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DESERT RAT SCRAP BOOKPAGE 2
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PACKET TWO OF POUCH TWELVE
Don Quixote Press
Thousand Palms, Calif. 92276
Mailing Price: $1.00 a Year
10 Years ......................................... $10.00
100 Years ........................................ $120.00*
*Darned if I'm going to the trouble of mailing it that long for nothing.
H A R R Y O L I V E R
Do you realize that if your feet were not attached at right angles, your shoes would fall off?
Frankly, it isn't the coin shortage that bothers me. It's the scarcity of $10.00 bills.
Nature compensates for everything. For instance, as my hair gets thin—my head gets thicker.
TALES FROM OLD BALLARAT
Back in the days when the mining town of Darwin was booming, Lonnie Lee was a prosperous and respected merchant in the town. When his wife died, he went to pieces. He drank himself out of business and out of town, winding up in another mining town, Ballaraat, as a barfly (today they are called winos).
In the good old days when a saloon patron imbibed too freely, he wasn't bodily thrown out, or the law called to take him away, he was put bed in the back room. Every saloon in town had a couple of courtesy beds, this was considered good business, for when the patron sobered up he was still a potential customer.
Lonnie would make the rounds of the saloons mooching drinks and at a late hour when he became overly tanked he would take advantage of a courtesy bed.
There were a clan of Irish miners working at the Ratcliff Mine in the Panamint Mountains above Ballarat. One of their brethren as killed in a mine accident. The Irishmen quit work and took the body to Ballarat. There was no morgue so they place the corpse on a courtesy bed in the back room of Chris Wicht's saloon and covered it with a bright colored quilt.
While awaiting the arrival of the coroner who had to travel over a hundred miles by horse and buggy, the Irishmen proceeded to hold the Wake. During the course of the night many drinks were lifted in toast to the departed Mike.
At a late hour, Lonnie, who had been working the other end of town and not knowing about the Wake, staggered through the back door seeking a courtesy bed. Seeing the bright quilt he thought, that is if he was still able to think, that the quilt covered another drunk, so he crawled under the quilt with the corpse. Along toward morning he awoke just as an Irishman in the bar bellowed "Set'um up for the house." Lonnie, cold and with the shakes wrapped the quilt around his head and shoulders, walked into the bar announced that he would like a drink too.
The bewildered, drunk, and frightened Irishmen thought the corpse had come alive. Along with the bartender they stampeded through the front door splintering it as they went, leaving poor Lonnie and the corpse in sole possession of the saloon.
From DESERT SANDS
By George Pipkin
From a letter written in the twilight of his life. "Twenty-four years ago, Madam, I was incredibly handsome. The remains of it are still visible through the rift of time. I was so handsome that women became spellbound when I came in view. In San Francisco, in rainy seasons, I was frequently mistaken for a cloudless day."
Mike Connolly relays a story about an Indian brave who glumly watched Christopher Columbus land and grumbled, "Well, there goes the neighborhood!"
Way Before Beer Cans - -
Man is a great blunderer going about in the woods, and there is no other except the bear that makes so much noise. Being so well warned beforehand, it is a very stupid animal, or a very bold one, that cannot keep safely hid. The cunningest hunter is hunted in turn, and what he leaves of his kill is meat for some other. That is the economy of nature, but with it all there is no sufficient account taken of the works of man. There is no scavenger that eats tin cans, and no wild thing leaves a like disfigurement on the foreste floor.
PAUSE FOR A COMMERCIAL
"Nothing to read around this place," stormed the man of the house who had settled down for an evening, "but some old next month's magazines!"
You don't have that problem with this little paper. This Packet comes to you exactly 10 years and 7 month's late.
The new cab driver in Las Vegas called in on his radio to the dispatcher: "I've driven this man home, and the meter reads $5.20—but he doesn't have any money."
"Well, get some securityૼa watch, a ring, anything!" the dispatcher said.
After a few minutes the driver called again. "I've got the security. Now what do I do?"
"Turn it in to your superintendant in the morning."
"Hell!" exploded the driver "You mean I gotta drive around the rest of the night with a live turtle in the front seat!"
THE DESERTS MOST QUOTED PAPER3
Along the Border
This writer has never known a prospector that did not honestly believe he had the Golden Fleece at the bottom of his own ten-foot hole in the ground. The two old prospectors that roamed the hills around Tubac and Mission San José de Tumacacori more than forty years ago were no exception to the rule. They got around the country in a Model T and did their trading at the little Chinese store that was located just south of the Catholic church in Tubac, after pitching their tent in the old rock corral up in the canyon southwest of Tubac, they scoured the hills and canyons for some sign of the fabled Virgin Guadalupe tunnel where millions of dollars worth of gold and silver was stored away until the padres could return for it. They argued long and loud that the padres were not averse to laying away treasures on earth for a rainy day as well as building up treasures in Heaven.
