We Did Not Burn the Landowner After All
There is an Anglo-American couple (her from the UK, him from right here) down the road who always have a Bonfire Night party.
M. and I bumped into the American half recently, and he said that this year’s “Guy” would be a certain wealthy local hobby-rancher.
Having earned his money elsewhere, this guy is busy buying up every piece of vacant land he can find, erecting pretentious ranch gates, quarreling with the Forest Service, and possibly interfering with water rights (still unproved, but if so, it’s a hanging offense).
Unlike the actual largest landowner in this end of the county — who might be found on a mechanic’s creeper underneath one of the engines at the volunteer fire department, fixing something — he holds himself aloof from all community activities.
He has a bad case of “Texas Vertigo”—he thinks the world revolves around him. And, says the woman who waited tables down at the little steakhouse while working on her nursing degree, “He’s a two-dollar tipper.”
“All right,” I thought, on hearing my neighbor’s announcement, “it’s a real Aradia moment. Di legare il spirito del oppresore and all that.
But when M. and I walked up the neighbors’ driveway, dish in hand, to where everyone gathered around the fire pit, beer kegs, and tables of food, the “Guy” was someone else—a certain cable television political pundit.
Not nearly as interesting from a folk-magic perspective, if you ask me.
It is still an emotionally satisfying conclusion.