man advised, “don’t smoke cigarettes. Look at Ted sucking those things through his nose.”

Dick was hired as a cub reporter at $15.40 a week. “You start June 10,” the old man declared. “Report to our Mr. Withers [Harry Withers, managing editor of the Journal]. Be there at 6:45 in the morning.”

As Dick left, Mr. Dealey stopped him. “By the way,” he said, “Don’t expect a byline right away. That will come with time.”

The cub rented a room from a widow who had a duplex on Rosedale near the Southern Methodist University campus. The street car fare from SMU to the newspaper was seven cents. He had breakfast at Woolworth’s for 11 cents. That first morning, Withers sent him to Bill Truax, the city editor of the Journal. Truax did not say hello, he did not get up, he did not shake hands. He just kept writing assignments. At last, he looked up and West began reciting his credentials: honor student, Rhodes Scholar Nominee, master’s degree.

Truax exploded. “Now what the goddamn hell am I going to do with a master’s degree?”

Dick was dumbstruck.

“Look,” Truax said, “You see that guy over there? That’s Elgin Crull. You follow him around.”

Crull was the senior reporter for the Journal. He covered city hall so long that he later became city manager of Dallas. He died last year. Truax is still around.

Young West covered police, the court-house and general assignments. In 1937 he was transferred to the editorial floor where he worked on the business page and the Texas Almanac under Stuart M. McGregor. Shortly thereafter the Journal was sold. G. B. Dealey called in Frank King, head of the Associated Press Bureau, and urged him to take on West. “I want Dick on our editorial staff,” Dealey said, “but first I want you to take him and give him some more seasoning.” Dick joined AP and filed the wire, covered Southwest Conference football with Felix McKnight, Jack Krueger, Ledger-wood Sloan and Bill Rives. He returned to the Dealey enterprise in 1943, covering damn hell am I going to do with a master’s degree?”

Dick was dumbstruck.

“Look,” Truax said, “You see that guy over there? That’s Elgin Crull. You follow him around.”

Crull was the senior reporter for the Journal. He covered city hall so long that he later became city manager of Dallas. He died last year. Truax is still around.

Young West covered police, the court-house and general assignments. In 1937 he was transferred to the editorial floor where he worked on the business page and the Texas Almanac under Stuart M. McGregor. Shortly thereafter the Journal was sold. G. B. Dealey called in Frank King, head of the Associated Press Bureau, and urged him to take on West. “I want Dick on our editorial staff,” Dealey said, “but first I want you to take him and give him some more seasoning.” Dick joined AP and filed the wire, covered Southwest Conference football with Felix McKnight, Jack Krueger, Ledger-wood Sloan and Bill Rives. He returned to the Dealey enterprise in 1943, covering the courthouse for the News until 1945, when he became, at 33, the youngest editorial writer in the history of the paper.

A year later, G. B. Dealey died, and shortly after that the News moved to its present location on Ferris Plaza at Houston and Young. The newspaper moved more than its physical plant: It shifted its editorial stance. Under G. B. Dealey and his chief editorial writers – Luther Clark and Dr. James Quayle Dealey – the paper had maintained a moderate, civil-libertarian tone. But under Ted Dealey, who succeeded his father as president and publisher, the News took a turn to the courthouse for the News until 1945, when he became, at 33, the youngest editorial writer in the history of the paper.

A year later, G. B. Dealey died, and shortly after that the News moved to its present location on Ferris Plaza at Houston and Young. The newspaper moved more than its physical plant: It shifted its editorial stance. Under G. B. Dealey and his chief editorial writers – Luther Clark and Dr. James Quayle Dealey – the paper had maintained a moderate, civil-libertarian tone. But under Ted Dealey, who succeeded his father as president and publisher, the News took a turn to the right. Even by 1940, G. B. Dealey and his editorial staff could not agree on an endorsement for President. Dealey wanted Roosevelt again and the editorial staff wanted Wendell Willkie. They compromised by remaining neutral, although Dealey admonished them, “Be kind to Mr. Roosevelt.”

