This letter is a personal favorite of mine. I had a very good friend that I used to call or visit every year at noon on Christmas day and read him this letter. This was a tradition of ours for 18 years until he died in a motorcycle accident. I will always have much love for this letter. RIP Bobbo.
TO GEORGE LOGAN:
Logan was the son of an eminent Kentucky judge and a childhood friend of Hunter and was attending Williams College in Massachusetts.
December 14, 1957
1220 Allegheny Street
Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania
Well lad, I wouldn't have written at this particular time, had I not, only a moment before, been thrown into an orgasm of spiritual glee by the sound of Jesus tapping out a message of Christmas cheer on my dirty window-pane. And with this heavenly tapping, there came a sound so pious, so blessed, and so moving, that I was lifted completely out of myself and into the realm of the ethereal.
I had just finished the orgasm brought on by the Saviors tapping, when I heard a song. On unsteady legs, I struggled to the window and saw, to my great joy, a truck - a Salvation Army truck. On top of this truck there was mounted a speaker, and out of it came sounds of a most unearthly nature. I recognized some of the "old songs"; some of the old and stirring melodies I sang as a wee lad when I caroled in the streets with my drunken uncles.
I was moved, George: I was lifted out of myself and up . . . up . . . up . . . up . . . and up. I was soon perched - in nothing but my shorts and tennis shoes - on a cloud of smog, overlooking the filthy community called Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania. And I was not alone on this cloud: to my left was H. L. Mencken; to my right was George Bernard Shaw; and slumped on a particularly smoggy ledge was Westbrook Pegler. And over the entire scene stood William [Billy] Graham, scepter in hand, a crazed look in his eye, and a red judo belt wrapped snugly around his groin.
Nothing was said. We looked nervously at the scene below. The entire town seemed to shimmer in the night - emitting a certain pious glow which only the smallest and most complacently ignorant town can emit. Pegler vomited over the side.
"Jesus, look at that place," muttered Mencken. "It's enough to make a man pray for a plague of maggots."
"Shut up! you dirty bastard," screamed Graham. "I get seven hundred and forty-four tax-free dollars every year from those people. That's a good, typical American community. Those fine people are determined to hear the word of god - even to the point of paying for it. And they'll listen to nothing else, by Christ! That's the kind of town we need more of."
"Bullshit," said Pegler, wiping his mouth. "that's all you are, Graham - bullshit. . . . I hope I got that Salvation Army truck: I think I made the correct adjustments for the wind-speed."
"Nobody," said Shaw in a slow and sorrowful voice, "with a grain of sense, would live in that place for more than a month. It is without a doubt one of the most frighteningly desolate sights in the western hemisphere."
Suddenly, the cloud shot upward to avoid smashing into a coal hill rising out of nowhere into the black sky. I felt myself rolling over the side. Not having time to utter a polite farewell, I recalled their words and howled a loud and heartfelt "Amen."
I trust you get this message. Let me know when "little Logan" is born and tell Nonie "hello" for me. Cheerio.
If you liked this letter and wish to see more I urge you to Follow me/upvote/resteem as I will be posting more HST letters and as soon as I gain some more bandwidth I will be diving right into Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, so stay tuned.
Here's the links to the other posts in the Letters series -
Open Letter to the Youth of our Nation -