For the sake of this story, we will call the old prospectors Jim and Bill, for those were not their real names. After many sleepless nights, they decided on a spot a short distance on the hillside south of the rock corral where they felt sure the Guadalupe treasure lay buried. At night they sat around the campfire and reveled in the dreams of a Monte Cristo, the Alhambra in old Granada where secret caves were filled with gold and priceless jewels and Arabian steeds all saddled, bridled and ready to ride. Occasionally they argued over the division of the treasure and sometimes came to blows. Their minds were rank with cupidity as each figured that if he could in some way get rid of the other and claim all the treasure, he would be a great and prosperous mining man.
The old timers had neither an alarm clock or watch and paid little or no attention to the passing of time or the days of the week or month. They took turns about cooking and Bill aways knew when it was his turn as Jim's dog always left camp the night before.
One day they drove their model T down to the Chinese store for the purpose of restocking their larder and in some way got hold of a bottle of Tubac Kickapoo water. Again they argued over the division of the treasure and finally came to blows. When they were ready to return to camp, old Jim remembered that the next day was washday and purchased a package of a well-known washing power. On arrival at the old corral, Jim sat the washing powder on the shelf beside the package of white cornmeal that they dredged their salt pork in before frying it in the dutch oven. Old Bill got up early next morning and got breakfast by candlelight and dredged the sowbelly in washing powder instead of white cornmeal. When he yelled "come and get it" old Bill got up, took one bite of it, spat it out and swore Jim was trying to poison him in order to get all the treasure for himself. Again they came to blows and decided to divide their interests and separate. In order to accomplish this in a legal manner, they drove to Nogales and secured the services of a well-known International lawyer. The learned lawyer advised them that, in view of the fact that the mine was such a rich and valuable one, they should form a corporation, preferably under the laws of Delaware, place part of the stock in the treasury and divide the balance equally between themselves. The Incorporation papers were liberal and wide in scope. Under their terms, the old prospectors, their heirs or assigns, were authorized to build mills, smelters, railroads and operate steamship lines, etc. To make a long story short, the International lawyer fixed things up pink. When everything was in legal shape, the lawyer owned the Model T and Jim and Bill left town carrying their packs on their backs. Bill headed east toward Patagonia, while Jim headed west through the pass in the Tumacacori mountains to Apachewater. The great Guadalupe treasure, if any, still lies undiscovered at the bottom of the ten-foot hole just above the old rock corral.
By John D. Mitchell
Author of Lost Mines & Hidden Treasures
The cattleman's daughter complained to her mother. "Daddy always embarrases me in front of my boy friend by saying manure. Can't you get him to say fertilizer?"
The mother replied, "We'd better leave well enough alone. It took me ten years to get him to say manure."
"Crop failures?" asked the tourist.
"Yes," answered the grizzled old-timer, "but I've seen worse. Now back in 1884 the corn crop was purt' nigh nothing. We cooked some for dinner one day, and paw ate fourteen acres of corn at one meal."
Burning the candle at both ends is one way to go out like a light.
"I didn't come to be told I'm burning the candle at both ends", said a patient to his doctor. "I came for more wax."
Betsy Green was one of the picturesque characters of the early Sierra gold country. She was a large, muscular woman, her masculine appearance being emphasized by heavy boots and the immense pack she carried.
"I should think, Betsy," said one of the ranch-wives, "that you'd be scared to death sleeping out alone at night."
"No, I ain't skeered o' nothin'—exceptin' sometimes," she added with a shamefaced air, "I do be a bit shy of a bear."
It was said that any Mountain Man could tell the difference between a black bear and a grizzly. Kick one in the rump, and if it is a black bear it will climb the tree after you.
A tourist stopped in front of a desert trading post, dumfounded at the sight of an enormous display of salt piled high on the premises. Stack after stack, boxes, barrels, bags, tons of salt, inside the store and out.
"You must sell a lot of salt," exclaimed the tourist.
"No, I don't sell much," replied the storekeeper. "But you shoulda seen the guy who came thru here last week. He could really sell salt!"
Item from an etiquette book: "A gentleman invariably follow a lady upstairs . . ."
University of Nebraska psychologists testing the ingenuity of rats have found some rats that test the ingenuity of psychologists. One rat, for instance, was supposed to be running inside an "activity wheel" while an automatic counter kept track of the wheel's revolutions. But the rat was found lying in his cage calmly spinning the wheel with his paw.
Animals have these advantages over man: they never hear the clock strike, they die without any idea of death, they have no theologians to instruct them, their last moments are not disturbed by unwelcome and unpleasant ceremonies, their funerals cost them nothing, and no one starts lawsuits over their wills.
Small son on Daddy's lap: "I'm still confused—was I born in a nest or a hive?"
A local man was buried last week. 'Tis said before he died his good wife sorrowfully and affectionately asked him, "Don't you think you could eat a bit of something, John?"
With a wan smile he said, "I do think I could eat a bit of that ham I smell cooking."
"Oh, no, John dear," said his wife, "you can't eat that; that's for the wake."
In the first grade, Alfredo was called to the principals' office, for it was thought that he looked thin.
The visiting nurse, trained in child psychology, said kindly, "Freddie, do you get enough to eat?"
"Sure," said Alfredo.
"Well, now. Tell me what you have for breakfast."
"Tortillas and beans," said Alfredo.
The nurse nodded her head dismally to the principal. "What do you have when you go home for lunch?"