William B. Ruggles took over the editorial page for Ted Dealey and directed it until I960, when he retired and left it to Dick West. Under Ruggles, the New Deal became a “Queer Deal.” The News whispered of subversives and security risks and developed what some considered a paranoia in its super-patriotism.

Dick West says of this time: “There was some criticism of the News to the effect that our editorials were too dogmatic, too brutal, too strident. And I the right. Even by 1940, G. B. Dealey and his editorial staff could not agree on an endorsement for President. Dealey wanted Roosevelt again and the editorial staff wanted Wendell Willkie. They compromised by remaining neutral, although Dealey admonished them, “Be kind to Mr. Roosevelt.”

William B. Ruggles took over the editorial page for Ted Dealey and directed it until I960, when he retired and left it to Dick West. Under Ruggles, the New Deal became a “Queer Deal.” The News whispered of subversives and security risks and developed what some considered a paranoia in its super-patriotism.

Dick West says of this time: “There was some criticism of the News to the effect that our editorials were too dogmatic, too brutal, too strident. And I felt that in the early Fifties, during the McCarthy era, that perhaps we had gone too far to the right. I was not calling the shots then, but I was a part of the staff and I thought we needed to move more toward the middle. At least, to see the other side a little. In those days, you were either a right-winger or a left-winger. There was no middle.

“I had gradually become a conservative, and was influenced by my elders, men such as Ruggles and McGregor and Lynn Landrum. They were scholars. Ruggles read one book a night, still does at the age of 81. His comprehension and retention were almost complete. Landrum was a great stylist, a brilliant thinker, but you could not. change his mind once he made it up. He had a great gift for labeling people. He nicknamed Pappy Lee O’Daniel the inchworm.”

West insists that it is the political process rather than ideology which fascinates him. People who read Dick West as an inflexible reactionary may scoff at this, but those who know him agree that he is accurate in his confession. He loves politifelt that in the early Fifties, during the McCarthy era, that perhaps we had gone too far to the right. I was not calling the shots then, but I was a part of the staff and I thought we needed to move more toward the middle. At least, to see the other side a little. In those days, you were either a right-winger or a left-winger. There was no middle.

“I had gradually become a conservative, and was influenced by my elders, men such as Ruggles and McGregor and Lynn Landrum. They were scholars. Ruggles read one book a night, still does at the age of 81. His comprehension and retention were almost complete. Landrum was a great stylist, a brilliant thinker, but you could not. change his mind once he made it up. He had a great gift for labeling people. He nicknamed Pappy Lee O’Daniel the inchworm.”

West insists that it is the political process rather than ideology which fascinates him. People who read Dick West as an inflexible reactionary may scoff at this, but those who know him agree that he is accurate in his confession. He loves politicians, especially the smart and successful ones. He relishes their companion-ship and the play of personalities and power. A man who can range in his admiration from FDR to John Connally is not an ideological purist.

What he is, it seems, is a social and political Darwinist who believes that the strong survive and expresses a Machiavellian appreciation of their prowess. As early as 1938, when he was a 26-year-old reporter, he could root for Bill McGraw and still marvel at the way W. Lee O’Daniel darkhorsed his way to the governor’s mansion. He told this story:

“That ’38 race for governor was the first to whet my appetite for politics. There were other candidates, but it got down to a horserace between Pappy and Bill McGraw, the attorney general. Phil Fox of Watson Associates was a genius at grabbing a candidate and making a wincians, especially the smart and successful ones. He relishes their companion-ship and the play of personalities and power. A man who can range in his admiration from FDR to John Connally is not an ideological purist.

What he is, it seems, is a social and political Darwinist who believes that the strong survive and expresses a Machiavellian appreciation of their prowess. As early as 1938, when he was a 26-year-old reporter, he could root for Bill McGraw and still marvel at the way W. Lee O’Daniel darkhorsed his way to the governor’s mansion. He told this story:

“That ’38 race for governor was the first to whet my appetite for politics. There were other candidates, but it got down to a horserace between Pappy and Bill McGraw, the attorney general. Phil Fox of Watson Associates was a genius at grabbing a candidate and making a winner out of him. He was in Pappy’s corner. McGraw found something he thought would kill Pappy. The flour salesman hadn’t paid his poll tax. McGraw let this out to the press. McGraw asked me to go with him to an O’Daniel rally in Waxa-hachie. Six thousand people were around the square in old wagons and Model T’s.

