During my Austin cab driving days, I had Pickle as a passenger.
It was in 1998, I think. I picked him up at a condo in Tarrytown. He was standing at the rounded tip of a cul-de-sac, and I swung the cab around so that the rear passenger door would be right in front of him. But he lurched backwards, almost fell down. When he got in the car he said, “You frightened me—I thought you were going to run me down!”
“I’m sorry,” I said. “Where do we go?”
“I need to go to Governor Shivers’s house,” Pickle said.
Uh, what? It sounded like the poor little old man actually wanted to go visit Shivers, who had been governor back in the 50s and died in the 80s. But then I realized—oh, the Shivers Mansion. The University of Texas owned it and used it for meetings and receptions and whatever. So, okay.
It wasn’t very far away. I got there without difficulty. The fare was $4.75.
Pickle handed me a five dollar bill.
“Now,” Pickle said. “I want you to keep a little something of that for yourself!”
And I did.
A very little something.
Pickle is buried in the Texas State Cemetery in Austin. (And, no—I don’t understand the watermelon).