There are a few things in life that really don’t mix. Being really tough and drinking too much are a good example of this. Cecil Lewis was tough guy and he drank a way more than he should have.
Back in 80 – 81 I had contracted to build a new state park and campground area down on the Guadalupe River near the little community of Bergheim not far from Boerne, Texas. When I needed him my dad would help me out on projects. On this job he mostly drove a water truck driver. He never drank while on the job that I could tell. However, one Monday morning he showed up for work and it was very apparent that he was in no condition to drive a truck or do anything else. I wanted him off the job before anyone else saw him. I just didn’t need those hassles in my life. It was early in the morning and no one else was there yet. All he needed to do was load up and head out.
I for a few minutes but when I returned he was still there. He had a good reason. As drunks sometimes do, he had left his headlights on and his battery was run down. I agreed to jump start his pickup if he would just leave. While I was hooking up the cables, he said something that I didn’t agree with. He wanted me to know he could drive that truck as well as I could. We got his pickup started and rather than leave he got out and wanted to argue. I finally got right up in his face wagging my finger. He grabbed my hand and bit down on my left thumb and wouldn’t let go. A wrestling match ensued with both of us ending up on the ground. I was finally able to get back on my feet but still stooped over. When I saw that he wasn’t letting go, I put one foot on his chest and stood straight up. My thumb came loose.
The pain was excruciating. I had literally skinned all the hide off of my thumb. When he was once again standing on his feet, I couldn’t believe what I saw. His two front teeth were sticking straight out the front of his mouth. They were still attached to his gums. He then pushed them both, back into place. Making a whistling sound as he spoke, he said “Damn Ron, why did you do that”? Then he started to laugh, a drunk laugh. When he laughed, his teeth would flutter. It was comical looking but all I could think about both of us getting out of there. For the next couple of days they just dangled in his mouth when he spoke. After figuring they weren’t going to take new root and return to normal, he pulled them himself. He lived the last fifteen years of his life with false teeth. My thumb finally healed, but it took a while.
Madeline sees this incident as a low point for the Lewis family. She wasn’t very proud of us. In fact she took it harder than either of us.