Jada's Mink Coat
Writing the obit for Texas writer Bud Shrake brought back a lot of memories, not to mention tales about Shrake and his rowdy band of fellow Texas writers, among them Dan Jenkins of "Semi-Tough" fame, Pete Gent, the old Dallas Cowboys wide receiver who wrote "North Dallas Forty" and Larry L. King, who wrote "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas."
One quick tale, as told by Shrake's longtime friend and fellow writer, Gary Cartwright: On Nov. 22, 1963, Shrake and Cartwright, both Dallas sportswriters at the time, walked over to Dallas's Turtle Creek Blvd., near the house they shared, to watch the presidential motorcade on its way in to downtown from Love Field. Cartwright swears that as the presidential limo glided by, JFK smiled and winked at them.
That was on Friday, of course, just a few minutes before the motorcade drove past the schoolbook depository. On Sunday, Cartwright was covering a Cowboys game when Shrake came running up to him. "Someone just killed that Oswald fellow, and you'll never guess who it was," he said.
Cartwright recalled his immediate answer: "Jack Ruby."
Cartwright said yesterday his response was purely intuitive; he has no idea why the name popped into his head.
He and Shrake both knew Ruby, knew he liked to hang around the police station. He thought of Ruby, he said, as sort of a pathetic little man, a wanna-be tough guy who liked to let people know that he carried a gun.
The two reporters also were late-night regulars at Ruby's Carousel Club, and Shrake was dating Ruby's star stripper, a woman with flaming-red hair who called herself Jada. Cartwright remembered that Jada, whose real name was Janet Conforto, used to drive around Dallas in a convertible wearing a mink coat -- and nothing else.
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