John had already been indulging, so he joined us and we started discussing topics of the day. John was very unhappy about the “busing” of students to achieve racial balance. He launched into a very eloquent denunciation of this concept and while waving his arms, lost his footing and fell into my mother’s hedge.
We pulled him out of the hedge and he continued his oration as if nothing had happened. During this time I learned that Squeaky had secretly placed a football goal post on his grandfather’s ranch and had taught himself how to kick a football.
He had never played in junior high or high school so I was amazed to see him suited up with the Aggie football team during the pregame and booming kicks through the uprights on Kyle Field. He was a walk-on and never got to play in a regular season game; but the fact that he was willing to even try out for the team showed his enormous courage and spirit.
It was when I served as his campaign manager in the 1978 Democratic Primary, that I became close to John and realized that underneath his surface he was a man of great intellect, compassion and sensitivity. He was an original, completely honest and devoid of any pretense or hypocrisy.
Despite his natural shyness and other personal issues he was able to defeat a brilliant young attorney named O.E. “Ed” Elmore, who had just moved to town and subsequently became a successful and respected member of the Brazos County legal community. John ran extremely well in the Black and Hispanic precincts and I believed it was because those voters knew instinctively that John Jr. was a fair and sympathetic man.
Our local bar just observed the 6th annual Atticus Finch day, and in retrospect John M. “Squeaky” Barron, Jr. had many of the qualities that made Atticus Finch such an iconic linchpin for the legal profession. I appreciate all the kind words and encouragement I have received for writing about Squeaky. It has been very therapeutic for me to reminisce about him. As is often the case, we don’t realize how much we care about certain people until they are gone. Thanks for helping me to remember a very special man.