PRICE 10 CENTS . . . . . . . ONLY ONE LOUSY THIN DIME
PACKET ONE OF POUCH FIVE
KINDNESS TO VARMINTS PACKET
PUBLISHED FOUR TIMES A YEAR
ONLY NEWSPAPER IN AMERICA YOU CAN OPEN IN THE WIND
DESERT RAT SCRAP BOOK PAGE 2
Smallest newspaper in the world and the only 5 page one.
Packet 1 of Pouch 5
This paper is not entered as 2nd class mail. It's a first class newspaper.
Published at Fort Oliver
1000 Palms, California
Four Times a Year
ON THE NEWS STANDS 10¢ A COPY
But sometimes they don't have them.
ONE YEAR BY MAIL—4 COPIES 50¢
Darned if I am going to the trouble of mailing it for nothing.
10 Years ................... $5.00
100 Years ................$50.00
Something to think about!
H A R R Y O L I V E R
Anything that's well done looks easy to do, said Paul Gilbert, boss printer at the Desert Magazine, as he spotted in the bullet hole in this issue.
Salt Lake City
Say you Old Desert Rat
Did you by any chance know a bright, little, brown-eyed newspaper woman in the old days by the name of AMY OLIVER? —I think I worked with her in Portland about '13 or '14.
L.B. —An Old Quad'Rat
This Editor is proud to say that AMY SILVER OLIVER was his sister.
Mercury — San Jose — 1913
News Tribune — Portland — 1914-15
Chronicle — San Francisco — 1916-18
Yes she was — bright, little, brown-eyed — and loved by all.
The Old Fort Is Haunted
I have had lots of trouble getting this paper out — this Old Fort is haunted — my daughter Amy says it's me and my friend "I. W. Harper," but I know it's those pesky Pack Rats, Type Lice, Laughing Lizards and for the last few weeks FLYS.
Early this summer I noted a large fly — many times and for many days. I tried to swat him, but he was always a little too smart for me — adding a new and larger screen to my fly swatter, I sat at my desk waiting for him — but as I waited I thought how important he had become, and I thought that if I did not have him to worry about I would be thinking of that drawer of unpaid bills, so when he lit on the desk, I just swatted a little unimportant fly along side him — to show him I could have got him.
Reader YOU ARE WASTING YOUR TIME. NOT ME — I got to fill these pages.
Said one angry skunk to another: "So do you!"
Here at the Old Fort people vex me coming as they do at all hours — that is they start vexing me — but after I talk a while I find I like 'em — an most always get a gag out of them before they go.
"There's that fly again!"
I AM A LITTLE ASHAMED
In Packet one of Pouch three your Editor in his "Editor's Prayer," asked the Lord to help him, as he did not want to get over-ambitious, to keep him from getting greedy. Also in the last regular Packet "Indian Stuff" Packet three of Pouch four I told you readers I was going to move up to End'o'line (California, Nevada and Arizona) and straddle the line of three states — Forget it, I ain't going — my children and grandchildren would not let me. The Joke Book you had (at no extra cost) was just a lazy way to get out a bigger book to sell the tourists at 25c. It made a lot of folks happy, the fellows that had sent in their stories and wanted copies to pass on to their friends, (I got more copies if you want them).
So from now on I am going to give you that 10c, 5 page Desert Rat paper you subscribed for, (and it's going to get better). "Whiskers" my dog has just pawed me, as if to say, "watch what you are saying" — makes me think, I work for you folks that pay me 50c a year, and I owe it to you to give you 5 good pages of reading matter each 3 months — this I will do from now on — but this summer my two Daughters Amy and Mary — Amy can spell and type — Mary is quite a showman — they both are showmen — well we sat down and re-edited my 35 Desert Short Stories( that I had dashed off in the last 30 years). Looking through dozens of old scrap books they have pieced together an outline of the life I have lived in the Desert — their story of my life was so good — well — you know — so's not to spoil it I added my Obituary and Epitath — and now I am a Ghost and you can buy the book for $3.00 post paid. — The title of the book is "THE OLD MIRAGE SALESMAN."
(See ad on page 4)
For years I have been just dying to do this — and I did!
"That fly should get out of here."
Desert Steve Ragsdale old time deputy sheriff tells about a time he was taking a prisoner to Riverside, having boarded the local at Mecca. A desert rat got on the train at Thermal and noticed Steve across the aisle with a handcuffed man.
"What's he done Steve?" asked the desert rat. Thermal and noticed Steve across the aisle with a handcuffed man.
"Bugs," Steve said, pointing to his head. "He's crazy." Thermal and noticed Steve across the aisle with a handcuffed man.
"Bugs in his head and his hands tied!" — yelled the desert rat, "No wonder he's CRAZY."
"Here's that fly over in this column - shoo!"
— Telling how he got along with people, said — "When they come to me for advice — why — I just find out what advice they want and give it to them, making them happy — as well as thinking me smart."
Sign on a highway in Nevada: "Cross road ahead. Better humor it."
A female katydid can never deny the male's charge that "Katy did." She has no sound equipment.
