There I was, sitting in the pokey still feeling sorry for myself. I had read a couple chapters in Psalms when I decided to stop and sit very quietly with all good expectations of being freed from the serious case of ”me-i-tis “ I had experienced. I wasn’t sure whether to expect some sort of God shiver to hit my body, or whether I might fall to the floor in a fit of what some called being slain in the spirit. Either way neither happened. So, I read another chapter, nothing happened. I closed the Gideon and went back to sleep on the hard steel flatbed attached to the grey cement block wall. I hadn’t totally given up on God so after a few minutes of deep groveling of the mind I came up with plan B which was to use the Gideon as a pillow. If God had an answer for me inside that book I figured I would get as close to it as I could to help God get his message through to me. I recall sleeping the best I had in months that night.
Breakfast came early along with a guard I hadn’t seen before. I supposed there had been a shift change Gideon and I slept through. His badge read, Phillip Conway, 1st Sargent, Amarillo Police Dept. Yes indeed he had been that close to me for me to read the small print on his badgarooni. He just stared at me for what seemed too long. It wasn’t like I could ask him if there was anything I could do for him, so I stared back. I never did like that dang staring game because I would usually lose by looking away as I did this time even though I knew he was trying to intimidate the young druggie girl.
He stepped further toward my cell which meant any further and he would have snubbed his nose on the bars. He told me to get dressed it was time to see the judge.
I about had another one of those cows I have when I get shocked by someone or something. I had no idea I would be seeing any judge for a very long time if ever. I figured open and shut case on Julianna Rowe and wait a minute; I didn’t have any clothes to change into which I openly professed to the fuzz man with the overgrown attitude problem.
Mr. Attitude did an about face, unlocked my cell and said, “Fine then, I guess this will be a come as you are party for you. Judge Hawthorn won’t like it though. He is one of the toughest judges in our circuit.”
Mr. Intimidation had returned. Like I wanted to hear that statement about the judge right before I stand before his majesty. Mr. Intimidation must have lived a very unhappy life to be so mean and nasty to such a lovely young woman as myself. I recall my thoughts at the time were to tell him, “Why don’t you go get some more donuts, it might make you sweeter, not to mention fatter.” God he was fat. Maybe that was the basis for his serious need for an attitude adjustment. I remember wishing Duke were there to piss on donut man’s leg.
I got to ride in the back of the fuzz cruiser again all the way to the courthouse without a jacket, in the cold. One would think if I were under the custody of the State of Texas I would be issued a jacket. But then I wasn’t issued a pillow either. We arrived at the courthouse, reporters and television cameras surrounding me as I was escorted inside. I was utterly amazed at the fuss over me until I noticed there was another prisoner who was bigger news than me who summoned all the media.
The prisoners, me being one of those, were single filed into what appeared to be used church pews which I thought that to be rather humorous if anything could be humorous in that situation. The bailiff would call a prisoners name and that prisoner would step up to the front of the courtroom facing the honorable Judgeman. My respect for the law and such had lost its way somewhere back in Oklahoma more than once.
I did pay heed when the sheriff by and by showed up on the premises and strolled specifically up to the Judges throne ceasing all due procedure, to hand the judge a note which was a postponement causing time to stand still. Then the Sheriff turned and walked out of the building. Names continued to be called and I continued to remain uncalled. The recess had been called leaving me the only prisoner left in the old long church pew. What the heck? I figured he was going to lunch while leaving me sit there alone, cold, and hungry? I wanted to pounce on someone real bad but I figured I was already in enough trouble so I sat quietly trying to recall anything I read in the Gideon.
Not much time had passed before Judge Hawthorn returned to the throne bench and called my name. He certainly had not been gone enough time for him to have taken lunch. I wanted to shout out a yee haw but of course I did not. He asked me if I knew what the charges against me were and I said I did not. He proceeded to read a list of several felony charges of drug trafficking to possession….. and more. I decided not to listen like when you were a kid and someone was telling you something awful so you covered your ears and with your mouth you loudly voiced LA LA LA LA LA LA. I was making noise inside my head. LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA.
That is until I heard the words, “You are free to go but you may not leave the city. Your trial is set for November 22, 1966. I suggest you get an attorney as soon as possible Miss Rowe. And believe me if I hadn’t received a call from the esteemed Governor of Texas you would be marching right back to your cell until your trial date, do you hear me?”
“Yes sir, I can hear you.”
Judge Throne almighty’s face turned a very deep shade of reddish purple meaning his blood pressure just hit the bell at the fair. He said, “Don’t be smart with me young lady, because if the Governor hadn’t seen you on TV this morning you would be marching right back to your cell for the duration of your life if I had anything to say about it. Get her outta here!”
