My Dad did a lot of things throughout his life that I was very proud of him far. He was a very generous guy. He really would give you the shirt off his back. He’d even pull his pants off and hand them to you on Main Street, if he thought there was a good reason for doing so. He really didn’t care what anyone thought. “They can just kiss my ass“, was the attitude he went through life with. To just say he did things his own way just doesn’t seem adequate. He took it to a whole new level.
I’m not sure where his level of hardheadedness came from, but it seemed to run in the Lewis Family. Having a mind of his own served him well much of the time, but a fellow that doesn’t bend a little here and there, can have particular problems if he drinks. Luckily for much of his early adult years, he wasn’t able to drink without it having severe health implications for him. So I never saw him drink hardly anything until I was a teenager.
Then in about 1964 when his stomach burst from a severe case of ulcers that he had mostly refused to get treated, Dr. Raleigh Ross operated on him and removed a large percentage of his stomach. Part of the recommendation for getting his stomach back to normal was; “Cecil it would be good for you to drink a beer or two every evening to help stimulate the growth of new stomach tissue”.
Cecil being Cecil never was a real patient man, so he most likely thought that if a beer or two would be good for him, a six pack or two would do wonders for getting everything back to normal. Once his stomach healed, he could drink hard liquor for the first time since his time in the Navy and just after. The first thing then the other happened with that and in the span of a few years he went from not drinking at all to being a falldown drunk. This transformation mostly happened during my high school years, when I wasn’t paying much attention to how much Cec was drinking because I too was drinking way to much.
After I married, left home and started living my life away from Smithwick, his episodes of drunkenness seemed to create a real riff between us. By that time I had completely walked away from alcohol and could never understand why he couldn’t do the same thing. Situations continued to crop up that was very detremental to his and my mothers life.
During the next 25 years I found myself staying away from him more and more, which was keeping me and my children away from my mother. I found ways to cope with the situation by ignoring it as much as possible. After my mother passed away just 20 years into my adult years, in 1990, the next five years almost was more than I could take of Cecil Lewis. By 1995 alcohol took a final toll on him.
While I was saddened with losing him, I found some relief in the end of his suffering and the suffering he caused those around him. It took me several years to start the grieving process. Yes I missed him. He had always been there and taught me so much. He had afforded me many opportunities. He had taught me how to work. He had taught me a lot of things not to do.
Once it finally sank in that he was living his own hell on Earth as an alcoholic and he may not have necessarily choosen that for himself, my attitude started to change. It was perhaps his destiny. Writing and telling stories about him and his crazy brand of life has been therapeutic. He made my life very interesting and hopefully enriched it in ways.
A few days ago in the comments of his 3 Card Monte Story, a one time DPS Officer in Marble Falls, told about Cec having 5 wrecks on a trip between San Antonio and Marble Falls. I commented, jokingly that “he probably just needed some rest” and then the said officer said he gave him that opportunity in the Burnet County Jail. To which I clicked the WOW emoji. Some how my comment or the WOW, caused that fellow to declare that I am a mouthy pricky. I asked him to come back and engage on the subject, but thusfar I haven’t gotten my wish. I had never heard the story. It’s nothing that Cecil Lewis or my Mother would have told me.
I was gone from MF before this Highway Patrolman arrived in the scene, therefore the only real knowledge I have of him is the good things Cecil Lewis had to say about him and their dealings. If I’m a mouthy pricky I just wanted to know if that came from our exchange on that post or is that his general take on my overall behavior.
All I can say for sure is if I’m a mouthy pricky, I came by it honestly. I am son of Cecil Lewis. He didn’t back away from anyone and I hope that is a trait I am carrying on.