Sunday, February 9, 2014

it's time for a new short story - the birth of the Texas Alliance for power to the people. Part One.

Lampasas County, Texas, 1875

“Where are you goin’ Daddy?”
“I’m goin’ to a meeting, Sissy.”
“That meeting like the one you go to late at night?”
“How you know about that, girl?”
“Oh, Daddy, I lay in bed awake when the dogs carry on, and I hear you leavin’.”
“How you know it’s me then?”
“Oh, Daddy you think Mama’s goin’ sneakin’ out? Or Bubba and “Charley? You sayin’ that?”
“No, honey they wouldn’t sneak out. Your Mama’s too good a woman and your brothers know I’d tan their hides and hang ‘em in the smokehouse with the other hams.”
“Oh, Daddy, go on.”
“I’m goin’. And honey, I won’t be goin’ to those late meetings any more. They got too silly for me. Anyway, this meeting’s way more important. We farmers are going to ban together into one great Union.”
“But we’re Rebels, Daddy.”
“ ‘Course we are. No, all us white farmers are goin’ to fight the big boys who don’t work, but sit around all day thinkin’ a ways to steal our money.”
“You mean the banks, Daddy?”
“That’s good Sissy. Yes, banks, railroads, combinations, and those ranchers with their gun-totin’ killers they pretend are cowboys.”
“I know, Daddy. I’m more scared a them than I am your n…ers.”
“Sissy, I’ve done changed my mind about them boys and I’m through usin’ that word and you are too.”
“Why, Daddy?”
“There’s no use in stirrin’ up the hornet’s nest, Sissy. We lost the damn war. Old Sam Houston warned us and we didn’t listen. Now the Republicans and their government paid boot-lickers are the enemy.”
“I heard you say the other night you’d vote for a yaller dog before you’d vote for a Republican.”
“That’s right, honey. They don’t work. They just use our taxes to pay for the army and railroads and banks. They let the ranchers use thousands of acres of land that ain’t theirs. And the damn ranchers own the water. Water put on this earth by God Himself! And they think they can own in and kill us for bein’ thirsty. I’d like to take their big war hero General Grant and stick him down here in Texas on a dry land farm.”
“He’d try to grow tobacco for his cigars. Cigars make people sick.”
“I hope they make him sick, Sissy. I surely do.”

And Daddy went out into the clean air of Texas, the real Texas where people work for their money and stand by their beliefs. And, by God, did not their beliefs make eternal sense? That night he and his neighbors formed the Texas Alliance, the first of the Southern Alliances, the precursors of the National Farmers’ and Laborers’ Union of America. In 1889 a convention in St. Louis formed that one great Union which, in turn, evolved into the Populist Party.

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