Page 22 - Autobiography of a Law School
P. 22

Wanting a Seersucker Suit, 1933-1952

think The Law will do to Shack?” The answer wasn’t clear when
The Law released Shack and he resumed his taxi business a couple
of days later.

         With Shack back on the street, every conversation began or
ended with, “What do you think the Holsombacks will do?” So
many people asking the question guaranteed the response. Within a
week or so, somebody told Green Holsomback’s son, Tubby, that
Shack Lucas had just bought a ticket at the E-Tex movie theater.
Tubby got his pistol and his son, Bruce, and they walked together
into the theater. They found Shack and shot him dead in front of a
few movie-goers. Next day, every conversation began or ended with
“I wonder what The Law will do to Tubby and Bruce?” The answer
turned out to be “nothing.” I heard, and believed, the story that
circulated a few months later. The Law decided Tubby was not
guilty because Bruce, not Tubby, fired the fatal shots. And Bruce
couldn’t be tried for murder because he was a juvenile. My eleven-
year-old brain couldn’t make sense out of The Law’s making
bystanders criminals and letting killers go free.

         My acquaintance with law expanded in 1947 when, at age
fourteen, I met a real lawyer at his little office in Nacogdoches,
twenty miles away from Cushing. My dad had died in 1945, and I
inherited his half interest in the 160-acre family farm. Humble Oil
& Refining Company (now ExxonMobil) wanted to lease the land
for oil and gas exploration. I was a minor and couldn’t give a valid
lease, so Humble struck a deal with my mother and hired Kelly Bell,
a Nacogdoches lawyer, to have her appointed guardian to lease my
minerals. I wasn’t sure what Mr. Bell did that put $2,000 in my
brand new bank account, but he said if Humble produced oil or gas,
I would get royalty on my share of the farm. Kelly Bell had done a
magical thing with words on paper, and nobody went to jail.

         What raised my sights as much as the law Kelly Bell
practiced was the blue and white seersucker suit he sported in that

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