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PACKET TWO OF POUCH EIGHT
HOW TO BE A FULL-TIME IDEALIST
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How To Be A Desert Rat And Like ItPage 2
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Packet 2 of Pouch 8
Published at Fort Oliver
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H A R R Y O L I V E R
1888 — 1999
A paper that grows on you as you as you turn each page . . . excepting page 5
Pictures are by the author, many of them are woodcuts.
I did all but the spelling.
Not one of these names or places is COINCIDENTAL.
THIS IS IT!
Don't worry about reincarnation — without it you would have to stay a long time in hell. Someone once said that old age is not so bad when you think of the alternative.
Only the rich can be eccentric. The poor have to be satisfied with being nuts.
* * *
Crazy as a Burro with quicksilver in his ears.
Offered in answer to a letter from Mr. Will Wine of Vinegar Hill.
HOW TO BE A LOCAL WIT
In One Condensed Lesson
I believe that anyone with a sincere, all-out desire to make a name as a wit can do so.
Just putting together a lot of jokes won't do it; you must have an "Anchor," a spot well chosen and colorfully named—like Dick Wick Hall's—"Salome" or Abe Martin's—"Brown County" (you might do even better), but get a title with pixy-like contrast—easy to remember, like (Rock Candy Mountains?) or some glorified name for your own—Desert Valley—Rural Cross-Roads—or City Corner. This is very necessary. My column "The Old Mirage Salesman" makes sort of a vague promise. Actually humor garnished with strange facts and historic briefs will make a lasting name for you as a local wit, if well presented with a catchy heading.
When you are the man from ("The Corner of Spruce ? and Goose ?") writing about your ("Spooks ? and Ghosts ?"), you are sure to attract a great deal of publicity and local interest in your exalted spot. Gather jokes that belong, credit them to old timers (they will become your best boosters) but always have a sprinkling of fact in the same column.
Whether you plan to start with a column, book or paper, you must really start reading, clipping and pasting scrapbooks about your chosen location, know about the people of the past, the Indians, critters, bugs and other life. Oddities, yes, remember an animal oddity that happened anywhere can be transplanted to you own ("Peppermint ? Springs ?").
Wit and Humor will come if you really love your planned set-up, work won't be work but fun. Make brevity you goal—Remember—Wit is the gift of penetrating things without becoming entangled in them.
I do not pledge that this one lesson will make you a nationally known columnist — takes years for that.
What I do hope for, is that what you do will help the historians in years to come to add a smile, a chuckle and a little added color.
So go to work you legend makers—Posterity will edit your wit—you can be sure.
Old desert rat Jake Topper claims you can turn him loose anywhere and he can find water, although this is sometimes difficult in our dry desert.
But in a wild Garnet sand storm yesterday Jake thinks he's a goner for sure until he comes across a large barrel cactus.
And when he taps it he gets more than he can drink in a week—although he is willing to try.
Just then along comes a very rude citizen who points out that a barrel cactus does not usually grow on the tailgate of a truck, and furthermore there is a BUDWEISER label on this cactus.
Today Jake told the Judge he was born in a dust-storm and has been thirsty ever since.
You never know you have a stomach, the wise old Chinese used to say, until something goes wrong with it.
John Barrymore: "The only way to fight a woman is with your hat. Grab it and run.
THE MAIL POUCH
Harry Old Timer
I was not surprised to hear of your discovery that you are the reincarnation of "Don Quixote," fact is you have always looked like his pictures.
It is also a fact, that in this world where so few look like what they are, you have always looked just as your glittering tall-tales promise you should.
—Art Loomer, Burbank, Calif.
About the year 1600, Miguel de Cervantes wrote a book about Don Quixote the old scalawag that had such a crazy mixed-up time in Southern Spain—then a desert much like ours—ONLY NO BEER CANS.
As elsewhere in this packet you will read that I am for sure the reincarnation of this old blundering Knight. I suggest you get Cervantes' book the better to guess what I may do next, as I re-live his eventful life.
—Your Old Fort Commander
Maggie Gerke has made of me a desert Don Quixote, on the cover.
ANIMALS SPEAK TO US AS TO ÆSOP - IN 550 B.C. Page 3
UNITED WE STAND, DIVIDED WE FALL
From "The Four Oxen and the Lion"
This line along with many others we are familiar with, comes from Aesop's Fables." Aesop wrote them 550 years before the birth of Christ.
His animal fables have been rewritten by story tellers through these many years. One might think Cedric Adams, Don Marquis or Bennett Cerf could be the reincarnation of Aesop, (but not me, I am tied-up with a contract to Don Quixote.)
Columnist and animals eat out of the same trough.