"You readers know I was going to forget that fly — would if he would let me —"
My Dog Whiskers
The best dog I ever worked for
Smart I am — and my dog Whiskers looks at me like he thinks I am getting old. We Old Prospectors just have our ways of doing things. I lost a little tiny screw out of my glasses — so I swept all the floors — put the sweepings in a gold-pan — poured in the water and panned for hours — till I found that little screw — but somehow while working I lost my glasses in that muddy mess — I have just put up 4 monuments — and slapped a placer-claim on my back yard — and by gee I will mine my glasses this coming week and prove to "Whiskers" the boss, I am smart — and a dam' good miner as well —
and this is another reason I am a little late with this packet.
PACKET 1, POUCH 5 Harry Oliver's DESERT RAT SCRAP BOOK PAGE 3
Along in the 90s an old prospector by the name of George Lutz and me was pokin' around over in that country around La Paz, Arizona, which took out millions of rich placer around the sixties. It was a ghost camp when we was there. But George was there when he was a young man and he knew how them miners slung their gold dust around in them boom days and how careless they was with it.
The two old doby saloon buildings was partly a standin' and they had ponchon floors which is split logs. Them split logs had big cracks when they dried and George had the idea that they ought to have a lot of gold dust in them from them old miners a sloppin their dust around when they got too much to drink, which was most of the time.
They carried their spendin' dust in a leather pouch for the bartender to take out a pinch. Yes sir, a whiskey was one pinch a drink and a pinch was what the bartender could hold between his thumb and forefinger. George says that a crooked bartender would grease his thumb so a lot more would stick on.
A bartender named Slim Blum would steal from the flush miners and then the funny thing was, he would turn around and give it to some poor broke miner. But he got so bad the boys had to do something about it. And George took me up on the little hill back of the town and showed me a big flat stone on which was chizzled the follerin:
"Here lays Slim Blum—
To his surprise,
A greasy thumb
Caused his demise."
"P.S.— With all his faults, he was a friend in need."
Me and George set fire to them log floors and then we gathered up all the ashes and some of the ground under the floors, packed it down to the Colorado river and washed out $450.00 in gold dust. And do you know when we got all that gold washed out and gathered together in the pan, I got to thinkin' about it and I didn't feel quite right about it.
' Said, "George do you realize that this here gold was born in iniquity and steeped in sin on the floors of a low down saloon. Kin anything good come of it?"
George says, "Well, we ain't a calculatin' on givin' it to the Church are we?"
Old Bill Williams
John C. Herr
Out in the middle of nowhere, two trains sped toward each other on the same track until they collided with a tremendous crash.
Reporters flocked to the scene, and one of them was questioning Cap, an old prospector, who was the only witness to the disaster.
"Tell me, Cap, what did you think when you saw those two trains collide?"
Cap drawled, "I thought that was one hell of a way to run a railroad."
Snow Creek Bert says, "I have a complex problem. I want to live long, so I can do the things I like; but I also know that if I do the things I like, I won't live long."
So what to do!
What animal is the fastest swimmer? In a swimming race between a duck, a turtle, a rabbit and an alligator, which would be your choice? At the Tokyo zoo recently, a swimming race between a variety of animals was held. A rabbit won it, an alligator, the favorite in the betting, was second. A turtle finished third and a duck fourth.
—E. V. Furling
Old Timers that have been caught in Desert floods know that a Jack Rabbit is about ¾ "out-board motor". —H.O.
The largest bird that flies today is the California Condor. It's wing spread is ten ft. It could fly to Florida in exactly — WHAT'S THE USE? — It don't want to go to Florida.
— you have had this before I know — but I like it, one of my best, I think. —H. O.
Ants are among the cleanest of all creatures. They lick themselves clean, cat-like.
The Rockologist, Chuckawall Slim, who operates his trailer rock store near Cathedral City, California, during the winter months, recounted to us recently a remarkable instance of the intelligence of that awkward seeming but speedy bird, the roadrunner — known here-abouts as Paisano.
"I was doing a little mining at the time," says Chuckawalla, "and had a tin can dump not far from my tent. The tin cans attracted a lot of flies and the flies in turn brought all the lizards out of the surrounding hills. Pretty soon a roadrunner came along, sized up the situation, and decided he'd hit a bonanza.
"He took up a claim and started swallowing lizards. Pretty soon he was a very fat bird, but the supply of lizards was almost used up. Then one day the roadrunner made a stab at a lizard and only got the tail. That came off and the rest of the lizard escaped into a hole.
"The roadrunner stood there a minute staring at the wriggling tail and then at the hole. Pretty soon he swallowed the tail. The next lizard he saw, he deliberately made a grab at the tail. It came off, and he gulped it down and made no attempt to catch the lizard. He caught on fast, that bird. He never swallowed another lizard whole; just took their tails and waited for them to grow another crop.
"He was doing fine when I moved on, and I'll bet he's there yet, living off the produce of his lizard farm."
—From Calico Print
Where you from "PODNER"
If you're a good enough marksman, you can kill a puma, brown tiger, cougar, catamount, silver lion, purple panther, mountain screamer, American lion, and mountain lion all with one shot.
