ONLY NEWSPAPER IN AMERICA YOU CAN OPEN IN THE WIND
PACKET FOUR OF POUCH EIGHT
THE VOICE OF THE DESERT
PUBLISHED FOUR TIMES A YEAR
PRICE 10 CENTS . . . . . . . ONLY ONE LOUSY THIN DIME
Old Fort Oliver a historical showplace on "Old 99" Highway. The road that went to all
desert places years ago, but today goes nowhere.
Life is far too serious to be taken seriously!
Voice of The Desert
Found this note from Ray Corliss tacked to Ft. Oliver's sally port:
Came out to bring you the master on your album. Your fresh jeep tracks were going south so I played it for the remaining residents.
Expected estatic acclaim from your own dependents. Pack rat said, "Hell, he complains when I bring home stuff twice that good."
Cat said, "I had another friend who came to a bad end. He ended up strung to a bull fiddle in Searchlight, Nevada."
Whiskers said, "That man's whole life is just one long-playing lie."
Burro said, "It's remindful of Mother."
Turtle, who was just digging out, went into reverse, but said, "I like the part between sides."
Crow said, "How do you pronounce cacophony?"
Buzzard planed down, leered and said, "I know it's ready but can I keep it down?"
Saddened, I said goodbye.
P. S. They may be right. Between talking with your pipe in your mouth and the sand blowing, I think you've invented a new sound.
The Jack Benny of 1844
"Nature, like the poet, can produce the greatest number of effects with the smallest amount of material: one sun, some trees, flowers, water, and love. And if the last is missing then the sun is only so and so many miles in diameter, the trees are so much fuel, the flowers are weeds, and the water is wet . . ."
I would rather get into trouble ten times a day than curb my enthusiasm.
I maintain I am different from most editors because I am sane enough to know I am nuts.
Wonderful world . . . sometimes I think poverty has kept me from being a drunkard.
Today, at 70, your Editor does most of his mining in a 'Lighter-Vain' and I hope with a 'Sharper Pick' H.O.
You can tell these are my very own—for if I had stolen them I could have gotten better ones.
MOTHER NATURE, FATHER TIME
and your Desert Rat
Readers ask me how's the paper doing? Meaning, of course, is the Desert Rat Scrap Book a success, Now as I see it, there is more then one fair way to live; so is there more than one kind of success.
Judging the Desert Rat Scrap Book by what it is, not by what other papers make, or try to, I think as a one-man operation I have a peacheroo.
Readers also ask if I believe in ghosts, water-witching, witchcraft, allergies, animal magnetism and that indescribable element that makes people fall in love, . . . I sure do.
I believe in a meaningful life, but I know we are looking at a world that we don't understand. Our emotions or even our minds haven't caught up to our mechanical progress.
I have a great many readers from 70 to 95 years of age and I, as they, don't care much for man-made miracles such as atomic energy, television, radio, the telephone and that dog-gon electric eye—(it seems to me it could as well pick my pocket.)
We like Mother Nature's miracles, she's so very wise in her ways, however sometimes stern, but she is always kindly. We often feel the same way about the law and forces of nature. We see gentleness in her way of sprouting little shoots from the gnarled twisted, thorned desert growth, and in the moisture she has hidden in the roots for the tiny desert critters. We see kindness in the parent birds feeding their young. We see wisdom on the animals that get ready to sleep away the cold and hungry winter. And always behind everything, there is a strong sense of nature's laws that may not be broken without punishment.
As the editor of this little paper I pledge I will stay close to Mother Nature—and never get into that mad dollar chase, . . . . or let this little old paper get Modern.—Harry Oliver
On reading the above my thoughts go to a possible SECOND ACT . . . with that giant electric check-maker in 'The Old Age Office' in Washington,—just suppose some one were to tinker with it, take the $' sigh out of the $85.00 and plug in a '9' making all the checks come out 985.00.—(gee I must take that sign down).
Well for sure Posterity will dig me out. A fine specimen of a 'Bourbon Floavored Mummy.
—Your Desert Rat
Note to future explorers, if some of the bottles are unopened "YET" they are full of comedy material I didn't get to drink,—so have one,—yes have a laugh on me H2O.
Today is the kind of day when the only thing worth doing is just nothing at all. . . My cat "Funny Face" has just bobbed up on the table to say, "I think so too" . . . I don't have a thing much to say, only that this world has been very good to me, as I go to press I will be but a few months away from 70 years old. I do wish to tell you, you will see some flattering stories about me in several National Magazines this Fall (Look for Them.)
