Roadhouse News - May 2002

 

Goodbye To Old Friend Ransom Gallaway

Most Texans will remember this day because by this time tomorrow there is a good chance that our great state will claim another President of the United States.   However I will remember this day as the day we bid farewell to another important Texan.

Ransom Gallaway with Lee Roy Parnell
Ransom Gallaway presenting Lee Roy Parnell with
 the famous hat and book from former Texas 
Governor Preston Smith.  June 2000

My Daddy use to have a saying:  “He who knows little soon tells it.”   And is that ever true.   During my twenty plus years to know Ransom, he did not tell me everything about himself.  I actually learned most of what I know about him from other people.   Just last month I attended the funeral of an old friend that I had known all of my life.   He was a black man from my hometown.   His name was Dewitt Bender.  He, like Ransom, was a very important person in my life.   After his funeral, we were at the church eating and one of his relatives told me he used to live in Spur.  With this being said, I asked him if he knew Ransom Gallaway.   He paused for a moment and then told me that not only did he know him but that he had worked for him from the time he bought the bank until he retired.  He continued:  Ransom is the finest white man I have ever known.   He said that the first time Ransom handed out the year-end bonuses at the Christmas party, that Ransom stopped with his check.   Ransom asked him if this was all he had been getting as his bonus.   His reply was “yes sir”.   Ransom’s reply was “This is just not enough”.   He said that Ransom had another check cut right then for double the amount and gave him the same percent of a bonus as every one else from that point on.  

When we were in the process of moving from Lubbock in1996 it took several trips for us to actually get everything moved.   During the last trip, Ransom was in the hospital.   The family had been called in due to the information we had all been given by the doctors.   They said he was near the end.   However, we all knew Ransom a little better than his doctors.   We also knew that most of Ransom’s doctors really did not know him very well at that particular time or they certainly would not have made such an obvious miscalculation and error of judgment on counting him out.   Ransom was a survivor.   He was a survivor of the greatest magnitude.   He would not only survive this problem but would actually insist on an additional three surgeries.   Ransom was in charge of this hospital stuff.   It was no surprise to those of us who knew him.   Ransom was the “Captain of the ship” period!   Ransom just did not have any “give up or quit” in him.

My Dad died in 1977.   He was my best friend and my hero.   I was pretty sure that he had taught me just about everything possible.  But I still had a very hard time getting over his loss.   I had lost my creative inspirational sounding board, my fishing and hunting partner, and the one man in the world that I knew would never let me down.  The one that I knew would always be there for me.  It was the hardest period of my life.   Until I found Ransom.    

Ransom with Jay Boy
Ransom Gallaway & JBA, August 2000

I needed to purchase a touring bus for my band by 1978.   I had been banking at Texas Bank and Trust since it opened and making those deposits on Monday morning for several years.   My confidence was high.  I had been working with a loan officer on a few loans and made the decision to apply for a loan for the bus.   I was quickly sent to the big corner office to see the bank president.   I can only imagine what was going through the mind of my loan officer.   I weighed in at about 115 pounds and had hair down to the middle of my back.  I probably did not look like I could pay back a thirty five thousand dollar loan.  I am sure he and some of the other staff members were ready for the fireworks to start as I walked in the “big office”.   That day we both proved to be under estimated.

I had all of my numbers and my game plan together.   When I walked in to Mr. Gallaway’s office I was prepared to state my case and convince him to loan me that thirty- five thousand dollars at any cost.   I was ready for his long list of questions.   He asked me to sit down.    He asked me where I was raised.   I told him Colorado City.   Then he asked me where my mother bought her groceries and if I intended to pay the loan back.   Of course my answer was “Fuller Foods and Yes Sir!”   He said “Son, come back tomorrow and I’ll have an answer for you”, and then he dismissed me.  As I left I noticed a Texas A&M plaque on his wall.

Twelve years later Ransom and I went down to Colorado City on opening day of deer season to hunt on a friends ranch.   We needed some groceries and Ransom ordered me to stop at Fuller Foods.   When we walked in the store he asked to see the owner, Judge Fuller.   My interest was rising but I did not ask any questions.   When we walked into Mr. Fuller’s office he was sitting at his desk.   He looked up, saw Ransom and me then said, “Well I see you must have made him that loan!”   We visited a while and when we left I noticed a Texas A&M plaque on his wall too.

Ransom had nerves of steal.   One year Bob Macy and myself had elk tags for a hunt in Arizona.   Ransom did not want to buy a license but could not stand for us to go off without him so he volunteered to be the camp cook.  However, after we got there he decided he would hunt just a little bit.  He informed us that he would slip off and sit down somewhere and wait for an elk to come by.   When Bob and I returned to camp there was no Ransom.   But there was a game warden waiting.   The two of us sweated pretty good and showed him our permits.   The warden just would not leave.  It seemed like an eternity.  About dark Ransom came dragging in with his gun over his shoulder, his binoculars around his neck, and his plaid coat.  He sort of resembled a hunter.  