I never heard of a columnist being sued by an animal.
Mickey Mouse is probably the only animal with a legal department. This I was told with much emphasis by my grandson Kent Oliver as he threatened me if i set the mouse trap again.
The Old West still lives department: A vacationer just returned from Yosemite reports that a campsite beside creek about three miles from the Wawona Hotel there's an outhouse with a sign:
"Please keep the door closed. The porcupines will eat the seat."
A camel is an animal that looks as if it had been put together by a committee.
Recently we met the most spoiled animal in the world—a rabbit who was an only child.
A cotton-tail rabbit, nibbling at his carrot, noticed that his son was in a particularly jovial mood "What makes Junior so happy?" he asked. Mamma rabbit explained, 'He had a wonderful time in school today. He learned how to multiply."
I am world's worst executive. Hate to give orders or take them. Get along better with animals than with people. Cats think I am nice but clumsy. Dogs are convinced that their end of the leash is as important as mine.
—Pancho, Laguna Post
The trouble with being a turtle is you can't run away from home.
How many different gaits do animals have?
Eight—the walk, amble, trot, rack, canter, transverse gallop, rotary gallop and ricochet. The ricochet is the type of locomotion used by jack rabbits.
Miner (pulling with one mule): "Giddap, Pete! Giddap, Barney! Giddap, Johnny! Giddap, Ralph."
Stranger: "How many names does that mule have?"
Miner: "His name's Pete, but he doesn't know his own strength, so I put blinders on him, yell a lot of names, and he thinks other mules are helping him.
—Pancho, Laguna Post
I can remember when termites were only flying ants — now they're big business. —Bill King
A Costa Mesa, Calif., woman complained to the Humane Society that mocking birds swooped down on her whenever she left the house. "We can't help you," was the reply. "It's mating season."
Humorist, Columnist and Gazeteer of the upper Midwest
The animals and I have been friends for a long time. More than friends, in fact. In many ways I suppose they've almost been my partners in this column-writing business.
Over the years, however, I've tried to repay my obligation to the animals with continuing favors. My best effort has been the GIVE AWAY DEPARTMENT. In this paragraph I list names of people who for one reason or another I want to give away various pets and animals.
I have found homes since 1935 for between 175,000 and 200,000 of all species. Impressive total, that even though it includes 50,000 minnows, a colony of perhaps 70,000 bees, a real Hungarian countess, several bachelor farmers and a few other lonely hearts on two feet as well as four.
If you get a young kitten treed sometime and want to save the fire department a call, why just send tehe mamma cat up the tree. She'll inspire confidence in the young kitten and the offspring will follow its mother down the tree.
And then there's the farmer down in Texas who won the liar's contest four years running. He got so adept at the practice, the hogs refused to come to slop when he called.
—Eldon J. Cook
Expert On Nuts
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP)—Patrolman Wilber Thompson found that a true connoisseur of nuts had been swiping doughnuts from the package delivered by truck each morning to the front of a pharmacy.
Alerted about the daily thefts, Thompson saw a squirrel chew open the package, grab a couple of doughnuts and scamper off.
When the buyer of a homing pigeon clipped its wings to help it adjust to its new home in Vista, Calif., the pigeon simply set out for its old home, three miles off, and walked the whole way.
THE HANDSOME HORNED TOAD
By Florence Emmons
Under a silvery, cholla cactus, sat a little horned toad. He had finished his lunch, a nice big fly, and so was feeling quite pleased with himself.
He knew, without a doubt, that he was by far the handsomest toad on the desert. His horns, the pride of his heart, which sprayed his flat little head like a cactus bonnet, were the finest and longest that ever grew. And when it came to snapping up insects, well, appearance spoke for itself. One of his brothers once hinted that he should diet. But that was pure jealousy, of course. Imagine a little toad dieting when a spider passes right under his nose!
As the toad dozed in the shade, he thought about these things. Too, he had something else on his mind.
Deep in the cholla cactus above him lived a pretty brown wren and her family. For many days he had watched her as she slipped in and out of her funnel shaped nest. How she was able to perform this feat so neatly, without even a scratch from the mass of needles, only cactus wrens themselves can tell.
So when the horned toad was not thinking about himself, which to be sure was rare, his mind dwelt with pleasure upon the lovely wren.
It wasn't that he disliked the little lady toads about him. Oh—no indeed! Only this morning a timid little lady toad told him how handsome she thought his horns were. He nodded pleasantly in reply and she felt much flattered.
"She is a nice little toad," he mused—and promptly forgot about her.
"No doubt Mrs. Wren has noticed my handsome horns and would like to make my acquaintance. Today, I'm going to introduce myself to her.