Also there will be my first album of Desert Tall Tales. This long-playing record can't be hurtful, (fact there is no way to hurt a Desert Rat.)
There is that "Funny Face Cat' again to tell me it's a nice day out in the Fort Grounds, and also that I have a lot of happy but hungry animals that have no fault to find with this fine day.
Desert Banter On Wax
I said this record with my shoes off and my pipe in my mouth,—it is my first,—most of my life I have just kind'a lived and jotted down some words about this desert for my little paper.
To play this you must have a Graffaphone that breathes eelectricity into it as it talks my talk over again (L.P. 33 R.P.M.) whatever that means. (I did it with the help of only three beers.)
If I thought I was good I would tell you so, if I had had my way and had three more beers, I know it would have been.—So you, have yourself six beers and give it a listen.
If you turn to page 5 (The back page of this paper) John Norman will tell you this is a great record, how to get it, the price, and why you should have it.
I say, if you don't hear this album of 'windy's' on your home town radio station . . . they just didn't play it . . . SO PHONE THEM . . . tell them you want to hear it at least once.
When you Fight--Fight!--When you ain't Afightin'--Have Fun!3
Smallest newspaper in the world and the only 5 page one. (Not a Texas Boast)
Packet 4 of Pouch 8
Published at Fort Oliver
THOUSAND PALM, CALIFORNIA
Four Times a Year
ON THE NEWS STANDS 10c A COPY
But sometimes they don't have them.
ONE YEAR BY MAIL—FOUR COPIES, 50c
Darned if I am going to the trouble of mailing it for nothing
10 Years ................... $5.00
100 Years ................$50.00
This offer expires when I do
H A R R Y O L I V E R
1888 — 1999
This paper finds its way to more barber-shops than any other paper in the Desert. . . .rarely to stay more than two days. . . it is considered smart to steal them. . . that is by our OLDER DELINQUENTS. . . it helps your conscience if you think of yourself as a collector of folklore. . . you see collectors have special privileges.
Donated to Harry Oliver
By W. K. Lipman (Indian Tom)
Now that everybody has read that LOCO WEED is a sure indication of nearby URANIUM, I would add tht all Dude Prospectors should next learn just what Loco Weed looks like and also WHAT IT TASTES LIKE.
Henry David Thoreau—(1817-1862) Said this almost a hundred years before the day of safety belts or pedestrains. "A MAN SITS AS MANY RISKS AS HE RUNS."
Old Wiffletree says, "Opportunity only knocks one and then we're generally in the back part of the house.
The Republican party is going to give us a passably good Date crop after all.
Ben Bean says he lost three fingers yesterday. A fellow asked him to have a drink, but his wife was with him.
All the Rock-Hounds of a year ago are today Boat-Hounds on the Colorado River.
I speak the truth, not so much as I would, but as much as I dare; and I dare a little more as I grow older.
Smile and the rest of your face—you only paid one lousy thin dime for this paper.
Wit is the salt of conversation, not the food.
There is nothing wrong with this paper that a miracle could not fix.
Made in the Desert by Deserters.
MUTINY AT THE FORT
BY RAY CORLISS
THE MILITARY WHISKERS
—Ray writes as me
My dog Whiskers had his 14th birthday today. I put 14 of those little sausages in his dish of IDEAL Dog food, candle like.
The party went well at first. But then he got to seeming kind of thoughtful. Then he sort of stiffened up and told me, the Fort Commander, to get out and take the guard. Like he was telling me to get a white side-wall hair cut.
I demanded an explanation of this rank insubordination. He kind of spread his mouth in what I've always taken to be a smile. Apparently, it also serves as a military leer.
"Harry," he said, with unwonted condescention, "I didn't want to tell you this till I finished the 14th sausage. But one dog year is the same as five man years. 5 times 14 is 70. So I just passed you by a year. Age in this sandpitted fort is seniority and seniority is rank. Therefore, snap to, chin in, chest out, look sharp, and other military expressions. I'll post your general and special orders shortly and watch your general decorum, else you may find you beer ration bobtailed."
As I left the orderly room, he stretched his mouth again, laid bak against the press, and stopped me. "One morre thing, soldier" he said. "Salute everything that moves—if it doesn't move, paint it white—and no cats sleep in the Fort. Dismissed."
