The Twelve Days of Guy Town Christmas, Day Nine

December 21, 2016 § Leave a comment

On the ninth day of Christmas (1868): nine shades of grey, an 8% solution, seven strips of bacon, sharp 6 o’clock Sunday morning, $5 fine with costs, four cut-up caballeros, three maudlin lines of poetry, two fighting drunks … and a pungent suit hanging from the police station clothes tree.”

It was the Saturday before Christmas, 1868, and a local reporter wrote:

We must spend a month of these Saturdays before they will lose the gloss of novelty. Congress Avenue is literally blockaded with vehicles of every conceivable model; and at every available point stand regiments of saddle horses hitched to posts, railings and trees. In passing through the labyrinthine crowds we hear German, Swedish, Spanish and the rich brogue which so charmed Gen. Scott when hankering for Irish votes. The shops are thronged with eager customers who seem to be flush with money, and the din at the restaurants and saloons is something to hear. For an “oppressed people,” this is a hopeful time.

Another feature of the show is suggestive – that is, the free intermingling of colors without misunderstanding. Snowy white and sooty pass and repass without misunderstanding. Mexican women with the complexion of a new jockey saddle, with children of sufficiently lighter shade to suggest the bugbear of miscegenation, seem perfectly at home. Austin is a cosmopolitan city, albeit on a small scale; but why should this peculiarity display itself with more perspicuity on Saturday than on any other day of the week?

It’s like Iggy Pop wrote more than 100 years later, in “Mixing the Colors.”

Out on the edges they’ re mixin’ the colors
Some they don’ t like it but me I don’ t mind
In every city they’ re mixing the colors
Different shades for the whole countryside.


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