No trick — these are just common names for a single animal, the "felis concolor", generally known as mountain lion.
—American Farm Youth
About 750,000 kinds of insects are known to science. In this country they eat 10 percent of all our food. The boll weevil reduces our cotton output by 15 percent.
In the summer of 1722 clouds of locusts invaded Southern California, and consumed every green thing. Short of food, the Indians ate the invaders. The locusts had their revenge. An epidemic decimated the tribes.
LAS VEGAS— Baby antelopes who refused to be wild are a problem to Frank Groves, agency manager. Transplanted here from Oregon last September and raised at refuge headquarters, Corn Creek ranch, they now are a year old — old enough, Groves thought, to make their own way in the world. Accordingly, he took them ten miles away, left them to forge for themselves in the desert and mountain area. P.S. — They beat him home. —Desert Magazine
Has been readin' my mail — He says "Most of you people that write your Editor are sure lookin' through rose-colored glasses." He says you should take a look — at the desert through rose-colored glasses for a change.
Rip walked into a bar in Indio, saw a desert rat lying on the floor, he pointed to him — said to the barkeeper — "Give me some of the same."
The Pack Rat's Nest
By ALLEN J. PAPEN, Glorieta, New Mexico
I camped with an old "desert rat" prospector, one night a few years ago, near Beaty, Nevada. While sitting around the campfire that evening he told me an interesting story of a pack rat.
He said he was pocket mining, as he called it. He occupied an old rock cabin close to his work. A family of pack rats lived close by. They often raided his cabin and following the habits of their kind, generally left something to replace what they had taken.
One night he left a quartz crystal lying on the table. The next morning the crystal was gone and in its place he found a gold nugget. The next evening he placed another crystal on the table. In the morning that was gone but a second nugget had taken its place. He then placed several crystals on the table. In the morning one crystal was missing but, there was another nugget. For several days, each moning a crystal was missing and a gold nugget had taken its place.
"By gosh," he said, "I got nervous. I thought that that rat had located a cache of gold ore. One nugget a day was too slow. I tried to locate the nest from whence these nuggets came but without success."
"How long did this replacing of crystals with gold nuggets continue?" I asked him.
"I got eight of them," he said, "before the rats were scared away by my search for their nest."
Spiders can live 5 years without eating and show no ill effects from lack of food!
The female tarantula lives to be 20 years old.
At ten she becomes a widow, for the life span of a female tarantula is twice that of a male.
At dusk during the summer, 3,000,000 bats swoop out of the Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico to forage for food.
In one night they consume about twelve tons of beetles and other pests.
The skunk is a dainty animal. Yea, as dainty as your cleanest house cat, that is, with the lesser smells.
Buffalo Bull, sends in this Red Mountain Story.
A stranger tied his horse at the rail near the window of Slim Riffle's Owl Cafe, and left to look over the crop of tomatoes. The horse put his head through the window and asked for a martini with a dash of horseradish. The bartender mixed it and handed it to him. The horse drank it smacking his lips.
"I suppose it strange," said the horse, "that I should ask for a martini with horseradish in it."
"Hell, no, said the bartender, "I like it that way myself."
The Young Firefly's First Spark
A young lightning bug was about to make his first attempt at "lighting up." In the meantime dark massive clouds were gathering overhead, and just as the little firefly lit up, a tremendolus streak of lightning shot across the sky. "Holy smoke!" he exclaimed. "Look at what I did!"
—Told by Calico Fred
Mike Bernett of Tensleep, Wyoming, had no idea of making history back in the fall of 1883. All Mike wanted to make at that time was a horsehair checkrein for a wild bronco. He was short of material and, being a resourceful man, he chopped the tails off five Indian ponies.
It developed that removal of the tails was a serious breach of conduct, as the only time an Indian bobbed his pony's tail was when he was mourning the death of someone. As there was no death to mourn, the Indians decided the only way to bring things to a balanced conclusion was to kill Mike. But lucky for Mike, the Indians weren't able to catch him.
However, Mike was killed several years later by a posse of ranchers. The ranchers accused him of stealing a horse, Not just the tail. A whole horse.
Bill Jennings — tells how the Mission Indians got drunk — they would eat a vine-ful of green muscat grapes then lay in the sun for three days.
Overheard at the Cliff House at Newberry Springs.
1st Old Timer — "Ain't seen Slim around lately."
2nd Old Timer — "Neither Have I, wonder what could have happened to him?"
1st Old Timer — "Must have disagreed with something that ate him."
—H. D. Green
One day Papa Hog wandered down the gulch and came across a big puddle of sour beer which a brewery had discarded. He guzzled and guzzled. Finally he staggered home in high spirits, squealing "Sweet Adeline" at the top of his voice.
Mamma Hog whisked the baby porkers off to bed, and then snorted:
"Shame on you, Henry Hog, making such a human being of yourself before the children."
A rabbit in the garden? Get me my gun, Blackie."
"But sir, it's five in the morning. Everybody is asleep."
"That's all right. I'll fire on tiptoe."