The toad did not have to wait long for the wren to appear. He was a little startled when he saw she had slipped noiselessly out of the nest and was teetering on a cactus needle only a few feet above him.
Should he, or should he not? Now that the time had arrived, he felt a queer flutter in his throat.
"I know she will enjoy meeting me, and will admire my beautiful horns," again he told himself. He cleared his throat loudly.
"Good morning, Mrs. Wren," he said.
The handsome horned toad tried to speak in a deep bass voice, but the great desert caught up the sound and reduced it to a mere squeak. Receiving no reply, he tried again.
"And how are you this morning, Mrs. Wren? I trust your family is well."
At that, the bird cocked her head and peered around in a bewildered way.
"Is someone speaking to me?" she asked.
"Certainly," snapped the toad. "I am speaking to you."
Mrs. Wren gave a short laugh.
"Well, I declare—I suppose you are. But where are you?"
"Over here on the earth, directly in front of you. The toad with the handsome horns.
He puffed up and tried to look the importance he felt. The wren peered more closely.
"Toads are so nearly the color of the ground, it makes them hard to see. I guess it's a good thing for you when it comes to avoiding owls and coyotes, isn't it! —Oh, — there you are! my goodness, you're not much bigger than our youngest child. But I hope you don't eat as much as she does" and Mother Wren laughed gaily.
The handsome horned toad felt a little embarrassed. The size of his appetite was a tender subject with him.
"The youngest looks a bit like me," she went on, "But the other three are the very image of their father. You have seen him, I suppose—the gorgeous bird with the sharp beak and speckled throat?"
"Mmmmmmmm"—grunted the toad.
"It takes the two of us to feed the babies. But Father Wren is a wonderful hunter. I'll never be half as quick as he."
At this point, Father Wren appeared at the funnel shaped doorway of their nest. The mother bird fluttered over to him.
"Are you ready to go food hunting again, dear," she asked.
"I believe we had better. We lack four worms to feed the last two mouths. Were you not speaking to someone? I thought I heard your voice.
"Speaking —to someone? — oh — yes — just a toad — a little horned toad."
With that, they sailed away together.
Speechless with rage, the handsome horned toad watched them float out of sight.
So that was the creature who had filled his dreams—a bird. An ordinary brownish bird, not even pretty, who could think of nothing but that sharp beaked father bird and a nest of little birds with the same kind of beaks. How foolish he had been, thinking of her so highly. How absurd that he should have spoken to her at all—and in such a friendly way!
And his handsome horns—she hadn't even seen them. Blind to beauty; totally blind to it. Anyone, especially a lady bird, who couldn't appreciate him—and evidently she couldn't — wasn't worth losing his temper over.
He snapped savagely at a fly—and missed it.
Then, scarcely knowing what he did, the little horned toad moved toward an ant hill. In doing so, he collided with another toad. It proved to be the little lady toad with whom he had talked earlier in the day.
"Oh, I hope you are not hurt!" he exclaimed in his most gallant manner. "I'm terribly awkward. Can you forgive me?"
"Why—of course. It was all my fault anyway. I didn't look where I was going," she stammered.
"No, my dear, I was entirely to blame. But you are charming."
"Oh—thank you," cried the little toad And she added shyly. "It means something to hear that from the handsomest toad on the desert."
The handsome horned toad smiled. He patted her cheek.
"You are a very smart little toad," he said.
My Dog Whiskers
The Best Dog I Ever Worked For
My dog liked this hundred year old brief from Josh Billings' book "Uncle Josh."
Dogs are not vagabonds by choice and love to belong to somebody. This fact endears them to us and I always rated the dog as about the seventh cousin to the human species. They can't talk but they can lick your hand. This shows that their hearts is in the place where other folks' tongues is.
We have no reliable account of the first dog, and probably shan't of the final one. If Adam kept a terrior, or Eve a poodle, the lapse of ages have washed away the fact. If Noah had a pair of each breed of dogs on board his vessel, and only one pair of fleas, he was well out for dogs and poor out for fleas.
—Josh Billings' (1818-1855)
When Twin Falls, Ida, police attempted to carry a drunk off to jail, his dog intervened. Upshot: The dog was locked up in the same cell.
That screech owls have an extra pair of eyelids tht operate like windshield wipers to clear their vision.
Friends of the Dallas, Tex., police department pondered a report that during the year, 12 officers had been bitten—three by dogs, nine by people.
Cats Not So Clean
They don't wash face . . . but wash feet and wipe them on face.
Only the female of the glowworm is luminous.
Tell a girl she's camel-eyed and she'd probably sock you. Yet there isn't a movie actress in all Hollywood with eyelashes as long nor expression as soulful as the camel.