SNIPERS IN THE SAND DUNES
ME AS ME
All that military 'lingo' was cooked up by 'Whiskers' and his friend Ray Corliss. Mutiny I call it or revolt. But this Old Ex Commander and Deposed Editor, is not out of the running yet, as John Norman, says, on K D E S, "HE who laughs last—laugh lasts."
They think that monthly check comes from the War Department, I have not told them—it comes form the Old-Age-Pension Office—I have not been on the War Department's payroll since Theodore Roosevelt found out they had paved all the INDIAN WAR-PATHS in these parts.
Dogs don't get Old Age Pensions—Dogs Don't go to heaven, (and I know lots of old timers that don't like that arrangement—) 'Whiskers' is a good printer that might get him into heaven, or do printers go to heaven?
EDITORS NOTE—that 5 times 14 is desert calculating—7 years to one year is the city figure—dogs are just as smart in the desert but you see we desert folks are much, much smarter tehan city folks—We don't have to prove it—We admit it.
Neighbor found the flier's wife in tears.
"What's the matter?" she asked.
"I'm worried about Henry," she answered. "He's been trying for a week to get rid of our cat. He finally decided to take her up in his plane and drop her over the side."
"Now, that's nothing to worry about."
"That certainly is," wept the fliers' wife. "Henry isn't home yet but cat is."
Your Editor is on the cats side.
A box of baking soda in your car is a good emergency fire extinguisher—probably the only one that is also good for indigestion, insect bites and sunburn.
An 82-year-old man and an 81-year-old woman, who had produced 25 children by previous marriages, were, wed in Denver, Colorado. "This time," announced the groom, 'we're marrying for companionship."
Wild animals never kill for sport. Man is the only one to whom the torture and death of his fellow creatures is amusing in itself.J. A. Froude
A small town is the place where a fellow has to walk around a dog enjoying a nap on the sidewalk.
DESERT EDITOR'S BEST
I have hit a Jack-Pot . . . this whole 'ball-of-wax' comes from the pen of Editor, Publisher George Bideaux of Bisbee Arizona's famous BREWERY GULCH GAZETTE.
George Gideaux is the "Dick Wick Hall' of Cochise County and like Dick and his 'Salome Sun' (back 30 years ago), George's humor in the Brewery Gulch Gazette, is also most eagerly awaited by Western Columnists who lift . . . (usually with credit,) . . . his pungent fourline, tongue-in-cheek verse. It's humor with a liberal dose of old Western Color stirred in for good measure.
I hope I can always quote them in this paper H.O.
The old horned toad
Is off his feed,
He dined too long
On a centipede.
He took a shot of
The cactus juice,
And felt his back teeth
EASY COME, EASY GO
He saved his money
For sixty years
And now he's gone
From this vale of tears;
And his savings gladden
The wild, free life
Of his spendthrift
Nephew's second wife.
Shorty had a girl
Six foot one
Or maybe two.
They broke up
And folks know why
Were too high.
"The tales you tell,"
His mother said,
"Humiliate and vex us.
Your getting like
Your Uncle Newt
Who used to live
The cattleman said,
"It ain't no murder,
Fer this here corpse
Is a durn sheepherder."
A man in a million
Is Maury McGraw
When his wife died
AT THE TUCSON RODEO
"Some think East
Is always East
And West is
They haven't seen
Pancho is poor
Like the church mouse
He has no floor
In his 'dobe house
Sometimes the beans
Are hard to get
But he bought
A brand new TV set.
The bum says: "Boy!"
To me it's funny
To hear folks talk
About "tight money."
OLD SKY-EYE JONES
Greeting my Old Friend, (who has done a better job of living his 90 years than most do, living a half of it,—few at 45 stand as straight.)
My greeting was "How are things" (not to bright) but I had just climbed his hill.
"I will talk while you get your breath" said my star-gazing friend as he sat by his telescope made of a hollow log.
"I have no enemies, but my friends don't like me", said he.
"It's the hill you friends don't like" Was my answer, I don't know that he heard, as he went on to say.
"My Dog loves me and he is so old that his affection is not so rough as it was years ago." "But that fanatical cat "Princess Paprika" she is fill of witchcraft an actress, a much better actress than any of my five wives. She puts on a show six nights a week with a matinee on Wednesday and Saturday. She's, a witch, voodoo, mesmerist, hypnotist and siren.
Sometimes I wish I was a Tomcat, I think I might live more with her in one night than I have lived all my 90 years. They say a cat has 9 lives, my cat lives all 9 at one time.