Field Trip to 29 Palms
An absent-minded U.C.L.A. professor of biology said to his field class:
"I am now going to show you a very fine specimen of a dissectred frog which I have in this parcel.
Unwrapping the parcel he found that it contained a sandwich, a hard-boiled egg, and some fruit. He scratched his head in bewilderment, and muttered:
"But I know I've already eaten my lunch."
WHAT MAKES THE PORCU-PINE?
By S. Omar Barker
Sir Porcupine, on mountain's height,
Often whimpers in the night.
This is his own peculiar habit,
Not shared by happy Mr. Rabbit,
Who does not find his own love making
Quite such a prickly undertaking!
My Neck Is Out
An Editor and Publisher of a Desert Rat Humor Newspaper must be as hardshelled as the Desert Tortoise, and like the introvert of the reptile kingdom, must have perseverance. It is said that the Desert Tortoise will live a hundred years — this Editor don't hope for that! The Tortoise has a "tank complex" and will struggle and ram against interfering obstacles in an effort to push on. This, and the fact that we both must stick our necks out to get anywhere kind of makes us birds of a feather. Besides, we both like the Desert best — come Hell or high water.
Yes, you bet, I'll crawl along with my hard-shelled friend, and like it.
From the now rare packet 2 of pouch 1 of 1946.
That "tank Complex" payed off and with a Tortoise story too —Yes— I made B. A. Botkin's — $4.00 — 800 page — Treasury of WESTERN FOLKLORE — page 638 — and my neck is out for more.
Page 4 KINDNESS TO ANIMALS PACKET
This Page is Dedicated to the World's Greatest Optimist The Desert Prospector
DESERT RAT Scrap Book
THE ESCUTCHEON OF FORT OLIVER
The Battle of Utah
An American history teacher was quizzing the class concerning the origin of famous sayings of famous Americans.
Teacher: "Who was it that said 'Give me liberty or give me death'?"
Class: "Patrick Henry."
Teacher: "Who said "This country with its institutions belongs to the people who inhabit it.'?"
Class: "Lincoln, in his first inaugural address."
Teacher: "And who was it that said 'Don't shoot until you see the whites of their eyes.'?" No one answered immediately; finally one member of the class asked "Was it Brigham Young?"
—Walter S. Hughes of Ojai
Says Foxtail Johnson in the Arizona Farmer: "The tenderfoot that bought the Bar XX spread got ambishus when he saw a picture of the Mizoory mule that was grand champion at the American Royal. He ordered his foreman to buy a son or daughter of that mule, irregardless of cost."
Reminds us of the congressman who, during the depression, proposed that every southern sharecropper be given 10 acres of land, a plow and a mule in foal.
U. S. Army Mule
This is an old Army story, but a good one. A shipment of mules had just arrived and a soldier made the mistake of getting too close to the rear end of one. His comerades caught him on the fly, placed him on a stretcher and started for the hospital. On the way the soldier came to. He gazed at the sky overhead and felt the swaying motion of the stretcher. Feebly he lowered his hand over the side to find nothing but space.
"MY GOD!" he groaned, "I HAVEN'T EVEN HIT THE GROUND YET."
The Newsmen in Korea were wont to laugh at China's use of camels — The old time Army men prayed for the return of the Army Mule in that rough rocky Mpountainous country.
A Mule will pack as much as 20 G.I.'s and go up the side of a mountain that a jeep wouldn't even look at.
The army mule is a marvelous animal, but he's finished, laments Gen. J. Lawton Collins, chief of staff. "I've never seen him do anything that a jeep or bulldozer can't do better." Well, general — ever see either of those contraptions open its mouth to bray?
A news item: "From the Bureau of the Census last week went out a solemn memo to museum directors advising them that the U.S. had 389,045 Missouri mules in 1920; only 63,223 in 1950."
Not counting of course those in Washington D.C.
IF PEOPLE ONLY KNEW
I told Rip-Snortin' the old time prospector that he'd ruin his stomach drinking his vile home made stuff! — "Nivver mind, nivver mind — it won't show with me pants on."
As a pioneer editor of Hangtown said, when the mob decided not to hang him, "No noose is good noose!"
Stopped to see the oldest oil well in Southern California. Was told that an old timer had been watchman for 40 years; sorta figgered he was the man who could give me its history and the low down about when California was a gory, glorious untapped store of black gold.
Seated on a prostrate walking beam was the watchman. As I approached he put his fingers to his lips — "Shhh" — he said — "see her?" — "There she is!" — I looked where he pointed — emerging from an ancient drill hole was a horned toad! "Her young are about to hatch," he said, "last year she didn't lay eggs, but gave birth to her young; she can't always make up her mind — see?" — "Horned toads cover themselves in the sand with nothin' but their little knobby eyes showin" above the surface," he said, "but I watch 'em and don't believe I ever stepped on one — these 40 years."
says where you find a mink at in Washington you're liable to find skunk.
SAVE THE FORESTS
The lecturer on forest conservation was loudly berating the general public for its indifference to the preservation of our timber resources.
"I don't suppose," he declared, "there is a single person here tonight who has done a single thing toward conserving our timber supply."
