Saturday, August 19, 2006

I Think Sheriff Rhodes Could Take Lessons

There's a nice photo at the link.

The Herald Democrat: "Sheriff matches shirts, pistol grips

Odessa American

ODESSA, Texas (AP) — Ector County Sheriff Mark Donaldson has more fur in his office than your average herd of wildebeests.

Sitting in a thick wooden king-chair covered with bronze stars and hairy cowhide, Donaldson reigns at the Ector County Detention Center. He folds his hands, leans forward and peers out over his set mustache.

“I like to think that I’m hard-nosed with criminals,” Donaldson said. “The main thing I try to do is serve the public. To try to do things right and try to be as efficient as we can.”

Donaldson keeps his pistol right-hand ready. The long-time West Texas lawman isn’t afraid to take on bad guys and put them behind bars — and he’s not afraid to color coordinate either.

He makes it a daily habit to match his gun grips with his shirt — can you say purple and canary yellow?

“People always say, ’How many guns do you have?’ Donaldson said.

But the secret is in the grips.

Each day Donaldson covers one of his two 1970s-model Colt 1911 pistols with one of his 19 sets of gun grips. (At the time of the interview, he was waiting for an additional grip with an American flag and eagle design to arrive.) He screws one of the decorative grips onto a pistol handle before placing it in his black gun holster.

Donaldson chooses from a collection of grips made of wood or synthetic materials in colors like canary yellow, marbled blue, green, black, red, orange and brown.

“I’m not one of the white shirt people,” he said. “I like bright colors.”

Even John Wayne wore yellow gun grips, Donaldson reasoned. But the Duke fan draws the line on some shades.

“They make pink (gun grips), but I’m not going there,” he said. “I have pink shirts, but I just wear black with those.”

If a John Wayne doll, commemorative rifle, replica belt, framed drawing and even Wayne toilet paper in Donaldson’s office aren’t enough, Robert Hollmann, an Odessa author and attorney, can vouch for Donaldson’s dedication to the Duke.

“He dresses like John Wayne,” Hollmann said. “He even tries to walk like him I think.”"

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