“McGraw had a heckler stationed in the audience. He shouted, ’Pappy, why didn’t you pay your poll tax?’ Well, Phil Fox had Pappy primed. ’I’m glad you asked that question,’ Pappy said, rising to the occasion. ’Back in February when I was supposed to pay it, I took one look at all these candidates running for governor and I decided they weren’t worth a dollar and seventy-five cents.’

“The crowd went wild. McGraw looked at me and said, ’Dick, we’re beat.”

“Pappy turned to the leader of the Lightcrust Doughboys and said, ’Play, Leon.’ And they played “The Old Rugged ner out of him. He was in Pappy’s corner. McGraw found something he thought would kill Pappy. The flour salesman hadn’t paid his poll tax. McGraw let this out to the press. McGraw asked me to go with him to an O’Daniel rally in Waxa-hachie. Six thousand people were around the square in old wagons and Model T’s.

“McGraw had a heckler stationed in the audience. He shouted, ’Pappy, why didn’t you pay your poll tax?’ Well, Phil Fox had Pappy primed. ’I’m glad you asked that question,’ Pappy said, rising to the occasion. ’Back in February when I was supposed to pay it, I took one look at all these candidates running for governor and I decided they weren’t worth a dollar and seventy-five cents.’

“The crowd went wild. McGraw looked at me and said, ’Dick, we’re beat.”

“Pappy turned to the leader of the Lightcrust Doughboys and said, ’Play, Leon.’ And they played “The Old Rugged Cross.’”

When West, at the age of 48, took over the editorial page of the News, he says he tried to moderate the tone while still maintaining a conservative stance. It must have been difficult with Ted Dealey down the hall as the publisher. Dealey could be an abrasive man. In the fall of 1961, Dealey was among a group of Texas publishers who were having a White House lunch with President Kennedy. Dealey surprised everyone by getting up and reading a statement which charged that JFK and his administration were “weak sisters.” Dealey went on to say what was needed was “a man on horseback to lead this nation, and many people in Texas and the Southwest think that you are riding Caroline’s tricycle.”

Kennedy shot back by saying he was as tough as Dealey and that he didn’t get elected President by making soft decisions. But the mail at the News was overwhelmingly in favor of Dealey and his defiance of the President. The News editorials continued to lambast the Kennedys.

Cross.’”

When West, at the age of 48, took over the editorial page of the News, he says he tried to moderate the tone while still maintaining a conservative stance. It must have been difficult with Ted Dealey down the hall as the publisher. Dealey could be an abrasive man. In the fall of 1961, Dealey was among a group of Texas publishers who were having a White House lunch with President Kennedy. Dealey surprised everyone by getting up and reading a statement which charged that JFK and his administration were “weak sisters.” Dealey went on to say what was needed was “a man on horseback to lead this nation, and many people in Texas and the Southwest think that you are riding Caroline’s tricycle.”

Kennedy shot back by saying he was as tough as Dealey and that he didn’t get elected President by making soft decisions. But the mail at the News was overwhelmingly in favor of Dealey and his defiance of the President. The News editorials continued to lambast the Kennedys.