After a monentary silence, a meek voice spoke up from the rear, "I did. I once shot a woodpecker."
A rancher near Lancaster, heard that turkeys would eat grasshoppers; so he turned his flock loose in the fields. The turkeys came back bare; the grasshoppers ate the feathers off them, he says.
Captain Catnip Ashby was discussing the belief that after a person dies he comes back to this earth in the form of some animal. Jake Topper said he didn't like that idea — he might come back as a worm.
The Captain assured Jake there was no danger of that — you never come back the same as you were.
An old Newspaper, published in 1848 was found in the Garret of an old desert shack. The paper is framed and is in the Pony Express Museum. The following letter is printed in the paper:
"Come right off if you are comin' at all, as Silas Haimes is 'sistin' that I shall have him and he hugs and kisses me so continuously that I can't hold out much longer. I must have him or you very quick fer my feelin's sich that I must git me a feller before next winter. I jist can't stand it nohow much longer.
Sally Ann P."
The Museum comments, "Red Hot Mama in 1848. Mae West was an iceberg as compared with this ancient Cleopatra."
—Thanks to Tom New of Santa Monica
Eagle Delivers Goose;
Now Sam McGehee Can Eat with No Pellets in His Palate
Some of the screwiest things happen around Wickenburg.
If we didn't know that the Sam McGehees were honest people we'd be prone to throw this yarn on the town dump. But it did happen.
SAM was out at his Divide Ranch, 14 miles west of town, last week and decided to look over one of his tanks. Some wild geese were enjoying a swim until Sam came on the scene when they took to the air. When they were some 800 to 1,000 feet overhead an eagle swooped down and sunk his claws into one goose.
A GOOSE being about as heavy as an eagle, it seems the eagle didn't have enough eagle-power to negotiate the goose and not enough sense to turn loose so eagle and goose came tumbling down.
ALL Sam had to do was frighten the eagle away and pick up the goose. And on Saturday, when wife Peggy knocks off at noon from her city hall work, she'll fix up the stuffing and on Sunday the McGehees will feast on wild goose with no danger of getting pellets in their palates.
—The Sun, Wickenburg
In 1885 Pennsylvania enacted a law authorizing payment of 50 cents bounty for a hawk or owl scalp. Thousands were brought in and over $90,000 was paid to hunters. At the end of two years, farmers found that field crops and orchards were over-run by rats, mice and other rodents, and the law was repealed. The hawk law cost farmers an estimated two million dollars.
OLD ABE DIED IN 1881
By Chas. Lockwood
EDITOR'S NOTE — Your Old Editor seldom goes out in the desert hills but what he sees an eagle or two. When he sees one of these wonderful birds it always reminds him of the story regarding the most famous eagle of all. So therefore, your Editor asked Mr. Lockwood, who is also familiar with the tale, to set it down in article form so that it might be published in these pages. The story follows.
Yes, "Old Abe" died in 1881.
"Wait a minute — wait a minute! I hear you say. "If you are thinking of the 'Old Abe' that I'm thinking of — you're wrong — he was assassinated in 1865."
To this I definitely agree — Abe Lincoln did die in 1865, but I still say that "Old Abe" died in 1881. But that's ahead of the story — let's start at the beginning.
It seems that in 1861, a band of Flambeau Indians (Chippewa Tribe) were canoeing down the Jump River in Wisconsin, for the purpose of contacting settlers with whom they intended to barter some maple sugar for food. Presently they came to a churning falls, below which, as if it were a bright silver dollar, lay a small serene lake. The band of Indians laboriously portaged the falls and agiley launched their boats on the placid waters. Now it happened that Blue Sky, chief of the Indians, saw a great eagle swoop down upon an unsuspecting hawk which had been fishing in the lake. The hawk was so frightened that it dropped the fish it was carrying. The eagle majestically glided down and without landing, scooped up the fish in its sharp claws and quickly soared into the air. Blue Sky, a young and alert chief, was as inquisitive as a kitten and he watched the bird carry the fish to its nest in the tip of a tall tree.
It was a native American bald eagle for the feathers on his head and neck, were grayish white. He was nearly the size of a Thanksgiving turkey.
Alone, Blue Sky paddled toward the shore, and when the bald eagle again soared off in search of food, he climbed the tree and took two young ones out of the nest. After this Blue Sky and his followers continued across the lake and down another stream. The first settler place they came to was that of Dan McCanns. The Indians were hungry and asked for something to eat. Mrs. McCanns gave them some food that she had on hand, but they still weren't satisfied. Corn planting time was just over, and the McCannses had a half bushel of the seed in a sack. The Indians tried to trade their maple sugar for the corn, but as the McCanns made their own sugar, they couldn't strike a bargain. The Indians still persisted and at last a deal was made: They'd trade one the young eagles for the corn. This was the beginning of a noble career for a noble bird.
