Ramsey (Ramsey-Eyes) Washington Blankenship
Ramsey (Ramsey-Eyes) Washington Blankenship, the elderly black custodian of the Cattleman’s Hotel. He is an obliging, amiable widower who finds the mumbo jumbo of the Knights of the White Magnolia more amusing than threatening. At seventy-five years of age, he is set in his ways and content with his simple life. He lacks racial bitterness, despite the fact that the Knights, excepting Colonel Kinkaid, treat him with contempt. Although slow and shuffling, he is not the ignorant and illiterate fool they take him to be. In the breakup of the last meeting of the Knights, it is Ramsey-Eyes who remains serenely dignified and triumphant.
Rufe Phelps, a refinery worker. Like most of the Knights, he is narrowly provincial, low-class, and poorly educated. At fifty-five years of age, married but childless, he values the socializing and sense of tradition afforded by the organization. He and Olin Potts, friendly enemies, wage a continual verbal battle. They enter arguing over horseshoes and set the mood for the eventual brawl and collapse of the order. Rufe is also the sponsor of Lonnie Roy McNeil, whose prospective membership infuriates Colonel Kinkaid and adds to the bickering.
Olin Potts, a cotton farmer. Like Rufe, and one year older, he is married but childless. Besides entering into spirited arguments with Rufe, he serves as the group’s genealogist. He is able to outline the lineage of nearly anyone in Bradleyville, Texas, but is abysmally misinformed about world events. He and Rufe exit as they entered, arguing over trivial things.
Red Grover, the owner of Red’s Place, a small bar and package store. Although a longtime resident of Bradleyville, he remains an outsider, having come from Mississippi. At the age of forty-eight, he...
(The entire section is 782 words.)