There ain't no two legged thing on the face of this earth can outlimp a "lame duck" applied to some men, and perhaps never knew what it meant. Study nature, and you will find out where the truth comes from.
—Josh Billings 1850
TIE THIS HARRY
About the time when a few Yankee skinflints from Connecticut where selling wooden nutmegs for the real thing a couple of tales sprang the Atlantic Ocean to land in London.
And our English relatives, possessing a keen appreciation of humor, picked them up gingerly, and referred to them as "American Wonders."
The story which arrived first was entitled "How to catch an Owl." History doesn't record the name of the first traveler to pass on the rare tidbit which was related substantially as follows:
"When you discover an owl in a tree, and find that it is looking at you, all you have to do is move quickly around the tree several times, when the owl in the meantime, whose attention will be so deeply fixed, that forgetting the necessity of turning its body with the head, will follow your motion with its eyes, till it wrings its head off."
From Chamberlin's LUCKY STAR with pleasure I give you our owl—with trimmings.
My Cat Not to See Flying Saucers
Old Captain Catnip Ashby — Desert genius with an extraordinary twist (Oliver Twist) has done it again. The Captain reasoned that, as moths fly toward a light, if he crossed moths with lightning bugs the outcome would be moths with lights on their tails; and that therefore these lightning-bug-moths would fly around in circles, chasing their tails.
He did it last week, turned them loose at night, natural pinwheels, or flying saucers. The Captain's cat, he calls "Nuts-in-boots" almost rung her neck watching, the only one that stayed with the fireworks was his "Ratchet Owl." You know this Owl is equipped with a ratchet, which permits easy clockwise rotation of its head but about once an hour, the Owl releases the ratchet, making a hell of a noise, but allows its head to go clockwise again for a spell.
I am sure going to keep my cat "Sin" away from Cap's place, she may never see a flying saucer but—when it comes to ring her neck I'll do it.
Page 4 Don Quixote Edition
This page is dedicated to the World's Greatest Optimist--the Desert Prospector
DESERT RAT Scrap Book
ANCIENT "FACTORY" FOUND
An obsidian tool "factory" has been uncovered by an archeological team from the Berkeley campus of the University of California in a remote and arid part of Inyo County.
I hate a crowd because the crowds are made up of people who ain't of much account only to help make up a crowd.
Curiosity is the same in all people—the vulgar stare and the refined peek through a crack.
The devil never offers to go into partnership with a busy man.
There are people who exaggerate so much that they can't tell the truth without lying.
Your Editor can meet with triumph and disaster and treat them just the same—I just have another drink.
Come to the Desert and be a full-time idealist.
Not Crazy Like A Fox
Leaning against the "Bali-Bali Bar," I asked Boston Blackie if he thought it could be true that I am the reincarnation of Don Quixote, like all my animals tell me I am. Yes, said Blackie—as he filled my glass with Mirage Juice—figure it out yourself Harry—nobody could be as crazy as you are in one lifetime—and what's more, in Don Quixote you have made a good choice, or did he choose you? You know Harry, I would say, let them call you Don Quixote all they wish but don't let them start saying you are crazy like a Fox.
A DESERT REINCARNATION TOAST
Editor to Editor
"I hope in your next life you're a Centipede and have ingrowing toenails."
She (thoughtfully) "Did you ever think so much about reincarnation, dear?"
He (otherwise) "Think about it? I eat it nearly evey day, only call it hash."
In old Bodie, so the story goes, a man was on his death bed and his good wife, eager to make his last moments pleasant, asked him if he didn't care for something to eat.
"Well, I think I'd like a bit of that good ham I small cooking," he said weakly.
"Oh, no, dear," cried his wife. "You can't eat that. That's for the wake."
I DON'T KNOW WHETHER THIS IS GOOD FOR ME OR NOT—
BUT THIS IS THE WAY THE PROFESSOR SEES THIS WHOLE BUSINESS.
The need for Harry Oliver in our day and age can be compared to the need of Don Quixote during the Spanish Renaissance.
If you disagree with the sweeping statement above, then you undoubtedly believe the world never has nor never will be in need of men who cannot distinguish the desert from desert mirages.
If, on the other hand, you agree, then you share my view that to a marked degree Oliverism and Quixotism ar expressions of faith in the power of the human—you and I—to create value by virtue of our faith in value—to generate a world above the world of nature.
Quixote was not wholly mad nor is Oliver completely crazy. We cannot shrug them off as mere curiosities, as characters out of step with the rest of the world or as nuisances who disrupt the peace of our conceptions of right and wrong.