The old Star-gazer see's in his Cat a "STAR", yes a Princess and Actress and five ex-wives . . . better than than Television . . . YET . . . and with many YET'S to come . . . .
I thought, as "Princess Paprika" went in to here ankle-polishing act, — down-stage right-center . . . a smooth routine it was for sure, cats are smart.
3 WHINNIES FOR FRANK
Frank Bogert has been the announcer at so many horse shows that as the horses pass him they give him a neighing laugh . . . some just smile a silent whinny.
From Weather-beaten Ward H. Grant of Coachella
Whether the weather be hot,
Whether the weather be cold,
Whether you like our weather,
Or whether you like it not,
You'll have to weather our weather,
For it's the only weather we've got.
Said it as he stood beside a night-blooming Kleenex Bush.
Enjoy yourself, friends! These are the good old days you'll be sighing for about twenty years from now.
Pop goes the Weasel
Pop goes the weasel is a curious old phrase that survives only in the refrain of a eighteenth-century comic song—which runs!
Up and down the City Road,
In and out the Eagle,
That's the way the money goes—
Pop goes the weasel:
The Oxford dictionary, says it was "The name of a country dance in which these words were sung while one of the dancers darted under the arms of the others", "I say, weasel like."
THE WEASEL POPS OFF
I print this because I just happen to have this fine old woodcut to make for a good printing. H.O.
The worst trouble with the future is that it seems to get here quicker than it used to.
Harry Oliver maintains "the prospector-miner is the greatest optomist in the world . . . he is either three feet from a million dollars or a million feet from three dollars . . . it doesn't matter, he just keeps on diggin'."
—The Indian Wells Independent.
THE VOICE OF THE DESERT Packet4
This page is dedicated to the World's Greatest Optimist - The DESERT PROSPECTOR
DESERT RAT Scrap Book
THE BIG WIND
The gang at SNOW CREEK BAR were telling me about big wind storms that they had encountered during their years in the desert, and some of the stories seemed slightly exaggerated, but the gang believed every word of it. Finally, Snow Creek Bert came up with this one. "I was driving past Thousand Palms, heading West on 99, when a sudden wind came up out of the West, and in a few minutes the dust was so thick that it was impossible to see the road. As the wind grew stronger, it also got darker, so I turned my headlights on in an effort to see the road and continue toward White Water. When I found that I could not see a thing ahead of the car I got out to investigate, and to my surprise I saw that the wind was blowing the light beams right back into the headlights; I tried turning the car at an angle toward the South-West, but the wind was so strong that when I turned the headlights on the wind blew them in a long sweeping curve to the South-East; as that was not the direction I wanted to go, I shut off the motor, turned out the lights and went to sleep. When I woke up the gale had died down, the lights worked O. K. —bent to a half curve, I got out of the car to straighten them, picked up the left beam to carry it out straight along the white line, but I stepped on the right beam and broke it off.
Riding home that broken light-beam stuck out as conspicuously as a stubed-finger, but now I can drive in closer to my old palo verde tree before I cut off my lights.
SNOW CREEK BERT
Much of the stuff in this edition was destroyed (I hope not by intent) but the contributors were kind enough to help me rewrite and reassemble it as best we could. Thanks to Bert and the rest of you . . . Ray . . . George . . . Bill . . . Omar . . . John . . . Ward . . . "Scoop" . . . Horace . . . Kerwin . . . and Indian Tom.
It took a long time and much beer but we did it, and as I read it I think we got most of the spontaneous humor back into it.
Stubborness does have its helpful features. You know what you are going to be thinking tomorrow.
I don't see where Ben Bean gets his inspiration—he don't drink.
Is life worth living? That depends on the liver.
Fishing was invented by a fellow whose wife wouldn't let him drink at home
Lininatin' Lem came to the old Fort today—had a match-box in his hand—wanted three spiders—he said he shot three holes in his screen-door,—shot at a chickenhawk,—wanted the spiders to spin webs over the holes to keep the flys out.
He got his spiders alright—and gee, I forgot to ask if he got the hawk,—and he won't be in again for weeks.
Guess—maybe I am a bad reporter.
But August is just as hot as July—so far—and will be all through September.
Gasoline and Oil
Open the Year 'Round
Shinarump Sam lives up on Hoskinni Mesa in NE Arizona. In Navajo, Hoskinnini means Mr. Thin Man. Shinarump is a conglomerate sandstone formation that lies between the Chinle and thee Moencopi layers—it makes Sam sort of the desert Lucky Pierre. He says that it's 40 miles to the spring in Nar Canyon but he can see for a day-and-a-half.
