The passing of writer extraordinaire Bud Shrake over the weekend and the flood of warm and funny tributes to his literary legacy made all the more bittersweet the memory of an exceptional gathering of old friends in a cherished Dallas bar last fall.

As one of the early alumni of the renowned Fort Worth Press sports staff, I had pushed for a reunion (while we are still standing ) for all of us who had worked together with legendary sportswriter Blackie Sherrod when he was sports editor there in the late forties and early fifties. Former colleague and fellow PR practitioner  Jerre Todd took on the task of rounding up everyone. And sure enough, on September 25th  last year, Shrake and  Texas Monthly star Gary Cartwright fielded  a limo to drive up from Austin, picked up famed author Dan Jenkins at his new digs in a luxurious downtown Fort Worth senior living highrise, and met Todd, Blackie and me at The Loon, a central Dallas landmark. There, we shared Chili Rice, from the Shanghai Jimmy original recipe, one of Blackie’s favorites, drank and retold tales of times gone by over several unhurrried hours of laughter and tears.  It was a memorable, heartwarming afternoon. We knew that Bud had a problem, but we never expected what was to come so soon. 

Beyond his rich literary life, Bud became a familiar figure in Austin political and social circles as the longtime companion of the late Governor Ann Richards. Tomorrow, he will rejoin her at the peaceful Texas State Cemetery.  And there will be one fewer of us Fort Worth Press boys still standing.

–Julian Read

To savor the full flavor of Bud’s bigger-than-life advcntures, inhale his decidedly un-obit-like obituary in today’s Austin American Statesman. And I’d like to know who wrote it. Great piece–he would be pleased…