Holiday Inn, Denton Texas, September 1965: James Cato was a cajun from Lake Charles, Louisiana. He had a wooden leg from his youth. He and a friend were drinking beer in the street outside a bar, when a speeding car lost control. James pushed his friend out of the way, but his leg was crushed between a parked car and the speeding car. So he was crippled for life.
He’d played guitar at the Grand Old Opry in Nashville, once upon a time, when Elvis was there. James was certain that Elvis was a tee-totaller. “I’ve got my first time,” he said, “to see him take a drink.”
At the Holiday Inn, a guy named Fred Kahler had been brought in as manager from the Lake Charles Holiday Inn, owned by the same folks as built the one in Denton Texas. Fred Kahler brought in James Cato from Lake Charles to be the night auditor in the Denton Holiday Inn. One day I asked James about how he added everything up, and he told me about it. I puzzled.
“How do you know you’re right?” I asked. He gaped at me.
“You *got* to trust yourself,” he said.
Now as it happened, one day James Cato told the manager and Ron the Assistant Manager, that he was going to go back to Lake Charles, in three weeks. They did nothing. He told them again. They did nothing. He told them again. They did nothing.
So in three weeks he left, and they ran about in circles, waving their arms, wailing what where they going to do?
I stood up. “I can do it,” I said. Continue reading