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Donna Krebbs  in Dallas

When the book was published in early 1982, it met with a deluge of wonderful reviews across the country. Despite, or maybe because of, the nightmare going on at home-Ray was drinking around the clock-Donna went out and promoted the book. Soon it soared up to number five on the national bestseller lists. Chapman & Whitnow quickly offered her another contract, this for Sam Culver: The Early Years, and Donna tried to concentrate on this new book while her husband seemed bent on destroying himself. It wasn't as if she hadn't tried to talk with Ray; he just wasn't in his right mind.

Ray and Donna Krebbs in Dallas When Donna was set up by JR to find Ray in bed at a motel with his old girlfriend Bonnie, Donna was heartsick, but, like the best of her ancestors in the Old West, she decided to take matters in her own hands. She con fronted Bonnie and offered her money to leave the state of Texas. As a reply, Bonnie threw a drink in her face, so Donna just flattened her out on the bar floor with one punch. Then she marched home and told Ray that she still loved him, no matter what, and that was the way things were. No matter what he did, that's how she felt, and she would take him any way she found him. Miraculously, the message apparently penetrated Ray's fog-and not so surprisingly, Donna's message to Bonnie got through as well, for she steered clear of Ray

Donna went away to do some research on Sam Culver, giving Ray a few days to think things over. On the trip, she discovered the whole story about Sam and Jock Ewing having committed poor old Jonas Culver to a sanatorium back in 1930. She was horrified by the revelations in Sam's diary and called Ray to tell him the news, To her surprise, Ray offered to help, and even told her that he loved her, Well, that was one problem solved, but it was replaced by another. What should Donna do with this information? Tell the world that Sam Culver and Jock Ewing made their fortunes by pushing an old man to kill himself? She decided that she better talk to Miss Ellie.

Donna was nervous about her talk with Ellie, and her fears were realized. Still unable to accept Jock's death, Ellie lashed out at her, accusing her of printing lies about her husband. And then, snap, like that, Ellie refused to acknowledge Donna's existence. It was overboard behavior, but those days around Southfork were fraught with deceit and ill will and it was all taking its toll on Ellie. Donna was so upset by Ellie's response that she was prepared to call off the whole book. In late spring, Ellie came to terms with Jock's death and she apologized to Donna for the rift she had caused. She told her to proceed with the book, saying that Jock was a good man, but mortal too, and that he had made a mistake, one that shouldn't be concealed. In September 1982, Donna finished The Early Years and wanted to deliver the "box full of my blood, sweat, and tears"-containing a manuscript of over six hundred pages-directly into the hands of her editor in New York, but the Krebbses were called away to Emporia for Amos Krebbs's funeral, and they had to cancel their trip. After they returned from Kansas, Donna was terribly restless. She had no book to work on, nor a job. Dave Culver, as a U.S. Senator, asked her to get involved with a political group that was looking into the effectiveness of the state's Office of Land Management. Donna was swept right into the middle of things, as the group claimed there was corruption in the Office. In particular, it was evident that the head of the Office, Walter Driscoll-who had recently disappeared on an extended vacation-had been illegally catering to the needs of J. R. Ewing, granting him a special variance that permitted him to pump hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil over what state regulation allowed. The committee felt it would be in the best interests of the public if they simply disbanded the Office and started afresh with a new agency, complete with new people. The committee drew up a set of proposed guidelines for the agency-the Texas Energy Commission-whose function would be to watchdog the oil industry on behalf of the state of Texas and its people, and Donna helped Dave Culver push the agency bill through the State Senate. However, the Senate approved it on the condition that Donna Culver Krebbs herself would be on the commission in its early stages. Donna checked with Miss Ellie-since it meant for sure that she would have to meet JR head-on-and Ellie gave her full approval. And so the Texas Energy Commission was born, with Donna, Elmer Lawrence, George Hicks, Henry Figueroa, and Doug Reed as its members. Their first job, in Donna's opinion, was to revoke JR's outrageous variance.

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