On the fateful day of November 22, !963, however, the News printed an editorial welcoming the President in a gracious and charming way. This was offset by that new infamous advertisement bordered in black, which ran full page. The ad was placed by right wingers. It asked of the President a dozen rhetorical questions, most of them insinuating that he was soft on communism and left-wingers. In his book. The Death of a President, William Manchester claims that Joe Dealey, the son of the publisher, tried to get his father to cancel the ad, but that Ted Dealey had refused, saying it was not out of line with the paper’s editorial attitude toward the President. Worse things have been published about Presidents, but by sunset that day, with the President slain on the streets of Dallas, it took on a ghastly aspect which was to On the fateful day of November 22, !963, however, the News printed an editorial welcoming the President in a gracious and charming way. This was offset by that new infamous advertisement bordered in black, which ran full page. The ad was placed by right wingers. It asked of the President a dozen rhetorical questions, most of them insinuating that he was soft on communism and left-wingers. In his book. The Death of a President, William Manchester claims that Joe Dealey, the son of the publisher, tried to get his father to cancel the ad, but that Ted Dealey had refused, saying it was not out of line with the paper’s editorial attitude toward the President. Worse things have been published about Presidents, but by sunset that day, with the President slain on the streets of Dallas, it took on a ghastly aspect which was to haunt the News and the city for years.

“We got 45,000 emotional letters raising hell with us,” West recalls. “People got on television and cursed Dallas and the News. After the shock passed, it settled down. But it was an ordeal.”

Later the News would make its peace with Lyndon Johnson, supporting him in 1964. The paper backed Nixon in 1968 and Ford in 1976.

Dick West ranks John Connally as the most compelling politician he has ever met. Lyndon Johnson runs a close second, and then the former Texas governor, Allan Shivers. Ben Barnes is ranked high because of his knowledge of state government. Their weaknesses in West’s judgement? Connally is impatient with the legislative process, Johnson was a poor public speaker. Shivers was a little too patrician, a little too aloof, and Ben Barnes, of course, got his tail in a crack with the Sharpstown scandal.

As for the Presidents in his lifetime, he haunt the News and the city for years.

“We got 45,000 emotional letters raising hell with us,” West recalls. “People got on television and cursed Dallas and the News. After the shock passed, it settled down. But it was an ordeal.”

Later the News would make its peace with Lyndon Johnson, supporting him in 1964. The paper backed Nixon in 1968 and Ford in 1976.

Dick West ranks John Connally as the most compelling politician he has ever met. Lyndon Johnson runs a close second, and then the former Texas governor, Allan Shivers. Ben Barnes is ranked high because of his knowledge of state government. Their weaknesses in West’s judgement? Connally is impatient with the legislative process, Johnson was a poor public speaker. Shivers was a little too patrician, a little too aloof, and Ben Barnes, of course, got his tail in a crack with the Sharpstown scandal.

As for the Presidents in his lifetime, he ranks Franklin Roosevelt as great, Harry Truman as mediocre, Dwight Eisenhower as good, and John Kennedy as a charming martyr who didn’t have time to prove himself. Richard Nixon was making high marks until Watergate, and Gerald Ford was just what the country needed, a nice quiet guy who slowed things down the way Eisenhower did in the Fifties.

Jimmy Carter baffles Dick West. Be-before Carter defeated Ford, West wrote: ” If Carter wins can heaven be far behind? The answer: far, far behind. He promiseth too much; fulfilleth he cannot.” But he likes Billy Carter. He wrote recently that “the small fry of the business world are hoping that a lot of Billy rubs off on Jimmy.’’

Dick West has never been a Woodward or a Bernstein. He tends to defend Presidents rather than bring them down. Jack Kennedy and Jimmy Carter being the exceptions. Like most of us, he is flattered by the attention of those who have power, and certainly he is more forgiving of his friends than his enemies. In 1973, he wrote, “If Nixon is stunned to the point of cynicism you can’t blame ranks Franklin Roosevelt as great, Harry Truman as mediocre, Dwight Eisenhower as good, and John Kennedy as a charming martyr who didn’t have time to prove himself. Richard Nixon was making high marks until Watergate, and Gerald Ford was just what the country needed, a nice quiet guy who slowed things down the way Eisenhower did in the Fifties.

Jimmy Carter baffles Dick West. Be-before Carter defeated Ford, West wrote: ” If Carter wins can heaven be far behind? The answer: far, far behind. He promiseth too much; fulfilleth he cannot.” But he likes Billy Carter. He wrote recently that “the small fry of the business world are hoping that a lot of Billy rubs off on Jimmy.’’

