photograph of Lyndon B. Johnson when he was about six years old seated on a porch in or near Stonewall or Johnson City, Texas. National Archives/LBJ Library
I was up early this morning, researching LBJ, finishing his biography for book two. I was searching for the source of "Get those coonskins up on the wall!" a quote I attributed to LBJ when I first wrote the biography, but didn't source at the time.
I found it in several places, including this article in Texas Monthly, "Politician of the Century: Lyndon Johnson," which made me laugh out loud when I got here:
...there is also, in every conversation, that drawl, that Texan way of talking that made him so easily caricatured. It is impossible to listen to the tapes without reflecting upon how different Texas is—how very separate—from the rest of the country. Consider this recently released tape with Sargent Shriver, brother-in-law to the late President Kennedy, on the day that Johnson called to ask Shriver to take charge of the War on Poverty.
Johnson minces no words: “Sarge, this is your president speaking, and I’m going to announce you as head of the War on Poverty.” Shriver responds, “Can’t we just study this a little?” He suggests getting back to Johnson in a few days. Fat chance. Johnson wonders if Shriver has the “glands” for the job.
“I’ve got plenty of glands,” Shriver says, defensively.
“Well,” Johnson says, “I’d like to have your glands. Indeed, I’ve been going to some old doctor and I’m trying to get some of those old goat glands I’ve heard about.” At this point, Shriver can be heard saying to his wife, Eunice, “Well, I guess I’m the head of the War on Poverty.”
hahahahaha. Oh, Lyndon. Gems like this are what keep me in the game and at the page. Little presents to trip across with delight, at 5am, when you least expect them.
May I also say how amazing it is for this researcher to find this 1999 article online at Texas Monthly? Very generous. Thanks, y'all.