There is something more to them, to their child-like stunts, their fondness for laughter, their love of idealism—perhaps they bring a message to the great mass of us who dress, act, eat, think and even dream alike—"can we afford to pause in our struggle to know what reality really is?"
Are Oliver and Quixote laughing at us?
I am a Westerner . . . I drink Western Beer and American Whiskey . . . So when I heard of the snakebite research being tried out at "The Arizona State College" at Tempe, Arizona, and how they were using Scotch Whiskey for their experiments . . . I wrote one of our big Kentucky Distillers and was the first to apply for a job as a test-pilot for good old Bourbon Whisky.
I hope for the job, for as you have read in the papers, the National Science Foundation has put up $2,300 for the test . . . and as snakes are for free . . . I think there should be lots of Whisky.
If the tests succeed it will be a great boon to desert travelers. If not, and I have a sufficient dosage of the prescribed medicine, I will think they did anyway.
THE FISH THAT CARRIED ITS OWN POND WITH IT.
The four old fishermen sat at the SNOW CREEK BAR, recounting tales of fishing adventures, when Old Wino Pete interrupted to ask of they had ever see a fish that could make its own pond to swim in; as none had seen such a thing, they were axious to have Pete tell of this strange creature.
"Some years back," Old Pete went on, "I decided to go prospecting in the Chocolate Mountains, so, adding a couple of jugs of wine to my pack on my burro, I started out. As it got hot, I took a few swigs out of my jug, and had traveled a few hours, when I saw a strange creature crossing the sands ahead of me. It had a skin like one of those long toy balloons, only it was scaly like that of a fish. I saw it settle into a slight depression, a little larger than its body, and was surprised to see it release a stream of water from its mouth, until it was completely immersed by water. By this time the fish had dwindled to the size of a small trout, and swam about in its pond as gaily as you please, when suddenly I saw it stick its head in the ground and come up with a fat worm.
"The desert worms, thirsty, had smelled water above them, moved upward to get a sip and became victims of this crafty fish. I was so amazed that I gulped down a few more swigs, then, as the fish finally got its fill, it began to drink up its pond, and was seen on dry sand. It moves on fins instead of legs, and started out across the desert; I could not believe my eyes, so I finished my jug, stretched out to sleep, and when I awakened, the strange creature had disappeared, and I was left to wonder at the miracles that happen in the desert. Wonders never cease."
—Snow Creek Bert, Whitewater, Cal.
How Fast Are We Moving?
The earth is moving fast in several directions It spins around once every 24 hours or so. Standing still on the equator, this spin takes you at a rate of about 1000 miles an hour. At the poles, you go around only a few feet a day. Here at Old Fort Oliver the earth is whizzing me around roughly 568 miles an hour.
Next time you are talking to those stargazing fellow at Griffith Park just ask them. H.O.
"Sometimes you have to run very fast to stay in the same place."
—Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
A home town is a place where they always wonder how you got as far as you have.
The trouble with being a leader is that sometimes you can't tell whether the people are following you or chasing you.
A 101-year-old Kalamazoo, Mich, man offered a simple formula for longevity: "Have a physical check-up every 100 years."
Ever notice that you never yawn when you are asleep?
"What we call Progress is the exchange of one Nuisance for another Nuisance."
"Every man is as Heaven made him, and sometimes a great deal worse.
The nice thing about lightning is it begins and ends in the same moment.
This Editor finds if he makes money and has it—he spoils the fun of those that like to buy a poor man a drink.
Medical science does such queer things that any day we may expect to read that snake bites are being used to cure the liquor habit.
He is an exceedingly rare person who has keen enough vision to see himself as others see him.
'Cher Ami' - - Honored With D.S.C.
By Chas. Lockwood
This story is by the same Charles Lockwood who wrote for this paper "I Killed a Burro,' in my Packet two of Pouch seven, a year ago.
"The National Humane Review" asked to reprint the story and they did in their "National Edition"—March-April, 1956.
Dedicated to Harry C. James and Dr. H. M. Weber of the Desert Protective Council in the hope this story may help the worthy effort to protect the Desert Dove.
Yes—"Cher Ami" was honored with the Distinguished Service Cross.
"But why," you might ask. "—why is that so terribly wonderful?—we've had many, many, heroes who have been decorated with the Cross: —they are all brave soldiers, of course, but you can't just segregate a single one and put him on top of the list—so why is Cher Ami's decoration so great?"
You are right, to be sure—but this is different, for Cher Ami was not an officer, not a private and not even a soldier—this individual, as it were, was a pigeon — yes, that's right — a pigeon! But that's ahead of the story, so let's go back and view his history from the first—then you will know why he was accorded such an honor.