I found this on a bit of paper under my returned Geiger Counter, and as its location is up 4 corners way, I am adding a wood-cut of a wandering Indian.
SAYS, BEN BEAN
A drunk was sitting in a bar doing a lot of figuring on a piece of paper. The bar tender was inquisitive.
"It's like this," said the drunk. "My wife is on a diet. She told me she lost 12 lb. in four weeks. She weighs 168 lb. If the figures don't lie, I'll be rid of her in 14 months.
Better to Grow a Beard
The mental patient was about to be released after 20 years of incarceration. He decided to shave himself in preparation for the occasion. As he stood before the mirror, razor in hand, a nurse passing by called a cheery greeting.
As the patient turned to answer, his razor caught in the string supporting the mirror, and it slipped to the floor. The patient, turning around, found himself gazing at the bare wall.
"Well, what do you know?" he mumbled. "That's my usual luck. Just as I am ready to leave here after 20 years, I cut my head off."
Uranium Gulch, Ariz.
Nov. 16th, 1955
In your last issue I have been a readin' about your harmless little pack rats, your cute little pack rats and your smart little pack rats. But I claim that I have the meanest old pack rat in Arizona and I'll tell you why.
When I got up this morning and to looking around the cabin i found that he had traded a big chunk of pure uranium for my Geiger Counter. Now I got to give someone half interest for a Geiger Counter to find out where that old trade rat got that rich uranium.
Old Bill Williams
Uranium Gulch, Ariz.
Our pup is only a little squirt,
Learning to be a tree x-spurt.
Thousands of years before man began to have afternoon headaches from trying to think, the desert tortoise had a streamlined body, turret-top, retractable landing gear and a portable house.
Maybe you can catch a bug and invent something. The Navy has stolen our sidewinder.
Harry Oliver the "Boswell of the Desert" knows all the lizards in these parts by their first names,—except maybe some of the younger-set.—says Bad Water Bill.
Nobuddy ever fergits where he buried a hatchet.
—Kin Hubbard—Abe Martin's Broadcast
Annual Pictorial Issue of the
If you want to see the real beauty
of this fabulous Desert.
Life in an Oasis of 1,300 Swimming Pools . . .
America's most scenic Desert Resort . . .
with the colorful Old West ever
present in the background.
Loaded with 4-color pages.
Send $115 for a copy of this Annual post paid to:
The Villager Publishing Co.
174 North Palm Canyon Drive
Palm Springs, California
P.S.—Also in this Pictorial there is a
4-page story by Greenfield Lawrel.
"King of the Desert Rats" is the title,
and its about ME, yes, about your
5-page editor of this paper, (Picture in
color and all), ME at my Best, with
my sober shoes on.
Peg Leg Smith
At Palmas Blancas
By Horace Parker
Just off the press
Desert Guide Book
By Horace Parker
Horace Parker of 'Brush Country' fame, stirred up the whole Southwest with this yarn in 'The Riverside Enterprise' and the Newport Harbor News-Press on April first this year.
Along with rare photos of the valley of the White Palms.
Ed du Vall says, Parker will receive a special award at this years Annual New Years Liars Fete at The Peg-Leg Monumenbt in Borego Desert.
The story of the discovery of the White Palms can now be told. Not only does it present to science one of the strangest natural phenomenon but it clears up many of the points of Southwest history which has been puzzling historians for decades. The staff at P.I.T. are now examining a few of the specimens brought back, and best of all there is photographic proof of the existence of Palms Blancas.
In the journals of Thomas L. (Pegleg) Smith, is found first mention of the "white pams." This entry has been glossed over in late years in the search for more profitable directions and entry concerning the "Lost Pegleg Mine." The journals were carefully examined by me in Memorial Library of P.I.T., wherein Pegleg mentions the White Palms.
Briefly Pegleg Smith's story is this; In 1836, Smith with two companions, after trapping beaver along the Gila and Colorado Rivers, decided to cross the desert barrier and make their way to coastal California. At a spot somewhere near the present town of Yuma they hit into the desert trying to follow the Old Anza Trail. Sandstorms and high desert winds dogged their journey and they began running low on water, Smith's two companions because exhausted and urged Smith to push on for help and water. Late in the day after leaving his companions, the wind and sandstorms subsided, and Smith being near three black hills decided to climb the middle one which was the highest and survey the country.