This happened just as the Civil War was getting under way and after the young eagle had grown considerably, McCanns decided to give it to the 8th Wisconsin Volunteers as a living symbol of the freedom of our country. Accordingly, McCanns took the bird to Eau Claire, where he offered it to the soldiers as a mascot. The leader of Co. C, one Captain Perkins, turned the offer down, but after McCanns put the growing eagle through a few tricks which he had taught it, Capt. Perkins decided to acquiesce to the desires of his men and allow the bird to remain. Immediately thereupon, Company C, which had been known as the Badger Company, changed its name to the Eagle Company, which, to McCanns, was very pleasing.
The eagle took to army camp life like a hummingbird takes to honey. It was secured by a fish line attached to one leg, so that it had plenty of room to move about, but could not escape. As if it were a strange dog finding a friend, it took a liking to one of the soldiers named Jimmie McGinnis, so he automatically became its master. It would eat from no one else and when Jimmie was around, the bird would be found, still restricted by its leash, on McGinnis' shoulder. The trooper became so fond of the creature, that he made a red, white and blue shield and placed it upon a pole, for the bird's perch. When the soldiers marched it was carried by Jimmie at the left of the Colors. Crowds cheered the feathered aristocrat whenever it appeared and, in fact, it caused more comment than the soldiers themselves.
By this time the eagle had grown full sized and his feathers were the dark brown of a chocolate bar. The highlights on his coat shown like gold in the sun. He had the native bald head and his tail was white with black spots. His claws were a shiny black and were in direct contrast to the yellow of his legs. Ten and a half pounds was his total weight, but when anything angered him he ruffled his feathers and looked twice as large. His wing spread was 6½ feet.
The great eagle seemed to like soldiers and martial music — he would flap his wings and make a strange whistling sound when the band played. The officers always made it a habit to salute him when they passed.
The regiment finally marched off to battle on the 12th of October 1861. At the first boom of he cannon, the powerful bird flew from his perch so hard that he broke the cord that held him. Whereupon he sailed into the bullet laden air above the battlefield. The soldiers thought that that was the last they would ever see of him, but every once in a while, and above the roar of the guns, his wild screaming could be heard overhead. This thrilled the soldiers and spurred them on to greater efforts. When the battle was over, the eagle could be seen circling high in the sky above, but presently he came gliding down and settled upon his perch. He was never tied after that and he always returned. After each battle he'd march among the soldiers, fanning his feathers and seemingly chuckling as if he were saying, "Good fight, boys, good fight."
When the regiment was on the march, he'd often sail on high to hunt and fish, and when he came back he was always cheered by the troops. The Confederates particularly hated the loyal bird and disrespectfully referred to it as the "Yankee Buzzard." General Price, (Confederate) was strongly affected by the presence of the eagle with the opposing army, and ordered it captured or shot at the first chance. He further said, "I would rather capture that bird than a whole regiment of Union soldiers. But regardless of this attitude of the Confederates, the bald eagle went through the entire war and survived 42 battles. He returned to his company after each skirmish and never once landed in any other camp. The noble creature had several narrow squeaks and a time or two, lost some of his feathers, but he was never hit.
After the War, on the 26th day of September 1864, the magnificent eagle was given to the State of Wisconsin, where he lived 17 years longer in the State House at Madison. His wartime master, Jimmie McGinnis had him on display at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition in 1876, and told "Old Abe's" story to many thousands of people. For "Old Abe," in honor of Abe Lincoln, was what the bird had been christened at the beginning of the War.
So you can see that I was correct, when I said that "Old Abe" died in 1881. His death was due to a fire that started in the State house. The bird was rescued from the flames, but the smoke and fumes had their effect on him. He died about a month later. A few of his old buddies were present at his passing while he was being held by his State House keeper. The body was stuffed and placed on his army perch in a handsome glass case. To anyone who saw him, he looked as if he were about to take off, as he did in the war days. "Old Abe," like the celebrity that he was, remained one of the most interesting sights in Madison, but it seemed that fire was still to be his final doom, for the State House again caught fire in 1904 and "Old Abe's" body disappeared in the flames. But this wonderful eagle will not be forgotten — he will remain a a symbol of loyalty and freedom for all
Being a Hero Is a Lifetime Job
IT WAS day break, July 5 — the night policeman dozed on a bench in Prescott's town square — the streets were strewn with evidence of a gay 4th. The policeman muttered something about doing a 24-hour shift — then he heard two shots, close by, at the other side of the square. Through the trees he saw a man walking stealthily with a shot gun in his hands — and as the policeman approached keeping a few trees between himself and the gunman — he noticed that he was wearing a Spanish-American War uniforn — "by GEE" it was old Chloride Smith of Jerome — and thinking as how Chloride was an easy going old galoot, except when aruging about the Spanish-American War, he stepped out of the trees, saying: "Look here Chloride, this ain't the 4th — come now, give me the gun." Smith handed the policeman the gun muttering, "I got the leader, you bet I got that son of a gun." The policeman, thinking it best to humor the old timer, answered, "You got the Commanding Officer all right, all right — let's take the gun over to the station — let's tell the boys of your new victory."
The day-shift policeman at the station greeted old Chloride Smith, and asked what he had done. The night man, standing behind Smith made the customary sign, a circling of the hand that means "NUTS." "He won the war all over again — you fellows decorate him and wire Teddy Roosevelt — I am going home to get some sleep."