He just walked by the warden, stuck out his old big hand and said, “Hello son, Ransom Gallaway,” shook hands and walked off.   That warden just looked around and stared at Bob and me and then said good-bye and drove off.   Ransom hunted every day.   We never saw the game warden again.

The first weekend of November is generally the opening day of deer season.  This is one of the few years that we did not spend it together.  I find it rather symbolic that he would die on this day, November 4, 2000.

The two of us were in Arizona one day and Ransom bought a new golf shirt.   It was a rather expensive golf shirt.  By the time we walked down to our golf cart he had cut the inside tag out of the new shirt and threw the tag in a trashcan.   I said, “Ransom what did you do that for?”   He said it was an old habit.   During our game he said, “You sure aren’t hitting the ball very good today.”  I told him it was his fault.  All I could think about was that shirt tag.   I told him I would like to have a little more information about “why” he cut it out of the shirt.   So he told me.   He said when he and his brothers were growing up they could not afford to buy clothes at the good store, so they always removed the tags from all of their clothes so the other kids would not know where they came from.   Sometime later I drove him out to Malouf’s to pick up some alterations.   He had the tag cut out of his new OXFORD sport coat before we were out of the parking lot.   That’s the day he told me that it only cost about fifty per cent more to go first class!

Ransom was first class all the way and I don’t mean his clothes.   He was a man of his word.   He was a man’s man by any stretch of the imagination.   One day I had to confide in him about a deal I was in that had gone bad.   I was worried about how much money I was going to loose.   He consoled me and I know he wanted to make me feel better.   I will never forget it.  He said, “Son, its not that much if you say it REAL FAST!”

We spent some part of almost everyday with Ransom after he lost Maxine.  One day the two of us decided that what we really should do was to go to Scottsdale for a few days.   It was a little warm in the desert, but we decided to go anyway.   He drove out to the airport to make our reservations and get our tickets.   I asked him why he didn’t just call instead.   He said if you go out there then they will know that you are really going to make the trip.  I guess that was an AGGIE thing.  

When we made our trip, he had one package that he did not want to check.   He wanted to carry it on the plane.  It sounded like a simple request except it was against FAA rules.   When we made the last minute change he turned to me and said “Well that’s the last time we’ll see that box!”  Sure enough, when we arrived and got our other bags the box was not there.   Ransom was not happy.   We gathered up our stuff and I hailed a cab.   When we loaded up and got seated, the cab driver looked up in his rear view mirror and asked “where to”.   Ransom barked…  “GAINEY RANCH; do you know where it is?”  The cab driver grinned and said, “Yea, Tucson…I think!”   Ransom barked again, “STOP THIS DAMN CAB!” The driver did and we got out on the street and I unloaded the bags.   Innocently the cabbie asked what he had done to offend us.   Ransom replied, “You better find out what kind a mood a man is in before you joke with him!”  Makes perfectly good sense to me.   This became Gallaway Rule #one-two-three.

I have scores of rule numbers that are appropriately named THE GALLAWAY RULES.

Ransom had a knack for giving someone the perfect gift.   Like the present he gave my son, Jayson, when he was three years old.   A claw hammer and a Mexican cigar!  With the cigar in his mouth, Jayson walked straight to the glass top table and slammed the hammer down.   My Mary was mad at him for days.

I am sure that my relationship with Ransom was arranged by a higher power.   I am one of the luckiest men alive.   When I needed a father figure, there was Ransom who simply took up where my own had left off.   Our twenty-year friendship taught me many things.   How to give things away, to deal with a problem immediately, not to let the tail wag the dog, never go to bed mad at my wife, a reconfirmation of just about everything my own Daddy ever taught me, except:  Gallaway Rule #one-two-three.  And of course:  Aggie blood is thicker than water.

I thank God for sending us Ransom Gallaway.   He was an amazing man.   It was always an experience to see his daughters and Mary’s daughters and all of the rest of his immediate and extended family members gather around him when he was down.   The vast amount of energy was incredible.  I know it healed him.  But I mostly thank God for sending Mary Garrett Gallaway to Ransom.  Her loving care gave Ransom several more years of which enabled us all to enjoy him a little bit longer.  I do not know what he would have done without her.

I will close this now and direct my final words to Ransom:

When I hunt the Macy
And sit too close to the edge of Buffalo Point,
I will glass the vast mass of Mother Nature.
And when I feel the soft West Texas winter breeze on my face
I will know its You there with me always.
Goodbye old friend.

 


Back Issues Of The Newsletter

Ransom Gallaway IssueSeptember 2000 - Dewitt Bender
Summer 2000 - Jim Lander Touring 2000 - Pickin' with Lee Roy & Friends
Spring 2000 - European EditionSummer 1999 - How It All Started Again