Dallas, Texas, Spring 1966: Living in Dunia Bean’s apartment on Gillespie street, I worked at the Cabana Hotel. The Cabana is a clone of Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, complete with over-sized statues of Venus, David, and the rest of the crew. Inside, a vast two-story lobby with greenish marble floor and a round sunken area with sofas enough for a football team.
Overlooking this magnificance, our front desk where I worked with Dick and Earl, dignified alcoholics. Dick taught me how to get big tips at crowded times, and Earl as a young actor fought swords with Errol Flynn in the movie Captain Blood. That was a while back.
But this was in the spring, and for the first time since the war, Texas was going to have Daylight Savings Time. We were all abuzz.
Paul the Bellman was a portly fellow, balding and gabby. He made big tips because he knew about health food and horoscopes. This was years before such things were popular. His most popular health food remedy was honey and vinegar; he’d recommend it for almost anything.
On the way to the elevators with the guests, he’d ask about their birth-date and provide predictions and prescriptions all the way to the room. Then I suppose it just seemed wrong, to the guest, to tip miserly to the fellow who’d taken such an interest in their fortunes and their health.
Paul the Bellman was very opinionated, and also had an annoying habit of slapping his hand down on the bellman’s marble-topped desk when he was about to speak. This made a loud pop. I think it was his version of banging the Judge’s gavel before pronouncing sentence.
So, while we were all discussing this radical new change, Daylight Savings Time, and how we would set our clocks before we went to bed, Paul returned to the bell desk.
Slap! went his open palm on the marble desk. “Well,” he said, “I know what I’m going to do.” We all stopped talking. He continued. “I’m going to set my clock for one a.m., and then I’m going to wake up, and set it ahead to two a.m.”
We all stared in incomprehension. “Why, Paul?” I asked.
“That way,” he crowed, “I won’t lose an hour’s sleep!”
I grinned. “But Paul,” I said, “If you’re awake when you move it forward, won’t you lose an hour’s wake?”
He pondered this. “Naw,” he said, “You can’t lose an hour’s wake.” We all nodded.
Slap! went his palm on the desk. He scowled. “But those guys better watch out,” he said.
We looked at each other. He went on.
“Because when they’re changing the time, they’re messing with the sun,” he said. “And they’d better not go messing with the sun!”
Thus came Daylight Savings Time to Texas.