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Now, there's a myth circulating around in the north, the east, and other depressed areas that chili is the national dish of Texas. That is not so. Chicken-fried steak is. As a matter of fact, one of the reasons that Texas athletes are bigger and taller and faster than most others from less fortunate states, is because of the nutritional value of chicken-fried steak, a commodity that male Texans begin eating at the age of one.
Next he said, "And you like cherry pie, don't you?"
I said I sure did.
"With a glass of cold milk?"
I guaranteed him that was a fact. "Well," he said, "I don't know who it was done it, since I know it'd be against the rules to try and bribe an interscholastic-league high school baseball player, but somebody has left a $25 credit down at the Texan Café for you, and that ought to buy a whole bunch of chicken-fried steak and milk and cherry pie."
As any nutritionist knows, you add cherry pie and milk to your natural base of chicken-fried steak and you've got a dynamite package. I would hazard a guess that any Texas high-school athlete who trains on $25 worth, given prices in those days, would not only be able to perform incredible athletic feats, but would be able to do them while riding not just a donkey, but any other four-footed animal you could name, including a bobcat.
Well, he had my attention, so I nodded when he said, "Can we expect you out at practice next week?"
Now all these deals were supposed to be kept top secret, but somehow the word always got out. Next day the police chief came by the house to see me. We got settled in the living room and he asked what I was going to be doing on the Fourth of July.
I think I told him that I had to go visit my grandmother or that I needed to take the radio in to Houston to get it fixed, as we'd been having trouble getting Amos 'n' Andy of late.
He just gave me a kind of thoughtful, sorrowful look and went to pulling papers out of his pocket. He said, "Well, I just happened to notice these tickets you've got in our files. Looks like about two speeding tickets and several parking tickets and here's one for running a red light. Now I know these must have slipped your mind or else you'd already have paid them."