Dick West has never been a Woodward or a Bernstein. He tends to defend Presidents rather than bring them down. Jack Kennedy and Jimmy Carter being the exceptions. Like most of us, he is flattered by the attention of those who have power, and certainly he is more forgiving of his friends than his enemies. In 1973, he wrote, “If Nixon is stunned to the point of cynicism you can’t blame him. While he is struggling to end a jungle war and return his countrymen’s sons home safely, while he is trying to keep employment high and the price of meat low and at the same time persuade the Russians to be good boys and the Red Chinese to stop gobbling up their neighbors, he is suddenly hit with a bizarre burglary that drives everything else off the front page …”

And still later he would write of Nixon: “We Americans take the game of politics seriously, and we tend to judge the players unfairly. We measure a man by his mistakes rather than by his achievements. Do we remember Roosevelt for better hours and higher wages – or as the man who sold us out at Yalta? Do we regard Truman as synonymous with scandal – or as the man who checked the spread of communism?”

While the 37th President was at bay. West wrote that “these are dog days. him. While he is struggling to end a jungle war and return his countrymen’s sons home safely, while he is trying to keep employment high and the price of meat low and at the same time persuade the Russians to be good boys and the Red Chinese to stop gobbling up their neighbors, he is suddenly hit with a bizarre burglary that drives everything else off the front page …”

And still later he would write of Nixon: “We Americans take the game of politics seriously, and we tend to judge the players unfairly. We measure a man by his mistakes rather than by his achievements. Do we remember Roosevelt for better hours and higher wages – or as the man who sold us out at Yalta? Do we regard Truman as synonymous with scandal – or as the man who checked the spread of communism?”

While the 37th President was at bay. West wrote that “these are dog days. The human spirit, like cotton and corn, tends to wilt.”

West became almost as close to Lyndon Johnson as he is to John Connally. ’ ’Johnson was a genius at legislating,’’ he declares. “He knew where every bone was buried. I was in the White House when he was President and hosting a party. Senator Frank Church showed up. He had just made a speech critical of the President’s Viet Nam policy. Johnson sidled up to Church, peered down at him hard and said, ’Frank, I heard what you said about me and Viet Nam and I didn’t like it.’

” ’Well, Mr. President, all you saw was the headlines.’

” ’That’s all anybody sees, Frank.’

” ’Well, Mr. President, I didn’t say anything more against you than Senator Fulbright did the other night.”

” ’Frank, let me tell you something. The next time you want a dam in Idaho, why don’t you go see Bill.’ “



In his 18 years at the editorial helm of the News, West has inveighed against forced integration and ethnic and raThe human spirit, like cotton and corn, tends to wilt.”

West became almost as close to Lyndon Johnson as he is to John Connally. ’ ’Johnson was a genius at legislating,’’ he declares. “He knew where every bone was buried. I was in the White House when he was President and hosting a party. Senator Frank Church showed up. He had just made a speech critical of the President’s Viet Nam policy. Johnson sidled up to Church, peered down at him hard and said, ’Frank, I heard what you said about me and Viet Nam and I didn’t like it.’

” ’Well, Mr. President, all you saw was the headlines.’

” ’That’s all anybody sees, Frank.’

” ’Well, Mr. President, I didn’t say anything more against you than Senator Fulbright did the other night.”

” ’Frank, let me tell you something. The next time you want a dam in Idaho, why don’t you go see Bill.’ “



In his 18 years at the editorial helm of the News, West has inveighed against forced integration and ethnic and racial quotas, legalized abortion, the welfare state, federal aid, socialized medicine, the socialization of the power industry, pornography, preachers preaching social gospel instead of old-time religion, judges who are soft on criminals, labor unions, an activist Supreme Court, and what he sees as a pervasive permissiveness and lowering of moral standards in schools and society.