Cher Ami, which means "beloved friend" in French, belonged to Pigeon Company No. 1. This was a small but important message carrying unit of the American Expeditionary Force, of World War One. Twenty khaki clad men were in charge of the Pigeon Company and as a group, they were sent overseas. Cher Ami. was stationed at Rembrandt, which was back of the front lines in France. He was kept here for some time, so that he might become acquainted with his new home. Then came the Argonne fighting and, with the 77th Division, Cher Ami was sent to the front. The thunder of the cannon, the sharp crack of rifle fire and the repetitious blasting of machine guns, kept their position a seething inferno. The very battalion to which Cher Ami was attached, was suddenly in the confusion of battle, left unsupported and it was quickly surrounded by the Germans. This was later known as the "Lost Battalion."
The earth vibrated with the screaming explosions of great shells and the small arms fire was so concentrated, that it pinned the isolated unit down. To move in any direction was impossible. The American soldiers, nevertheless, clung very bitterly to their position and returned bullet for bullet with the Huns. Finally there was no water—and yes—no food! Their ammunition grew frighteningly low: they were fighting on sheer nervous energy.
When this catastrophic stage was reached, Cher Ami found the door to his cage being opened. A cylinder carrying a message of the battalion's plight was attached to his leg. This was to be a death defying, dangerous and perilous flight, for the Germans were ever on alert, with shotguns and other weapons, for just such carrier pigeons.
>The sergeant was reluctant to release the bird, because it seemed as though he was sending it straight into the jaws of death. But war was war, and, regardless of the tender heart the American Soldier has for pets, he must start the pigeon on its way.
When the non-com, holding the flyer by the inner tail and wingtip feathers, loosened his grip, Cher Ami, seeming realizing the gravity of his mission, stretched his wings like he was testing them. Then the soldier gave him a toss into the air.
Cher Ami's power took him almost straight up; he circled shortly—once—then again. Already the sights of the German guns were seeking him out and a feather or two was seen to fly from his body. But Cher Ami, with the responsibility of an American officer leading his men into battle, turned toward the rear and his strong powerful wings took him through the sky with the speed of a static spark.
His course was straight and sure and he held to it with the distinctive determination of his pedigreed forebears. But as he flew a stinging pain shot across his breast. A BB from some sniper's gun had pierced his flesh. And again the accuracy for which the Huns are noted, took toll of the brave bird: his leg was shattered by lead, and the lower portion, which carried the all important message, hung precariously by a thread of skin. If it were to part—?
Back in the Argonne, the tired, desparate soldiers dug deeper into their trenches: their situation, it seemed, was almost beyond hope: the Germans held them in a near impervious trap, yet when the Hun officer sent a note demanding their surrender, he got his answer, but quick, "Go to Hell."
From then on, there was no mercy in the Prussian troops. A continuous roar blanketed the section: the constant rumble of bursting shells: the rattle of insidious machine guns.
Dawn slowly announced itself each morning, and the day, just as slowly, faded each evening: the nights were worse. "Did Cher Ami get through?" The question repeatedly found itself upon the lips of every battle fatigued soldier in the unit. When hope was about to vanish completely, one of the doughboys heard through the din, a "Yeppee-yee!—Yeppee-yee," far off in the distance. This has been the battle cry of the American soldier since the Revolution and from this piercing call the "Lost Battalion" knew that relief was on the way.
When the men of the group were again at the rear, and even though every one was a hero, there was little laughing and frivolity among them: they were thinking of Cher Ami, who had dauntlessly and courageously completed his flight, carrying the message for help. Yes, he had carried the message, but—at a price: a wound in the breast and a leg dangling by a thin piece of skin.
So now you see why Cher Ami was honored: he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, for gallantry in the line of duty.
Cher Ami lived for several months, but the wounds finally tipped the balance in the scale of his life. In his memory this, brave fearless, inspiring bird, was mounted and placed in a worthy spot in the National Museum, in Washington, D. C. He can be seen there to this day.
FLOWERY TRIBUTE TO AN OLD SALOON
Whenever and wherever former Senator Henry F. Ashurst of Arizona gets the urge to write, he yields to that impulse.
Before he left the United States senate after serving there for 30 years as the fist senator from Arizona, he made a trip home and visited Prescott, where in his old cowboy days he used to frolic.
Entering what used to be the old Palace saloon, he walked to the rear room. There the gambling tables of long ago were covered with dust. Cobwebs hung from the rafters. Silence reigned where once there was the high pitched laugher of gay coryphées and painted Jezebels. Gone were the halcyon days. The dance hall was no more.
Suddenly the urge to write seized the senator. He brushed the dust from one of the tables and, in that atmosphere, with his memories crowding, sat down and began to write.