I walked out of that courtroom in a Texas prison striped jumpsuit to a squad car and back to the jail where I was issued my clothes and other personal affects. Amid the ride back where I was at any rate not cuffed my brain was racing to beat the band.
The Governor of Texas got me sprung out of jail. Of course he did, he owed me! But I can’t tell you I didn’t get a little puffed up over it. Even a few chuckles came forth and then I remembered Gideon. Danged if Gideon hadn’t known this all along and told me to hang in there the troops were coming or something like that. And then suddenly the thought came, I wondered if the Gov. had told his Grandson, my x fiancé Billy. And then I immediately knew he hadn’t.
I had to find Tom, a lawyer, and Duke. There had been such terrible happenings to me the past twenty four hours I had off and on forgotten about finding my best friend Duke.
I tried to get my beautiful Pink Cadillac out of jail also, but was told it was evidence in an upcoming trial, therefore, sorry lady. I rented a brand new 1966 Red Shelby Mustang. The only problem was Duke wouldn’t recognize it or me in it. I needed to attempt to think distinctively like Gideon so I could stay rational vs insanity.
I drove to Tom’s house where we sat outside on the porch for several hours discussing the situation. Old Tom let me know he figured Pam was the offender behind everything except he couldn't prove it yet. We agreed we needed some help, some big help and if I had any ideas it was time to call them in. When I told him I didn’t have any he hung his head while saying, “Miss Julie youse better think harder on dis one or youse could go to da big house fo most youse life. Last night after dem policemen took youse away I done followed Pam to a real estate office down on 8th Street. She went in Miss Julie but she never come out. After a few hours I was fallin asleep in da alley which weren’t no good place for me to be. I figured she musta left out the back door unless she sleeps in dat office.”
Advising Tom not to help me in view of my concern toward his security would have done no good and I knew it so I didn’t. I did remind him how his children needed him and to be extra cautious. We both agreed that Duke was probably taken when the drugs were being hidden in the Cadi and that Pam most likely played a big part in all of the coverup. Proving it was the hard part. I asked Tom where my “Baby Browning” was.
I think that might have been one of the few times I saw that old man laugh. He told me to follow him which of course I did. We strolled around to the back of the house where Tom instructed me to have a seat on an enormous old tree stump. He told me he wouldn’t be able to show me this hiding place ifin it wasn’t almost dark time. Old Tom showed me a small steel pin sticking out of the stump and when he gave a little tug on it a large square was gently pulled forward and out to expose my little “baby browning” all tucked in nice and safe. Tom told me he didn’t feel safe hiding it in the house where his Granddaughter might find it and of course I agreed. He told me he took it with him when he followed Pam the previous evening but now that I was out on bail he believed I should keep baby browning with me. And then he said.
“By’s da way, howd you git outta dat jail wit dose charges girl?
I laughed and told him Gideon got me out! And then I told him the true story of Billy Connally and his Granddaddy, the Governor of Texas. Why I thought old Tom was going to have a seizure for sure right there sitting on the enormous dead tree stump with me. Have you ever seen a Negro when his eyes get big as saucers? Old Tom looked like he had stuck his finger in an electrical socket. I laughed so hard tears were falling and when Tom realized the scene he was involved in he began laughing til tears fell like refreshing raindrops for both of us. I think Gideon calls that the Holy Spirit laughter because it brings healing, and it did. Shamika opened the front door, stood there with her hands on her hips watching us laugh until the bug got her too. There we were, the three of us laughing till our bellies hurt, and refreshed so we could begin the fight for my life.
Interesting the people God/the Universe, brings into our lives. I also recalled reading in Gideon that we human beings should beware of Angels unaware meaning there are beings here on earth who are Angels sent to help us. They may not be what we would expect for instance a Negro family down on their luck meeting up with a millionaire who was engaged to the Governor’s Grandson. No wonder old Tom had a near spiritual seizure.
I said my prayers of thanks that night, for being jailed and finding the Gideon book and for meeting an old negro man at an Oklahoma rest stop, trusting him and giving him a ride to Amarillo, for knowing Billy Connally and his Granddaddy the Governor, and even for knowing Ratfink Roger and his Daddy J B Justice the rich cattle and oilman where I got Duke. Now all I needed was a good lawyer and some proof who planted those drugs in my car, and most of all finding my Duke because as soon as I found Duke and got the charges dropped, I was long gone from the fine city of Amarillo, Texas bound to Route 66 for Sante Fe and no more troubles.
The cardboard box that had turned to wood with me nailed inside now appeared to have an opening at one corner. Not enough to pry open the top but it enough for some life giving oxygen to circulate.