"Well Chloride," said the Sergeant — "suppose you tell us all about it; say, Pete, call the Judge and better get Doc over too. As they sat, Smith started his story: "I guess you don't all know, that for the last 20 years I have come to town on the 3rd of July, borrowed a ladder and washed off the statue of Captain Bucky O'Neal, our hero of the Spanish-American War.
"Yesterday while all those speakers was speaking, I noticed them goddam pigeons — there was one, a big blue one, that was the leader, and he always lit right on the Captain's nose. So last night I just watched where he went to roost and got up early this morning and shot the disrespectful son-of-a-gun."
"You know I was the Trumpeter of Co. 'A'."
"Yes, yes, O.K. Chloride, here's your gun, better go home. We will all be out, come quail time; keep your powder dry, soldier." The Judge, Doc, and the Sergeant stood at attention at the old timer saluted, clicked his heals, and marched out the door.
Walter (P.T. Barnum) Knott
Engine No. 41 of Ghost Town and Calico Railway, Ghost Town, Buena Park, Orange county, with her string of coaches, will bring back memories of by-gone days to many, when narrow gauge lines were a familiar sight in California.
Knowing that time and wear were making great inroads on the narrow gauges, Walter Knott purchased one of the last complete trains in running condition. After completely overhauling and painting it, it is now operating on a three-quarter mile track in Ghost Town near Buena Park.
The engine of this train was built by the Baldwin Locomotive works in 1880 and was placed in service on the narrow gauge lines operating in the then booming mining district of S. W. Colorado where it hauled fabulously rich ore from the San Juan mining district to the mills and smelters. Passengers were also transported in the quaint old parlor cars furnished with individual revolving plush seats.
Melba Krause of Melba's Palm Village Malt Shop in Palm Desert, has this Burro Story to tell.
It is a fine thing to have two burros for play mates when you are eleven years old, especially if you live high up in the mountains (Near Truckee) where there are no other children.
I did not actually think this as a thought but knew it as an intangible something that is just there.
I sat on a stump in the shade of a pine tree and watch Kate patiently roll a tin can under her little hoof until the wrapper wore loose, paper being a choice tid-bit.
Her appetite for paper was so strong that she had learned to open any kind of a latch within her reach, chiefly the one on the little tree shaded outhouse at the end of a short trail. I remember with nostalgia the broom handle with a spike driven at right angles on one end of it that leaned against the wall outside the door for my own personal use as a lever to maneuver the latch which was placed too high for my small stature and out of Kate's reach. Newspapers were passed on and on but Sears were precious and Kate must wait until only the slick colored pages were left.
Kate was arrogant and tricky and a tease. Jack was docile and a little shy but an inveterate prankster. His favorite prank was to hide when I hunted him. He would stand quietly in the shaded bushes where his colors melted into his surroundings while I hunted and called and coaxed. Finally I would try his own game and squat behind a bush and peer out in all directions hoping he would think me gone and come out when suddenly I would be startled beyond movement or speech. My tongue would be thick and my knees wobbly as he stood directly behind me emitting his ear splitting bray. My eyes would fill with tears of exasperation while he stood quietly and let me put the halter on him. I knew he was tremendously amused.
Once on our way, he would trot along happily and innocently until he spotted a low limbed tree near our course of travel. If I were not alert and watchful I would be neatly and unsuspectingly scraped off his back. Usually he would politely wait for me a few steps away. Once in a while he would make me walk almost all the way home, staying just within sight ahead of me. When we were almost within sight of the house he would wait for me, why, I don't know.
I think the only time we were ever really and truly angry at them and seriously considered banishing them was when Kate ate our mail.
Mother had taken a trip to the city and was to send money back to us after cashing our pay checks. Mail came to our mountain cabin by horse back once a week, and of course was always awaited with eagerness.
Mail day finally arrived and excitement was high and cash low as we heard the mail man gallup in and throw the mail on the table under the trees in the yard and gallup noisily away. We all made a fast dash for the table but Kate was already there — and she had the letter — just the return address sticking out of her mouth. The more we coaxed and begged and pulled and tugged and protested loudly the tighter she clamped her teeth. Each time we swatted her stubborn carcass she would move her lower jaw forward and back and there would be less letter and less hope of recovering it. Finally it was completely gone. We stood dumbfounded, unable to utter another word of protest. Kate ambled away smuggly munching our coveted letter.
A few feet away from us, she looked back over her shoulder — a little disdainfully, I thought.
As she disappeared behind a bush I heard my dad say under his breath "I wonder if she is worth forty dollars."
P.S. The money was not in the letter. Mother came home the next day with a phonograph. It had a bright red horn with blue morning glories on it!
THE INDIO DATE PALM
Tells this story about Russ Nicoll
Nicoll has a large date garden of his own. Among his trees is one of the most famous in America. 50 foot tall, "Old King Solomon." This male date palm was imported from the Arabian desert and weighed five tons when brought into the country. It produces enough pollen to fertilize 400 female date palms each year. Nicoll call this process "the marriage of the palms."
