Lone Wolf Gonzualles
Scheduled for August 17
tale you are about to read is true. When I first heard it, I thought it
nothing but a tall tale from Texas, but the Los Angeles Times published it as
fact in the man’s obituary. As the obituary columns are relatively free from
political correctness, we may take it as truth.
the early 1930s a major riot broke out in an oil town in West Texas. The
drunken oil field workers were tearing up the place, and the sheriff and mayor
wired to the governor in Austin for help. The reply came back that help would
arrive by special train early the next morning.
the small hours of darkness, with the riot still raging, the mayor and the
sheriff met the special train. It had one passenger car on it, and one
passenger in it. Six foot nine inches tall, criss-crossed bandoleers, two .45
caliber revolvers on the hips and regulation Stetson on his head, down stepped
Henry M. T. Gonzualles.
sheriff, after making sure that the Second Armored Division was not cowering
under the seats in the train, shouted, “You mean they only sent one man???”
in the manner of all Texas Rangers, took his thumb and placed it on his nose,
pushed up the brim of his regulation issue Stetson, looked down from that
terrific height and replied, “There’s only one riot, ain’t there?”
story goes on from there. Gonzualles then proceeded to put down the riot. To
this day, carved over the entrance to the headquarters of the Texas Rangers in
Austin, Texas, are the words, “One riot, one man.” In these later days we have
forgotten the power that one solitary man can have for good. Such power is not
from any native bravado, but from the still water that runs deep. Courage is
not the denial of fear nor the absence of fear -- it is the conquest of fear.
ultimate example of this was our Lord, Jesus Christ. It has always comforted
me that he was afraid, desperately so, in the Garden of Gethsemane. He did not
take counsel of his fears, but of his Father in Heaven. By remaining in God’s
will, courage was supplied to him to face the test of Calvary. Facing it, he
triumphed. But note the key fact: he remained in his Father’s will. Still
water runs deep, but it cannot run unless connected to the source of the
fountain. So it is that we are commanded to examine ourselves before
Communion. In that examination we come closer to our Father, and in that
closeness the living water He supplies runs deep indeed.
was, in fact, such a man. In an interview near the end of his life, he was
asked which of his accomplishments gave him the most satisfaction. He did not
even mention the riot. He replied that his greatest satisfaction came after he
retired from the Texas Rangers. He, and a group of his fellow Presbyterians,
banded together to raise funds for and construct the first hospital in his home
town. God needs to send only one man -- when that man is in touch with his