According to Smith's Journal "et wus a melpy but and I kep slipin'" Here is where the "Pegleggers" make their big mistake. Interpreting Smith's Journal and his crude English and spelling he said, that it was a mudhill, for he used the English misspelling of "malpais" which in Spanish means "badlands," and "but" meant "butte." It was on top of theis butte he found the rive-worn pocket of black-varnished gold nuggests, no doubt left in the ancient lacustrine deposits of millions of years ago.
He continues, "efter traviln wist i cam to perta of whit pam," in better English he traveled west and came to the entrance (puerta) of the White Palms. Most historians have figured Pegleg was out of his head at this point from thirst and exhaustion. For he says, "i see whit plipl cumin out perta" The reconstruction of his story is this, he came to this opening in the hills and saw white people. He thought he was in civilization, even though the men were naked and the women wore only a simple apron. He called to them, but they ran away.
He was so exhausted he lay down under a mesquite and immediately fell into a stupor-like sleep. When he awoke he found he was tied up in some sort of an Indian dwelling. Immediately he started yelling and cursing and two of the "white men," both blondes, stopped and looked at him. He spoke to them first in English and then in Spanish and they shook their heads. Imagine his surprise when they replied to him in Cocopa one of the Yuman dialects which he understood.
WHITE AS SNOW
After a good deal of wrangling, they released Pegleg and he was amazed when he crawled out of the Indian Kish. A group of about 50 people surrounded him and were all white and blonde! But what really floored him was the fact he found himself in a desert oasis of palms, and the palms were as white as snow! Not only that but all the vegetation was white even the Indian's dogs! Only the rocks and soil seemed to maintain any semblance of color.
He stayed with these people for two days while he rested up and delved into the mystery of this whiteness. He found them to be very kind and their concern over his well-being and comfort pierced even the hardened shell of Pegleg. He found out that these people were actually Indians. For generations they had known the existence of this white Palm Spring which had long been taboo, When they first saw the early Spaniards they thought they were Indians who had been exposed to the influence of the White alms, and were mystified they spoke no Indian dialect. They were impressed by the Spaniards intelligence and obvious power. As they began to enslave them, the Indians figured this was because their skins were dark.
A secret meeting was called and it was decided by the Chiefs and Medicine Men, that small groups would slip away from the Missions and pueblos and expose themselves the the powers of the White Palms. After a few months, the resulting "bleach Indians" would return and intermingle with the Spaniards, not in the role of slaves but equals. Pegleg was staying with one of these early groups. We now know, this practice was continued even during American times.
Historically this explains one of the reasons for the mysterious disappearance of the Indians from Southern California and particularly the desert regions. The "historical clincher" for this is the fact that the Indians had a kind of secret password to identify themselves. In the Cocopa tongue, the White Palms were known as "the place where the green goes." Having a Spanish accent these Indians, when heard identifying themselves in English, used the phrase "green goes" which sounded like "gringos", hence the derivation of this word as used by the Indians and Mexicans when speaking of white people.
Pegleg mentions many of the strange happenings he encountered during his stay at Palmas Blancas. One of these was in regards to the "grin nuts" the White Indians gathered from the roots of the white palm trees. They were about the size of a man's thumb, and when roasted or parched made a delicious and nutritious meal. In his rough, ungrammatical english he tells of the white vegetation and particularly of the white animals found around the palms where even the skunks were bleached. The White Indian's women he described as "bootiful" with a certain passion and fervor, and the men most attractive.
The finding of the Palmas Blancas was pure, blundering luck. I had started down the Arroyo Salado from 17-Palms Oasis alone and in the jeep, for Highway 99 and Truckhaven. Always curious and with plenty of time on my hands I turned into an obscure wash. This soon ended, so turning the jeep. I climbed out of the wash and came to the edge of a deep barranca or ravine. As near as can be remembered I was going in a northwesterly direction. Some time was consumed trying to find a way down into the barranca. The way was blocked a huge sand dune which lapped over into the barranca. Even though the sand was soft. I knew I could make it down into the barranca, but never out again with the jeep. Like all these barrancas that run toward the Salton Sink if followed downward one comes out at Highway 99, and a spot can usually be found where you can get out with the jeep.
