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To a Tee

by David Westheimer


In a life as long as mine it is not unusual to have picked up a few prizes and honors along the way. In the fifties I won two door prizes, a golf club bag at a meeting of Air Force Reserve officers and their wives (since I didn’t play the game I bestowed it on someone who did) and two shares of gold mine stock (which over the years has doubled and redoubled to eight shares and brings in a cool 49 cent dividend every quarter which I faithfully enter as income on my tax return) at a New York conclave of newspaper TV editors.

But my crowning achievement came just a few weeks ago when I was awarded a tee shirt by America On Line for my seven, unbroken years as a faithful retainer. Sort of a Croix de PC.

While I do not collect tee shirts (or even wear them often except the undershirt variety), over the years I have accumulated a noteworthy drawerful of them. The prize of which is one displaying a full frontal female nude (eat your heart out, Janet Jackson) of a few-months-old granddaughter of mine. Another shirt displays another granddaughter as a preteen but only her face, cheek to cheek with her father.

Or maybe first place goes to a tee shirt with the reproduction of a painting by her talented mother, my daughter-in-law, on it. My Lone Star Zodiac sign, Armadillo, for Texans born in April and described on the back of the shirt. “You are gentle despite your apparent surface hardness. You are shy and, in the presence of danger, tend to go into your shell and wait for things to improve. You cross life’s highways with eyes fixed firmly on your goal, looking neither left or right.”

Then there are about a half dozen Westheimer Colony Arts Festival tee shirts from the Eighties adorned with colorful paintings. The outdoor arts and crafts and art show was held in the open (sort of like a flea market with pretensions) every six months off Houston’s Westheimer Road. As far as I know there were no Westheimers involved, just an association of businesses on the Road. I did visit the festival a couple of times when I happened to be in town out of a sense of noblesse oblige (the Road was named for my great-uncle M.L. around 1858). At one of them I met a young man with a boa constrictor draped over his shoulders. He let me pet its head.

There’s another one showing music notes fluttering over wine bottles proclaiming “Vintage 36…And getting better.” 36th marriage anniversary of a niece. There’s another acknowledging my membership in the Humane Society. One advertising THE WORLD OF HANNA BARBERA. Another from the Museum of Television and Radio,
There is a story that goes with the one from the DePaul U. Blue Demons.

Maggie Dixon, daughter of my best friends, gave it to me. She’s an assistant coach for the women’s basketball team. And the TCU Basketball Camp shirt is from her brother, Jamie, who played basketball there. My Pittsburgh tee also came from him. Because now he is head coach of the Panthers. (I have a tee that offsets the Blue Demons shirt. It is from Club God.)

There are two for the Air Force. One is plain white except for a blue strip around the collar and the blue AIR FORCE on the chest. The other is more elaborate. Black, with the Air Force shield and 50TH ANNIVERSARY UNITED STATES AIR FORCE on the chest.

The one with the longest name says, If I knew my grandchildren were so much fun, I would have had them FIRST. I don’t flaunt the tee much that says: I’m at the perfect age. You can tell that one is fibbing just by looking at me.

One from the Cartoon Network has a cartoon and the words MARS PATHFINDER on it. (I have a first cousin three times removed, named David Westheimer, who is an engineer with NASA and, I assume, associated with the real Mars pathfinder.) Another from the Cartoon Network features three cartoon mice and BABALOOEY.

A yellow tee says 2ND ANNUAL MICHAEL P. KAHN KITE FLYING CONTEST AND 50TH BIRTHDAY JUNE 8, 1986 GALVESTON ISLAND. The one from Dave Bell Associates, Inc, says A Killer Among Us, the title of a TV movie I wrote. Jasmine Guy was the star.

And finally there is one from my favorite restaurant, the Casablanca, promoting L. A.’S ORIGINAL ENCHILADA ENCHILACA BY CARLOS HARO. Haro is the owner. And a fine novelist, as well. His latest, Tequila, is not to be missed. It's self-published and for sale only at his restaurant. (I could give you his e-mail address.) If you know a publisher, please tell him there is a wonderful novel out there about three generations of a wealthy Mexican family that owns and operates a vast plantation, La Esmeralda, cultivating at cultivates agave cactus and makes tequila from it.

Best novel rooted in Mexico that I ever read.


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