Beyond Good and Evil

Dr. Ronnie J. Hastings

Epilogue to SXYTMCHSC1964M4M

As pointed out in And God Said “Let There Be Friends”……..And It Was Weird! [April, 2012], the M-4, following graduation from Cisco High School, got together and “carried on the M-4 legacy” in two’s or three’s: The Flag Escapade — Phase I [August, 2013], The Flag Escapade — Phase II [August, 2013], The Summer of 1965 — The Motley Mix [March, 2014], and Crashing the Cisco Beauty Pageant — Night of the Long Knife [June, 2013]. We’ve got together in two’s and three’s many times since those days at class reunions and college football games, without executing any of our pranks, even for “old time’s sake.”  Most often, nowadays, Cole and I get together on our respective ranches and exchange free labor (Well, almost free — I work for him for beer.) But, since the dam painting (That Damn Dam Painting! [April, 2013]), we have never been together as a quartet to carry on our legacy.

We have been together as a quartet only 2 times since the damn dam painting.  The first was cited at the end of The Summer of 1965 — The Motley Mix [March, 2014].  The second was in the second semester of college, 1966, months before the crashing of the beauty pageant and during Cole’s first semester at A&M as a mechanical engineering major.  Deep in scholastic struggles, Berry had transferred temporarily from Texas A&M to McMurry in Abilene, as had a “buddy” of his he met at A&M, Andy Sikes.  One weekend a campout at Baptist Hollow on the shores of Lake Cisco was planned, with all of the M-4 attending, along with our high school classmates Robert Mitchell and Billy Wilson (both attending CJC as Cole had been) — and, oh yes, Andy Sikes.

Berry had warned Adling, Cole, and me about Andy, who apparently was so “full of himself” and so obnoxious, he was worse than Mike Burzenski (The Flag Escapade — Phase I [August, 2013]).  Robert and Billy went to sleep early, but as the night wore on upon the shores of Baptist Hollow, the M-4 could not sleep over the “excitement” of the four of us together again.  As we tried to create our own reunion in the darkness punctuated by dying campfires, Andy, instead of listening and joining in, tried to dominate the conversation and talk about himself.  The three of us looked at Berry, and he gave us a “I told you so!” glance back in the firelight.  It wasn’t long until Adling, with easily the “shortest fuse” of our four temperaments, and  with the “gift” of saying exactly what he wanted without thinking it through, lost his patience with Andy.   Adling gave him a diatribe “cut-down” none of the four can remember nowadays, but I feel safe in assuming that the word “asshole” was probably used more than once; it was so effective Andy shut up and walked away, probably fearing the four of us were going to throw him into the very cold water of the lake.  Our silence at that moment was our approval of what Adling had done.

We decided to get away from Andy Sikes so we could have our “reunion,” so we started to walk back into town from the lake, leaving Andy with the sleeping Robert and Billy.  Making sure it was alright for Berry to desert his “buddy” Andy (It was.), we hiked across the dam of our fame (That Damn Dam Painting! [April, 2013]), past the country club on onto the highway past Lee’s house.  Our path took us up and over the hill forming CJC’s setting.  Our last experience as a quartet found Adling, Berry, and me in the night shadows of mesquite trees on the west side of campus in the “wee hours” reminiscing while we “had the back” of Cole, who was busy waking up and seeing his sweetheart, Lois Anne Miller, in the girls’ dormitory; the three of us were hoping we could warn Cole in time before he was caught and arrested as a pervert.  True to M-4 form, Cole was not detected by authorities that night; we trekked on into town, laughing, joking, and just being ourselves.  As indicated in Crashing the Cisco Beauty Pageant — Night of the Long Knife [June, 2013], Berry was married early in the summer of that year, Adling late in the same summer, Cole married Lois Anne in 1967, and I married Sylvia in 1968.


I’d like to again acknowledge the Cisco High School Class of 1964, whose names are listed in the dedication near the beginning.  As we are reminded every class reunion, the people worth remembering in life are those who made our school days worth remembering.  None of the content of this work would have been possible without the year-by-year school-day flux of our class.  This graduating class led the student body after the chair/desk escapade in expressing their support and understanding of what we did and why we did it.  Many other Loboes from other graduating classes, underclassmen to us at the time, made us feel that a broad spectrum of the student body “had our backs.”  We understand that that time was prior to the times of campus student revolts.  Thanks to you all!  A special list of teachers needs to be cited — teachers who seemed to be with the four of us “in heart,” yet were able to do little, if anything, to express their views:  Mrs. Edward Lee, Mrs. Evelyn Bailey, Mrs. Carolyn (Page),  Mr. James Hughes, and Coach Cromartie.

Before I close, I’d like to make a small, special list of XY-type names — names who, if scale, time, and place can be overlooked, would have been perfect additions to the M-4; it is my opinion that if we could or would have added anyone from these pages, only one from our graduating class would be on this list — Joe Woodard.  Other “perfect” additions, in my view, would be Larry Johnson, Prince Altom, Darrell Holt, and Jerry Akers.  These five seem to me to embody the spirit and legacy of the M-4; they would have “fit.”  To award them with the M-4 “seal of acceptance” is the highest praise we can give anyone.  Thanks to this quintet for being supporting “highlights” of these pages!  Perhaps the readers might want to make such a list of their own.

I want to include a personal feeling of thankfulness for the times of these pages.  The summer of 1964 was called the Summer of Freedom, and, as Bob Dylan sang, “The Times, They Are ‘a Changing.”  We finished high school and entered college as the great social revolutions of the 1960’s were coming to a boil, with their three heads:  Civil Rights, Women’s Movement, and anti-War/Gov’t.  The stars of these pages were not revolutionaries, but the fearlessness-facing-change shown in these pages resonates with the spirit of the nation’s young people at that time.  Cisco, Texas, may not have been a microcosm of what was going on in the world then, but the M-4 and those who could be added to the M-4 understood and resonated with the news our generation was creating, striving to change the world for the better.  Not only was it “the best of times and the worst of times,” (The Chair/Desk Escapade — Chapter 4 (Coming Together and Planning) [Oct, 2013]), it was a heady time to be alive and young, even in a small, west-central Texas town.

Finally, thanks to the M-4, or, should I say, the other three “in the jail cell with me, saying, ‘Damn, we fucked up!’.” (And God Said, “Let There Be Friends”…And It Was Weird! [April, 2012]) In other words, thanks to the three greatest friends I’ve had — three fellow outliers.  In Preface to SXYTMCHS1964M4M [March, 2014] I asked “what had we done?” to cause these pages to be, hopefully, much, much more than nostalgic, innocent penning of high school memories, as if merely thumbing through yearbooks over fifty years old.  We did the almost unthinkable — we “pushed the envelope” of teen-aged freedom of expression by tenaciously clinging to our silly childhood imaginations borne of our grade school years; no matter what maturity brought our way, we had to make it funny — we had to make jokes of almost everything, including ourselves; we not only shattered “glass ceilings,” we shattered “glass walls” and “glass floors.”  We acted out our dreams and our joyous mental constructs, pushing the “art and science” of pranking to the limits of acceptability, legality, and propriety; for many, we “crossed the line” — more than once.  As a result, we inadvertently exposed the foibles and hypocrisy of authority of all types, and of many social mores.  Yet, in that “rarified air” of executing our “brain children,” our planned pranks, we felt most strongly why we were fast, true friends; we felt most vividly the joy of being young; we felt as if our youth could last forever…



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