“There seems to be a different attitude of not caring,” he wrote in 1971. “Call it what you will – permissiveness, indolence, indifference – it is shocking. In this life, you’ve got to care, or there is nothing to live for and even worse, nothing to defend. More and more people think the world owes them a living. They are not ashamed to be on relief or welfare – on the contrary – they cunningly seek various ways of getting public assistance cial quotas, legalized abortion, the welfare state, federal aid, socialized medicine, the socialization of the power industry, pornography, preachers preaching social gospel instead of old-time religion, judges who are soft on criminals, labor unions, an activist Supreme Court, and what he sees as a pervasive permissiveness and lowering of moral standards in schools and society.

“There seems to be a different attitude of not caring,” he wrote in 1971. “Call it what you will – permissiveness, indolence, indifference – it is shocking. In this life, you’ve got to care, or there is nothing to live for and even worse, nothing to defend. More and more people think the world owes them a living. They are not ashamed to be on relief or welfare – on the contrary – they cunningly seek various ways of getting public assistance so they can loaf.”

To a man such as Dick West, it is almost a sin to be a beggar in America. He sees such opportunity that poverty becomes an individual failure and not the fault of society. While he hates extravagance and waste, materialism is not all bad. It is the reward of rational, hard-working man, the comfortable evidence of our superiority over nature. But it is to be gained by the sweat of one’s brow and not by the mere fact of existence. It is better for a man to make his own way than for society, the state, to pave the way for him. The siren call of liberalism is a sign of softening.

West agrees with the late psychologist, C. G. Jung, who in his last book wrote that “the inner man remains unchanged however much community he has . . . Man’s environment cannot give him as a so they can loaf.”

To a man such as Dick West, it is almost a sin to be a beggar in America. He sees such opportunity that poverty becomes an individual failure and not the fault of society. While he hates extravagance and waste, materialism is not all bad. It is the reward of rational, hard-working man, the comfortable evidence of our superiority over nature. But it is to be gained by the sweat of one’s brow and not by the mere fact of existence. It is better for a man to make his own way than for society, the state, to pave the way for him. The siren call of liberalism is a sign of softening.

West agrees with the late psychologist, C. G. Jung, who in his last book wrote that “the inner man remains unchanged however much community he has . . . Man’s environment cannot give him as a gift that which he can win for himself only with effort and suffering. On the contrary, a favorable environment merely strengthens the dangerous tendency to expect everything to originate from outside – even that metamorphosis which external reality cannot provide, namely, a deep-seated change of the inner man, which is all the more urgent in view of the mass phenomena of today and the still greater problems of the increase of population …”

It is noteworthy that for a few years back in the 1960’s, West’s counterpart on the Times Herald was another West Texan by the name of A. C. Greene. Greene and West had grown up with strikingly similar backgrounds – Greene’s father had also been a likeable knock-about of a man; Greene too had been raised in the stern Campbellite church; he too had come to writing, rather than selling like his father. Greene could even agree with West and Carl Jung.

And yet, somehow for Greene, that gift that which he can win for himself only with effort and suffering. On the contrary, a favorable environment merely strengthens the dangerous tendency to expect everything to originate from outside – even that metamorphosis which external reality cannot provide, namely, a deep-seated change of the inner man, which is all the more urgent in view of the mass phenomena of today and the still greater problems of the increase of population …”

It is noteworthy that for a few years back in the 1960’s, West’s counterpart on the Times Herald was another West Texan by the name of A. C. Greene. Greene and West had grown up with strikingly similar backgrounds – Greene’s father had also been a likeable knock-about of a man; Greene too had been raised in the stern Campbellite church; he too had come to writing, rather than selling like his father. Greene could even agree with West and Carl Jung.

And yet, somehow for Greene, that spare and profound philosophy of self-realization without help lost its punch in the way West applied it to local politics and personalities. West’s heroes were men such as County Judge Lew Sterrett, District Attorney Henry Wade, Sheriff Bill Decker, Rev. W. A. Criswell, school board member John Plath Green, the self-appointed crime commissioner John McKee, Justice of the Peace Bill Rich-burg and Judge Fred (Red) Harris. Greene was usually on the other side of the fence, taking potshots at West’s friends and siding with the more liberal opposition. Greene was not all that liberal, but remember, this is Dallas. Even though West was West Texas and Greene was West Texas it seemed the twain would never meet. But they did, through a strange and tragic turn of fate.

