As a child growing up in Dallas County, Texas; I was taught about life in general and local legends in particular. As to life, I was taught that what we are and who we become is based upon personal decisions. As to local legends; there are two who most notably stand out in my mind.
The first legendary dude from Dallas was wild and foolish. He is best known as a Depression era thief and killer. As a child, his family was so poor that they lived under a wagon, until they could afford a tent. Eventually his family ascended the social ladder to residency in the slums of West Dallas. Having failed as a dirt farmer, this dude’s Father was somehow able to purchase and operate a local filling station on Singleton Blvd.
Now this Dallas son of poverty made many foolish decisions which would affect his entire life. As a teen he and his brother were arrested for stealing turkeys. Eventually he worked his way up to grand theft auto. In prison, he murdered another inmate who had raped him several times. Once this Dallas dude got out of prison he went on a robbing and killing spree that concluded when he and his girlfriend were gunned down by the FBI in Louisiana. As his dead body lay in his bullet riddled car which was towed into a nearby town, gawkers and strangers tore pieces of his clothes and ripped handfuls of his dead girlfriends hair from her bloody corpse.
Now the second legendary dude from Dallas was more wise and frugal than the first. His Father likewise was in the petroleum business. Except instead of operating a Texaco station, his Father was a highly successful Texas oil tycoon. So successful in fact that his Father died as the most wealthy person in the world.
Instead of choosing crime as his way of life, this Dallas son of wealth wisely invested his Father’s money into several sports leagues and teams. Furthermore he and his brothers never stole another person’s turkeys; though they did make an effort to corner the silver market. And unlike the Depression Era outlaw from Dallas, this gentleman lived a long and happy life. In fact, he died peacefully, surrounded by family and friends.
I have often wondered why the wild and foolish bandit from Dallas did not do as the wise and frugal Dallas businessman whose financial endeavors entertain millions even to this day. Why did he not likewise invest his Father’s money into sports teams as his way of life instead of stealing from others?
And I also wonder why the wise and frugal Dallas son of wealth never resorted to stealing turkeys or grand theft auto. What, I wonder, was his secret to a happy life as a law abiding citizen?
I see no need to identify either of these Dallas legends by name, for I was taught that one’s identity has nothing whatsoever to do with who a person becomes in life. For neither parentage nor pedigree has any influence in the decisions that one makes in life, one way or the other.
And so concludes my tale of two dudes from Dallas.