Dennis Fritz met Ronnie Williamson July 1981
Book excerpt from Dennis Fritz's book "Journey Toward Justice", around the time when they first met.
"I'm more than ready, Ronnie Keith. Let's get out of here and find out where it's happenin'.
" As we drove past the high-rise dorms, Ronnie said, "Pull over there, Dennie Leon, and let's check that basketball game out.
" What's the deal? I thought you wanted to check out another club and get some of those pretty babes. Isn't that what you said?" Watching a men's basketball game outdoors was the last thing I wanted to do when there was a possibility of meeting a couple of nice looking gals. But I pulled over and allowed Ronnie his request.
Ronnie got out of the car and retrieved his guitar from the backseat. I stayed in the driver's seat and watched as he approached the basketball court. with his guitar strapped around his neck. I was reluctant to join him. I didn't want to interfere with the game. Secondly, all of the players were black and I didn't know how they would react if two white guys, especially one in a double-breasted suit strumming his guitar and singing, walked up and watched their game.
As Ronnie got closer to the court, I got the feeling I should be a little closer to him in case something happened, and I moved my car so that it was thirty yards away from the court. I got out and leaned against the front fender,hoping there would be no confrontations. That was the last thing I needed - to have my ass beaten to a pulp.
By the time Ronnie made it to court's edge, all of the ballplayers had turned their heads and were eyeing him suspiciously, but kept playing, and so did he. They did not seem to be overly distracted by him, even when he started walking up and down the sidelines, playing his guitar and doing a musical play-by play commentary of the game.
Vivid images formed in my mind as to what the players' reactions would be, and I braced for the worst. Instead of becoming annoyed or bent out of shape, however, the players became more aggressive and appeared more confident in their abilities. I would never dreamed of a better outcome. Minutes later, Ronnie walked up to the car to get another beer.
Shortly thereafter, the game broke up and five of the players came over to us, extending their hands to congratulate Ronnie for his fine tuned commentator's skills. Ronnie wasted no time. He introduced himself as a criminal attorney from Dallas. All eyes were fixed on him as he eloquently pontificated about his legal expertise: "I am so proud to be here tonight in the presence of such a fine group of aspiring, athletically inclined young men. I am adorned with recourse to politically facilitate to you the most intricate and highly publicized interactions within the law. Needless to say, you fine young men are representative of an enterprise that travels in a circle around the globe without the due respect or favor from our prospective and highly enlightened judicial capacities. I have traveled here today to give birth to a astute relaxation but nevertheless to promulgate the truth and formidable destruction tendering the inflexibilities within our crowned judicial system. It is my great pleasure and reward to bestow upon your personage the wonderfully wet and abundantly flavorful substance existing in a chilled bottle of beer."
With eyes wide and mouths agape, the players nodded their heads up and down in mesmerized fascination. They didn't realize that Ronnie had just offered them a beer. I had not said a word up to this point - not because I didn't want to but because trying to get a word in edgewise while Ronnie was talking was nearly impossible. When he stopped talking for a moment to take a drink, I introduced myself myself as Ronnie's friend and asked the players if they would like a beer.
"Sure man, that would be great. We really worked up a sweat playin'ball," one of the guys answered.
While Ronnie walked around the car to get the guys more beer, the tallest ballplayer stepped slightly forward and asked me, "Say man, this cat is really on fire. Is he a good lawyer down there in Dallas"?
I didn't want to perpetuate something that was not true but I didn't want to expose Ronnie as a fake, so I said. "I haven't known Ronnie very long but I know that he considers himself to be a very good attorney."
Ronnie handed out cold beers to everyone and for the next thirty minutes did ninety-nine percent of the talking. The ballplayers were thoroughly impressed with him. Of course, in Ronnie's mind this was nothing more than just having a good time, with no intention of doing any harm or causing any misgivings. On the other hand, there was a strong possibility that at that moment Ronnie himself believed that he was an attorney from Dallas.
That, then was how I remembered Ronnie.......
From pages 21,22 and part 23
Excerpt from "Journey Toward Justice" by Dennis Fritz
Copyright © 2006 by Seven Locks Press. Excerpted by permission of Seven Locks Press All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.