On Labor Day of 1952, West’s parents, Charles Richard and Mary Elizabeth Elliott, were killed in a car wreck while taking a drive after supper near Cisco. A drunk teenage driver had hit them broadside at an intersection. Betsy West says spare and profound philosophy of self-realization without help lost its punch in the way West applied it to local politics and personalities. West’s heroes were men such as County Judge Lew Sterrett, District Attorney Henry Wade, Sheriff Bill Decker, Rev. W. A. Criswell, school board member John Plath Green, the self-appointed crime commissioner John McKee, Justice of the Peace Bill Rich-burg and Judge Fred (Red) Harris. Greene was usually on the other side of the fence, taking potshots at West’s friends and siding with the more liberal opposition. Greene was not all that liberal, but remember, this is Dallas. Even though West was West Texas and Greene was West Texas it seemed the twain would never meet. But they did, through a strange and tragic turn of fate.

On Labor Day of 1952, West’s parents, Charles Richard and Mary Elizabeth Elliott, were killed in a car wreck while taking a drive after supper near Cisco. A drunk teenage driver had hit them broadside at an intersection. Betsy West says Dick never really got over the loss.

He told me on Padre: “You know, it’s a hard sight to see one parent in a casket, but two of them, Billy, two of them is awful. But there was one beautiful thing about it. They had never been apart even one night in all the years of their marriage. They died together, neither knowing the other had died.”

On July 8, 1964, A. C. Greene’s parents, Alvin Carl and Marie, were killed when a truckdriver struck their car broadside at a crossroads near Rusk.

Dick West wrote a tender note of condolence to A. C. Greene. “It touched me deeply,” Greene says. “Dick West was always cordial, a gentleman. He is a sensitive and talented man, and of course we share a love of West Texas and the tragDick never really got over the loss.

He told me on Padre: “You know, it’s a hard sight to see one parent in a casket, but two of them, Billy, two of them is awful. But there was one beautiful thing about it. They had never been apart even one night in all the years of their marriage. They died together, neither knowing the other had died.”

On July 8, 1964, A. C. Greene’s parents, Alvin Carl and Marie, were killed when a truckdriver struck their car broadside at a crossroads near Rusk.

Dick West wrote a tender note of condolence to A. C. Greene. “It touched me deeply,” Greene says. “Dick West was always cordial, a gentleman. He is a sensitive and talented man, and of course we share a love of West Texas and the tragedy of our parents’ deaths. I have often wondered why, having shared a common heritage, that we came to different philosophies.”

West wondered too. In 1971, he wrote, “Poet Robert Frost once posed the intriguing question in every life of the road taken, and the road not taken – which makes a big difference. Most of us of another generation were concerned and worried about the road we chose, and look back at the decision and the results and we wonder if it was right.”

He laughed. There’s no turning back now, the race is run. After millions of words and 1,185 speeches, Dick West’s moment at the Morning News draws to a edy of our parents’ deaths. I have often wondered why, having shared a common heritage, that we came to different philosophies.”

West wondered too. In 1971, he wrote, “Poet Robert Frost once posed the intriguing question in every life of the road taken, and the road not taken – which makes a big difference. Most of us of another generation were concerned and worried about the road we chose, and look back at the decision and the results and we wonder if it was right.”

He laughed. There’s no turning back now, the race is run. After millions of words and 1,185 speeches, Dick West’s moment at the Morning News draws to a close. And he is not about to eat his words. As he wrote recently, “The food shortage, someone said, can be eased by people eating recycled paper. We who labor at this particular job on the newspaper do not relish the idea of going to bed after eating the News’ editorial page for supper. Pork chops and yams would be better than eating your own words.”

close. And he is not about to eat his words. As he wrote recently, “The food shortage, someone said, can be eased by people eating recycled paper. We who labor at this particular job on the newspaper do not relish the idea of going to bed after eating the News’ editorial page for supper. Pork chops and yams would be better than eating your own words.”

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