"In this café," he began, "there used to be served Lucullan viands. Here Bacchus reigned and champagnes of choicest flowers, which painted the landscape even in sterile brains, went roaring down thirsty throats.
"Here Venus smiled and fleet footed Mercury was often dazzled by the bales of crisp currency and the clink of golden coin at the gaming table. The whir of the roulette ball, the thud of dice at the crap games, which were as clods falling upon the coffin lid of fortune, and the rattle of ivory poker chips were then to be heard above the dulcet notes of the wingless angels, who warbled all night long in this house of joy and tears.
"The bar then gleamed like a ledge of jewels as its cut glass and silver and ebony were reflected by huge mirrors. There lawyer, tourist, 'tenderfoot,' merchant, prince, public official, wool grower, sportsman, savant, hard rock miner, cowboy and remittance man mingled on equal terms.
"In this house, remorse sometimes fastened its fangs into men's souls or fed itself upon the husks of their blighted hopes; their earnings were squandered—diced away in a night—some noble resolves were broken by those persons who entered into the domain of vice through the beautiful gate of temptation, like enchanted fruit in the dwelling of a sorcerer, the objets of admiration lost their attraction and value as soon a grasped, and all that remained was regret for the time lost in their pursuit.
"The tear of sympathy welled quickly to the gambler's rayless eyes and the hands of the proprietor of the Palace were horns of plenty, for not only were their hearts warm and their impulses generous, but the fixed principle of their code was that 'jinx and hoodoo' kept away from him who never turned deaf ear to needy persons.
"Now the great hall is tenantless, save for the wraiths of frequenters of long ago. Spiders have festooned the back bar with cobwebs; dust now begrimes the tables where once bets were laid.
"The gambler of that day has 'cashed in" all his chips and has entered that vast realm where aces, kings and queens alike are counted as deuces. The battalions of Bacchus are shattered, the singers are silent—their songs perished 20 years ago, and the restaurant is now conducted by a Chinaman named Long."
* * *
"I showed this bit of writing to my brother, a minister of the gospel," related the senator, "and he told me it was the finest bit of English he had read in many a day."
JAMES L. WRIGHT.
THIS SIDE of The Sun
"About the only things you can buy for a nickel nowadays," says Revilio Yrrah, "are postage stamps, chewing gum or five shares of uranium stock"
Let's not forget good old BULL DURHAM at 5c a bag.
"Dear Phat—Read with interest your reproduction of a note received by you from Revilo Yrrah that all you can buy a nickel nowadays is a postage stamp, chewing gum or five shares of uranium stock.
"Mr Yrrah hasn't been following the news too closely. Postage stamps are going up soon under a new bill which already has house committee approval.
"And I'm hoping my uranium stocks—likewise."
From the Palm Springs SUN
Seeds for the Bishop
I heard this story of prohibition-days from a long-time waiter at the Mission Inn.
Crowded with a big Ministers' convention and a powwow of automobile salesmen, held simultaneously, the place was jumping. The salesmen were topping off a big dinner with "spiked watermelon" for dessert, but the hard-pressed waiters served it to the ministers by mistake. The maitre d'hotel was frantic when he heard of the mixup.
"That watermelon is soaked in alcohol, get it away from those ministers before they run me out of town," he cried.
The waiters returned to say it was too late; the ministers were busy chewing away at the prized watermelon. "What did they say?" asked the maitre d'hotel. "How do they like it?"
One waiter answered, "I don't know how they like it, but they're all putting the seeds in their pockets."
"You can always tell a kid from Texas, says Roger Price. "He's the one with the pearl-handled slingshot."
Your Editor—got the better of himself—and that's the best kind of victory one can wish for.
Yawning is caused chiefly by a signal from the brain that more blood and oxygen are needed up there.
Enough energy is wasted in useless worry every year to light the cities of the world.
TODAY'S BEST LAUGH:
They're passing this one around: "My mind is made up. Dont confuse me with facts." —Earl Wilson
Comic Dick Shawn, who was a hit in Miami Beach, explains he drinks only on special occasions: "Such as sunset or weekdays." —That's earl, brother
Every man has his follies—and often they are the most interesting things he has got.
The Perfect Solution
A magistrate was hearing a case which involved a collision where both drivers had been "under the influence" when the mishap occurred.
Said the judge: "I wish to commend you two drinking drivers for running into each other instead of some innocent person. If this sort of thing can be encouraged, I think we may have hit upon the solution of a serious problem."
Gasoline and Oil
Open the Year 'Round
CALICO GHOST TOWN
13 Miles East of Barstow
Calico in the 1880's was the largest silver mining Camp in the southwest. Almost obliterated by time, it is now being restored by Knott's Berry Farm. An ideal outing for the rockhound, and camping groups.