Without the male tree, the females, which bear the fruit, would produce nothing. The pollination of the female palm is done manually, the pollen from the male tree being tied in the blossoms of the female.
One day he was explaining to a gorup of tourists about the male and female trees. They were standing by "King Solomon" and Russ told what a prolific old roue the Arabian palm had been. He said this great-granddaddy of them all had pollinated more than 400 female palms each season for years.
One of the women in the group then said: "My, my, isn't that wonderful. But how do you move Solomon around to all those female trees?"
Only One World Famous
11 Miles South of Indio on Highway 99
or Please Mail Your Order
1-lb. Finest Dates and Confections, $1.30
3-lbs. Finest Dates and Confections, $3.50
Including Delivery — write for Folder
VALERIE JEAN DATE SHOP
Life Is Dull—Spontaneity Is Dead!
Everything today must go to the committee. Be checked by the heads of the department — okayed by the council — passed by the Union — taken up with the so and so, passed and inspected, red tape — carbon copies — rule — routine — groove — I could add a lot more words, but they are words that don't belong to this desert life I live. Today most people think like a rubber stamp — Your Editor has no red tape to go through. That is why some of my stuff stinks — But also why, sometimes there is a bit of spontaneity in it.
Lost Man Saved by Cat
Chicago Tribune Press Service
SYDNEY, Australia, March 8, 1952. Lost for five days in the New South Wales bush, Derrell Chute, 35, found a cat in a rabbit trap and released it. The cat let him out of the bush and to a homestead.
Your Editor after years in the hermit business —is starting anew in the Ghost Business — (see page 104) of his new, BIG BOOK — "The Old Mirage Salesman" — THUMB THROUGH IT AT THE WESTERN BOOK SHOPS — or send $3.00 to Harry The Ghost, Old Fort Oliver.
If unfortunate and live in California add 9c tax — (The state made up of book-keepers — that stop us DO'ERS.)
LOST DESERT GOLD
By Ralph L. Caine
The Pegleg and Other Lost Mines
Geology, Photos, Maps of "Pegleg Country"
P.O. Box Foy Sta. 17162
LOS ANGELES CALIFORNIA
For Tales and Trails
of the Desert West Read the NEW
Published Every Other Month
Lost Mines, Ghost Towns, Humor, Geology,
Gems, Minerals, History, Folklore, Wildlife of
the Desert West
Edited by Harold and Lucile Weight
29 Palms, California
One Year—$1.50 Single Copy 30c
From Desert Rat Scrap Book
THE BEST STORIES OF 50
Shortened to Shorter Than Short
and Packed into 36 Pages
Send 25c to Harry at Old Fort Oliver
Thousand Palms, California
Better say Joke Book or he will send
two and a half Desert Rat Scrap Books
"Gee" This Is Me!
DESERT RAT SCRAP BOOK 5
TRY TO ACT LIKE AN ANIMAL FOR A CHANGE
Sure to win you many new friends
YUMA'S (Red Cross) Mosquitos
The Old Hermit sat on the bank of the Colorado River. A mosquito lit on his nose — he winked at me as I said "swat him" — not till after the mosquito drank his fill did the old hermit speak, "skeeters are my friends, yes, I'll tell you why I don't swat 'em. One night I was bitten by a rattlesnake on the shoulder blade, there was nothing I could do so I just found a soft spot in the sand and laid down to die. The world seemed to fade away as that poison took effect, and I thought I was sure a dead hermit.
The next morning I woke up, and was sure surprised to find myself still alive. I noticed that on both sides of me the sand was covered with millions of dead mosquitos. They had bitten me so ferociously during the night that they had sucked all the poison out of my body, which was fatal for them, but saved my life.
"Give me another drink, that last skeeter pumped me dry working on this red beak of mine." —smart wasn't he?
"The gnats are driving us gnuts."
—Mary Paige, Wickenburg Sun
First Dog: See those posts they have just put up all the way down the streets? They are parking meters.
Second Dog: Oh so we gotta pay now?
In Texas It's Four to an Egg
but that's Texas for you. Yes the Armadillo has four young at a time, they all come from one egg — identical quadruplets.
Englishman: "What's that bloomin' noise I 'ear this time at night?"
American: "Why, that's an owl."
Englishman: "Of course it is, but 'oo's 'owling?"
A bee's stinging apparatus actually measures only 1/32 of an inch. The other two feet are pure imagination.
The owl is the only "bird" that can stay out all night without feeling sophisticated.
Dry Camp Blackie says, "A dragonfly can fly with one wing torn completely off."—
Blackie is a bad, bad boy.
Mixed birds — The stork delivered a fine baby boy to Mr. and Mrs. C. E. Buzzard of Grass Valley, Calif., one day last week.
The tarantula hawk, a giant wasp, not only kills the tarantula but drags the body into the tarantula's own home — to provide food for the hawk's young.
All text was hand-entered (no OCR scans) by Ric Carter (all of Harry's misspellings retained). Dick Oakes did the layout, markup and graphics reproduction, but not the contents, which remain the property of Bill Powers and his heirs.