After getting down in the barranca, it narrowed with perpendicular walls which could not be climbed even on foot. Furthermore it started breaking up into a finger-like maze of other barrancas which were getting deeper and seemed to be running in the wrong direction. The compass whirled around, so I stopped the jeep, stepped out with the pocket compass and even it was spinning in a blur. Picking a likely looking wash. I drove down it for some four or five miles, when to my surprise I saw lodged on a high sand bar to the left of the wash a bit of plywood. Stopped the jeep, I climbed out and examined it and fount it was one of the "plywood peglegs" Harry Oliver of Thousand Oaks had cut out some years back to publicize the ceremonies held at the Pegleg Monument in Borrego Valley.
Whether it had been placed there intentionally or had washed down in one of the summer flash floods could not be determined. In any event about a 100 feet beyond was another narrow opening in the barranca wall. Leaving the jeep and taking the gadget-bag and cameras I decided to explore this narrow barranca. After walking about 400 yard the ravine opened into a bowl-like valley, and directly ahead were some white palms! At the time I thought they had died and were bleached in the desert suns. I walked towards them, and in stepping into a depression near their base was surprised to hear the swish of water, feel water running into my shoes and noted my pants showed the stain of wetting around the cuffs! I stopped, put my hand down and could feel water, but couldn't see it—invisible water!
By tthis time I was thoroughly "shook." The day was fairly hot with clouds in the sky and I didn't have a hat on, so I thought I had a touch of sun-stroke. By this time I was panicky. I started to make a hasty retreat from theis weird and unbelievable valley when I stopped and took some pictures just in case it really existed. Paying little attention to light or exposure, the film remaining in the camera was exposed. Noting some green nodules on the roots of one of the nearby palms. I pulled off a few, stuck them in my pocket and made my way back to the jeep. After hours of almost dazed driving in and out of washes and barrancas, I reached Highway 99 near Tavertine Point.
Getting back to camp, I didn't mention my adventure for fear of being ridiculed. In the morning, looking for a package of cigarettes, I went through the pockets of my jacket in the jeep and found the green nodules.
Dr. Charles McVicar, head of the biology department of P.I.T. examined the nodules and heard my story. It was then we went to the Pegleg Journals. The nodules we found were similar to the nitrogen nodules on the roots of leguminous plants, but instead of fixing nitrogen they carried on a strange hitherto unreported type of photosynthesis which in turn apparently nourished the palms. Unfortunately, no media we tried would support their growth. Dr. McVicar named them Pesudomana gallaviridisparkeril, in my Honor.
For months now we have searched for the Palmas Blancas. Winds, sand and rain have obscured the jeep tracks. In the Canada de las Palmas Blancas, still exists one of the strangest phenomenons on the face of the earth. A lost world of the Anza-Borrego Desert, with only the photos denoting its authenticity—reminiscent of those photos used to illustrate the existence of "flying saucers."
You know we are building a monument of loose stones to Pegleg Smith with a big sign near it asserting that every searcher who adds ten stones increases his chances of finding the Pegleg Mine. With the flavor of the Blarney-Stone, this "Wishing Well idea appeals to all.
Quips and Clips
Gathered by KERWIN HOOVER
Conductor of the columns "Hometown Flavor" and "Grassroots Clippings"
Harry Oliver, Editor of the unique Desert Rat Scrapbook he publishes at old Fort Oliver at Thousand Palms, California, believes that if your publication is a little bit screwball, you have to use screwball methods to keep your subscribers on your subscription list. The reminder that Harry sends to his tardy ones includes these items: ". . . I don't like to tell sorrowful stuff about this paper but here comes the mailman with six cans of beer and a cake of ice, and if you folks had sent in your renewal money earlier we could of had ice and beer yesterday, and YESTERDAY IS GONE! . . . Just because it is getting warm back where you live and you lose interest in the desert in summer-time, just you remember how nice and warm my paper makes you feel in the cold, cold weather . . . Send in your renewal, so's we can get through this hot dehydrating summer without being 'dried to jerky.'"
Harry, by the way, wants it known that he has no thermometer at Old Fort Oliver. As he puts it. "I shot it off the wall finally—it got up to 121 in the shade, and I knew if it went higher, we might not be able to stand it—that's IF WE KNEW IT."
From "The Publishers Auxiliary"—Chicago,—"You know,"̬Lots of newspapermen send me .50 a year.
A genius is "A man what knows more'n he an find out, and spills victuals on his clothes."
THE MAIL POUCH
Mr. Harry Oliver.
Thousand Palms, Calif.
