Bootlegging through Texas

Meanwhile, another tale of the old days (1970‘s) in and about Austin Texas; this time about my days as a “bootlegger”

To get to the heart of this story I first need to add some (alot actually) background. In March of 72, the divorce from my first ex-wife became final, I had resigned from the only real job I ever had after the Military, and sold the house and most every thing else, planning on doing some traveling. My friend Dan McConchie, and his lady “du jure” Carol were going to keep for me the pregnant dog Green while I was gone. I hitched out of Austin headed to Baltimore where a college friend was heading up an urban commune, and then on to Philadelphia to visit with my folks. The trip was full of adventures, each worthy of a page, but to keep this from getting too far reaching, I’ll just get to the main stuff.

Green had a litter of 8 pups while I was in Baltimore, and 3 days latter, she decided to cross a street at just the wrong time. Dan and Carol, and another lady who’s house they were “sharing” decided to try and save the pups. God bless them, they managed to do just that with the help of a 6 month old doberman named lucy who decided it would be her job to keep the pups cleaned up, while Dan and Carol took charge of the feeding.
Dan made a point of letting me know just how happy he was about all that the few times we talked on the phone.

By the time I got back to Austin, the pups were about 8 weeks old, eating regular food, had all there shots, and it was obvious that my buddy Dan had taken a bullet for me. It was also well into the warm weather, and the three of us(Dan,Carol, & I)decided to get out of the city for a while. A friend had a place on the S.Bosque river west of Waco, and was game enough to have us camp out there for a while, so we all (including the pups, and a couple of adult dogs) loaded up my old 1950 Dodge sedan, and headed north. The ride up was uneventful, and we spent a couple of nice relaxing weeks on the banks of the old Bosque just hanging out, and doing the “stuff” Austin was notorious for during those days.

Some of that “stuff” was drinking massive amounts of beer, and we just happened to find a pearl beer distributor in Waco selling cases of longnecks for 3.00 a case. (Plus bottle deposit) Even in 1972, that was a real good price, and we took advantage of it throughout our stay on the Bosque. On our departure back to Austin, we also stopped one more time to stock up for the trip, and had 4-5 cases in the backseat along with all the dogs. It was a bit crowded back there to say the least. So here we are, three “hippy” looking folks driving a “hippy” looking, multicolored old car, making our way south on IH35 doing stuff that “hippies” did back in those days. Just another uneventful road trip until we were getting into Georgetown. It was then a light bar lit up behind us, and I pulled over for the DPS just under the HW29 bridge over the interstate.

I get out of the car, and with my hands in plain sight, and started back to the troopers car. (I realize doing so today would probably get a person shot, but back then, I figured it was just a common courtesy to meet the police in neutral territory, and so did most of them. Had numerous opportunities to put that to a test since the old dodge was stop bait most every where we went in it. Anyway, back to the roadside in Georgetown Texas. I handed the trooper my DL, and he started running the “make” which took a bit of time back then in the pre everything available instantaneously on computer days, and I walked around to get my insurance papers from the glove box. I was standing at the rear bumper when the trooper walked back to our vehicle saying the reason he stopped us was because there wasn’t a front tag on the car –it was on the dash board, having mostly fallen off back up on the river– which meant that it was mainly a curiosity stop since the missing tag was not really a violation.

The trooper glanced through the back window, and at that point, the following conversation issued.

DPS: you got beer in all those boxes?? ME: I certainly hope so.
DPS: then you’re bootlegging! ME: That’s not bootlegging–it’s a bargain.
DPS: You are only allowed to transport 96 Oz per person through a dry county. ME: Uh–what about all those dogs, do they count?? DPS: Looks to me that they are mostly minors

By then, the trooper was laughing, and I started to relax a little. We talked a bit more and then he said I was free to go, but if he ever caught me bootlegging through his county again, Id really be in trouble.

Thank you sir, and back in the car, driving south (out of Williamson county and trouble) to Austin. All three of us breathed a big sigh of relief –Had he actually searched the car, he would have found enough contraband (drugs etc) to put us all away for a long time. A few years later, I actually moved to Williamson county, but by that time, beer was a legal beverage in the precinct I had moved into.

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