"My life has been given special purpose," Jake Pickle says. "Some men live to make money, drink, chase women, collect art, excel at a sport, or pursue other things that give them pleasure. The thing I got hooked on was helping people. And I've had the privilege of helping people by the thousands. Serving in Congress was the greatest honor of my life."
In this book, Jake Pickle tells the story of a lifetime in public service, including thirty-one years as Representative for Texas' Tenth Congressional District. Jake tells his story by telling stories—most of them humorous, some poignant—that add up to a warmly personal account of his life and career.
At the heart of the book are Jake's stories of political life in Washington, Austin, and on the campaign trail. These range from hilarious accounts of all that can and does happen at small-town Texas parades and rallies to clear, no-baloney explanations of some of the major legislation that Jake helped to pass. His stories about Social Security reform, tax-exempt organizations, and pension fund reform legislation make these complex topics easy to understand.
This book was written as a collaboration between Jake and his daughter, Peggy Pickle. It offers the fun of listening to a born raconteur spin his tales, while it reveals the ethics and integrity of a man who never forgot that the people elected him to serve them.
A heckuva storyteller, Jake Pickle turns this book into a front porch on a lazy summer evening, and puts his reader right beside him. Rich in anecdotes from West Texas to Washington and back again, Jake will introduce you to dozens of colorful characters, several of whom happen to be this country's top leaders. Jake is that great rarity: a political memoir that's really memorable.~Dan Rather
Jake Pickle's book is the kind of book Mark Twain would have written had he served in Congress. It is funny, partly sad, revelatory, and most of all so cheerfully readable. It may be the best book written thus far about the life of a Congressman.~Jack Valenti
Who else in our nation has had the political experience of Jake Pickle? Jake has been a personal friend of mine for many years; and over this period of time, I have been thoroughly entertained with his stories. Now that Jake has put them down in written form, everyone will be treated to stories about his illustrious political career.~Darrell Royal
Pickle's folksy vocabulary, his West Texas lilt, his wit and self-deprecating humor echo throughout the book. Each story stands alone, a good, entertaining read. But together, they tell the story of an old-fashioned politician, of Democratic politics in Texas, of conflicts, friendships and personalities, including the likes of Lyndon B. Johnson and John Connally.... Jake contains the stories Pickle loves to tell. It's a delightful personal, political chronicle rather than the more traditional political autobiography.~Austin American-Statesman
- Foreword by Ann Richards
- Introduction by Peggy Pickle
- Part One. Beginnings
- 1. West Texas Roots
- 2. Uncle Gus and Uncle Arthur
- 3. Little Campus
- Part Two. On My Own
- 4. My First Meeting with LBJ
- 5. Handsome Harry
- 6. The Navy Years
- 7. The KVET Boys
- 8. Dollars for Democrats
- 9. Steamboats up the Colorado
- 10. Bob Keckler's Cow
- Part Three. The Washington Years
- 11. My First Twenty-four Hours in Congress
- 12. The Closer You Get
- 13. The Civil Rights Act
- 14. The White Shark
- 15. Pop Goes to Washington
- 16. My First Embassy Party
- 17. Bless Their Hearts
- 18. (Don't) Smoke, Smoke, Smoke That Cigarette
- 19. Listening for the Bell
- 20. The Ladies Excluded
- 21. Confessions of a Rattlesnake Chili Champ
- 22. Tax Exempts: Charities or Tax Dodges?
- 23. How Big Business Threatens Our Nation's Pension Funds
- 24. Congressional Prayer Breakfasts
- 25. Preserving Social Security
- 26. Who Are You?
- Part Four. The Campaign Trail
- 27."G" as in Jesus
- 28. What's James Buchanan Ever Done for You?
- 29. Love, Bess
- 30. The First Time I Met Jean
- 31. Ticket, Please
- 32. On the Road with Fleetwood
- 33. Beryl Takes the Wheel
- Part Five. A Lifetime of Friends
- 34. Judge Critz's Story
- 35. "Governor" Pickle
- 36. Dan's Debut
- 37. The 88th Club
- 38. Good-bye to LBJ and Big John
- 39. Family Talent