No doubt you know about the "Eagles Eye" two miles south of Aguilla Arizona, That thousand foot peak standing there alone in the desert—a lone sentinal surrounded by silence.
Near the top of this slender peak is a found opening that goes through to daylight and viewed from the highway at Aguilla, it has the appearance of an eagles eye which gave the Spanish name of Aguilla to the Town.
Now, I suggest that you use your influence to get some rich man, some big "butter and egg man" who wishes his name perpetuated throughout eternity to place in the "eagles eye" a great deep toned bell that could be heard for miles throughout the silent desert.
There would be a windmill on top of the peak to operate the bell. There would be a beautiful little shrine where all those who are weary and heavy laden could come, meditate and purify their souls in the silence of the desert.
PS—Due to my chronic financial condition, I would not be able to contribute to the bell, but I agree to act as door keeper in the House Of The Lord. Pick up the empty beer cans, the keenex and sweep up the peanut shells.Old Bill Williams. Dead Man Gulch. Ariz.
"It's the master's voie all right, except for a slight overamplification of the treble and some minor distortion in the first half dozen grooves.
"But I must get back to work on that hundred year old press."
"Why must I think of him as the Maaster?"
Formula for complete happiness, be very busy with the unimportant.
One way to forget a lot of little troubles is to get one big one.
I've taken my fun where I've found it—mostly from columnists.
Fun is the pepper-and-salt of every-day life, and all the really wise men who have lived have used it freely for seasoning.
The funny bone isn't a bone its a nerve which, when struck, gives you that funny feeling.
Only One World Famous
11 Miles South of Indio on Highway 99
or Please Mail Your Order
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2-lbs. Assorted Date Candies.... 2.75
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Full Color Folder Free on Request
VALERIE JEAN DATE SHOP
By S. Omar Barker
The plumber showed up promptly.
We're awfully glad he could— To fix our bathroom thingumbob
That didn't swaller good!
Old Captain Catnip Ashby was asked by that fellow thats been here for sometime, to sit in the sun and get over a sick spell he had.
He ups and asked Cap, ""What is life's heaviest burden?"
CAp tells him, "To have nothing to carry."
Today the new comer sits in the sun with a skinny kitten on one side of him, and a limping puppy on the other side, (he as something to carry.) but he is happy and his own burden don't show in his smiling face.
In a small Idaho college town the professor of English was indisposed and stayed home one day. "What happened?" one student asked the professor's daughter.
"He's terribly upset," she disclosed. "Last night an owl in one of the trees kept repeating "To who? To who? instead of "To whom?"
The Show Must Go On
Your Editor as a Villan
I was the Art Director on Will Rogers picture "Lightning" (Frank Bacon's great stage play), at Lake Tahoe. Henry King was the director. (Fox the Studio),—We selected a location on 'Fallen Leaf Lake' for the location to build the Hotel set, (one half in California and one half in Nevada, as the story required,)—the great pines were wonderful, the land owner was well paid, glad to have us use his land, the view of the lake was grand.
I made the Nevada side of the Hotel Old Colonial, the California side cheap bungalow type, (contrast was important,)—but as the building went up we were aware that certain of the small pine tree under-growth must be cut out to get the view we wanted.
The owner threw up his hands in protest,—nothing was to be cut. That night after a conference with the director and business manager, I asked them to leave it to me but not to tell Will Rogers what I planned to do, and for them to get Will Rogers on the job to talk to the owner each morning.
That night and each night for the next twelve nights I went out to the location with ten of my carpenters and sawed off 12 inches from the bottom of each of those little pines, then carefully nailed them back on their little stumps at ground level. They did twelve days of slow undetected shrinking as the pleased owner heard story after story from our finest story teller Will Rogers.
When I told Mr. Rogers after it was all over, he said, "I don't approve",—"but I must admit you have a great crew of Gophers,—or are they Magicians?".
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.
HEAR YOUR DESERT RAT5
John Norman's Desert Records proudly announces the debut on disc of the old Desert Rat himself in a collection of great stories from The Desert Rat Scrap Book.
For the first time you can hear Harry Oliver spin the most famous of his tales. In high-fidelity sound, recorded on-the-scene at Old Fort oliver, are stories of the Singing Sands, Madame Bellows, the Cold Nose Caper, Dick Wick Hall's exploding mine, Music and Booze, Haywire Weather and many others.
Order your copy of this 12-inch long-playing record today. It's yours for only $4.98. Send check or money order to:
P.O. Box 1304 PALM SPRINGS, CALIF.
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.