THIS IS A STORY I’VE STARTED TO TELL SEVERAL TIMES, BUT REALLY THOUGHT KENNY COULD DO MORE JUSTICE TO IT SINCE HE WAS THERE.
It has been noted previously that Cecil Lewis was one of the toughest men I ever knew. He had a threshold for pain like no other. In the winter of 1986 it was predicted to fall below freezing and stay that way for several days. I had just built a new house between Georgetown and Andice. I suggested to he and mom that they close everything up at Smithwick and come stay with us for a few days. We had ample room, with a game room and bar. We would spend the cold days playing dominoes, cards and enjoying a roaring fire.
They arrived that afternoon and we had a great time that evening. As has also been noted previously, Cec had a tendency to over indulge. Therefore I had put any liquor out of site. There was a beer tap in the bar and everyone was fine with that. We played various games that night and had a very enjoyable time. As midnight came, one by one we all went to bed. Except for Cec.
Prowling through the cabinets, he found the “hard stuff”. No one really knows how much he drank, but instead of going to bed he lay down on the floor in front of the fire place. He wore a blue jean jacket with a heavy wool liner in it. That jacket had the same affect that a piece of tin foil has on the Christmas Ham in the oven.
When we woke up the next morning he was sitting up in the floor. We could tell something was wrong. We pulled his jacket off. Slowly lifting the back of his shirt up, I could not believe my eyes. His entire back was covered with blisters the size of baseballs. So our family weekend came to an abrupt end. We loaded him in the car, he and mother headed for Kerville to the VA hospital.
He spent the next six months there whereby everyday they would take him to the showers and scrub his back until it bled in order to keep the skin and muscle tissue alive. The toughness was that he never complained and never ask for pain killer through that whole process.