Was his Grand Pappy a 'dreamin'?
For the past couple of weeks I bin a dry washin' up in the head of Dead Mans Gulch where that old stone cabin is that nobody knows how old it is. There's some awful good dry washin' up there but it's awful spotty. It's a fine country up there if you weren't so far from water.
One day I was a'settin' on the shady side of the cabin when up druve a young man and his sister from Kentucky in an old 1940 Ford. They asked for a drink of water, stood around and talked for a while and then said they waanted to take a look around the country and was gone about an hour.
They came back all wore out and wanted another drink of water and then the young man dug down in an inside pocket and bought out a letter from his old Grand Pappy dated 1880 yellowed by age and he give it to em to read. As near as I can remember it was as follers:
Wednesday, April 1st, 1880
My Dear Daughter Agnes:
I hope you are still alive. You know I haven't heard from you for five years when your Ma died. Now that you are the only one of my family alive if you are alive, I want to tell you something very important which you must not tell to a livin' soul. Of late I aint bin a feelin' well and I may not be long for this world which is why I am a tellin' you.
I have a placer claim located in the gulch north of the Old King Of Arizona which is between Quartzite and Yuma. I have built a stone house on this claim. There is a twenty foot shaft south of the stone house, but it is no good. But on the north side of the stone house is a twenty foot shaft to bed rock where I took out a fortune in placer gold and have it here under the bed in the stone house.
Feelin' so bad I can't write more now.
Thursday, April 2nd, 1880
Feelin worse this morning and about out of water. Some things I want to tell you why I left home years ago, shortly after you was born. Well you know your Ma and me never got along. She thought I never mounted to nothin' so I pulled up and got out.
Pain comin' on agin in my head. Can't write more now. Water all gone.
Friday, April 3d, 1880
My Dear Daughter Agnes:
I passed away yesterday afternoon at four o'clock. But before I did I took for a nickel nowadays is a postage stamp, chewing gum or five shares of uranium stock.
Your loving Father.
P.S. After I read the letter the young feller said "Where is them shafts?" I says there ain't no shafts and if they was in 1880 they would have bin filled up by floods long ago. then he told me his mother had just died and this old letter was found among her private papers. Then they drunk the last of my water and druve away down the gulch in the old Ford. I don't know if their Grand Pappy was a "dreamin'" or not. Maybe he just wanted his folks back home to think he mounted to somethin.
Old Bill Williams
Dead Mans Gulch, Ariz.
"TEETOTALER,—One who abstains from strong drink, sometimes totally, sometimes tolerably totally."
Duty: What the normal man looks forward to with distaste, does with reluctance and boasts about forever after.
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Bones of Old West's Ghost Towns Raked
GHOSTS OF THE GLORY TRAIL, by Nell Murbarger (Desert Magazine Press, Palm Desert: $5.75), does not take in some famous towns of Great Basin between the Wasatch Mountains and the Sierra, because it is confined strictly to towns with no present mining activity, absolute ghost towns except for a few old-timers living amidst the ruins, or caretakers for landowners.
There are 275 towns described, historically and as present-day ghosts, in Utah, Nevada and California, with maps and many photos. Nell Murbarger has traveled to all these towns, bedsides doing research among old newspaper files, documents and reminiscences of mining camp people.
Lively Authentic Stories
She makes lively and authentic stories out of her material on Rhyolite, Bullfrog, Rawhide, Cerro Gordo, Ballarat, Cartago, Skidoo, Aurora, Candelaria, Gold Hill, Hornsilver (Gold Point) and other towns. An important addition to solid Americana, and immensely readable.
One sees the reincarnation of Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) in this 1956 version of his poem "The Brook."
"I come from haunts of coot and hern,
Alas, a fatal sally!
For through what heaps of junk I churn
As I go down the valley!
"By dirty dumps I hurry down
Where refuse lies in ridges
And folks bring garbage out from town
To heave it off the bridges.
"Mid wrecks of motor cars I flow
The bus, the truck, the flivver.
Oh, men may come and men may go,
But I go on forever!
"I slip, I slide, I gloom, I glance
O'er pipes and rods and wires;
I make the golden sunbeams dance
Among the worn-out tires.
"I chatter over pots and pans
In little sharps and trebles;
I bubble out among the cans
That quite conceal the pebbles.
"Till last polluted do I flow
To the polluted river;
Ah, saboteur! You come and go,
But I go on forever!"
All text was hand-entered (no OCR scans) by Dick Oakes who did the layout, markup and graphics reproduction (all of Harry's misspellings retained). The contents remain the property of Bill Lincoln and his heirs.