"I don't go home."
"Don't you eat at noon?"
"Sure. I bring some beans wrapped up in a tortilla."
Actual alarm showed in the nurse's eyes, but she controlled herself. "At night what do you have to eat?"
"Tortillas and beans."
Her psychology deserted her. "Do you mean to stand there and tell me you eat nothing but tortillas and beans?"
Alfredo was astonished. "Jesus Christ," he said, "what more do you want?"
From TORTILLA FLAT
by John Steinbeck
Copyright 1935, © 1963 by John Steinbeck
All Rights Reserved
Reprinted by Permission of The Viking Press, Inc.
Old Mining Days in
R A N D S B U R G
A camp cook in the Rand District was cooking without washing his hands. The miners decided to stop this habit.
"You're going to wash you hands this morning," they said to the cook, "or we'll string you up."
Later in the day, the company superintendant jokingly said, "I heard that they made you wash your hands this morning."
"Yeah, but I got even with them," the cook replied. "I mixed the biscuit dough with the water I washed my hands in."
Old Time prospectors have little use for forked sticks and doodlebugs in their hunt for precious metals. Seldom Seen Slim, who has driven or dragged his burros over most of the desert through the years, said: "I got hold of one of them contraptions and it went bz-z-z, and led me straight to a horseshoe."
THE MAIL POUCH
Here is one dollar for a years subscription to the DESERT RAT SCRAP BOOK. I collected the dollar, every cent of it, by picking up discarded bottles (3c each) left at the roadside. Maybe you could start a campaign for collecting old deposit bottles.
111 North Hidalgo Ave.
Old Fort Oliver
GENUINE 200 YEAR OLD -CARRETA-
Count the tree rings — I Built It My Self
DEATH VALLEY SCOTTY
Scotty was absorbed in a poker game one night, in the Elite Saloon in Goldfield, when an itinerant evangelist came in, distributing religious tracts. He approached the table where Scotty was playing and timidly laid one of his tracts at the elbow of each player. Scotty was engaged in scanning his hand after the manner of the cagey poker player; just sliding the cards far enough to see the corners. He brushed his tract to the floor with an impatient movement, not even glancing at it. The man picked it up and laid it on the table again, only to have Scotty brush it off and remark that he would kite the opener five bones.
The man picked it up and tapped Scotty on the shoulder, and asked him, "Brother, don't you love Jesus?"
Scotty looked up in astonishment. He laid down his cards, face down and still covered with one hand; looked the little man up and down, then said, "Yes, I love Jesus plenty. And I want to see tha bastard son of a Cousin Jack who loves him more than I do."
That was that—and then the game went on.
From Silhouettes of Charles S. Thomas
By Sewell Thomas
Is Still Wild
Luck favored the stranger from the start, and he won steadily. Finally, he drew four aces, and after the stakes had been run up to a comfortable figure, he magnanimously refused to bet further "This is downright robbery," he exclaimed, "and I don't want to end the game here by bankrupting you. So here goes." He threw down four aces and reached for the money.
"Hold on!" cried his antagonist.. "I'll take care of the dust, if you please."
"But I held four aces—see?"
"Well, what of it? I've got a looloo."
The stranger was dazed "A looloo?" he repeated. "What is a looloo, anyway?"
"Three clubs and two diamonds," cooly replied the miner, raking in the stakes. "I guess you ain't accustomed to our Poker rules out here. See there?"
He jerked his thumb toward a pasteboard sign which ornamented the wall of the saloon. It read:
A LOOLOO BEATS FOUR ACES
The game proceeded, but it was plainly evident that the unsophisticated tiger hunter had something on his mind. Within five minuts he suddenly braced up, his face was wreathed in smiles, and he began betting once more with his former vigor and recklessness. . . .
The stranger threw down his cards with an exultant whoop. "It's my time to howl just about now!" he cried, as he reached for the money. "There's a looloo for you—three clubs and two diamonds."
"Tut! Tut!" exclaimed the miner. "Really this is too bad. You evidently don't understand our rules at all. You certainly don't mean to tell me that you play Poker in such a fast-and-loose, slipshod way down East, do you? Why, look at that rule over there."
He pointed directly over the head of the busy bartender. The bit of pasteboard bore this legend:
THE LOOLOO CAN BE PLAYED BUT ONCE IN A NIGHT.
From Phil Ault's "Home Book of Western Humor"
During a Fourth of July celebration in Virginia City, a "lady" watching foot races from a window on C Street, shouted that she could beat all entrants. Bets were placed and, at the moment of the starting gun, she sprinted unclothed and barefooted from the doorway, leaving the men staring after in astonishment. She won, hands down. As one contestant later explained, "who wants to be seen chasing a naked woman down main street?"
Page 4 21st Anniversary Packet
This page is dedicated to the World's Greatest Optimist--the Desert Prospector
DESERT RAT Scrap Book
THE ESCUTCHEON OF FORT OLIVER
IN THEM HILLS
Here is the prospector's favorite tale. No one can talk to one of the old-timers for an hour without hearing it. A professional interviewer, especially if he is looked upon as a stranger in the desert, may count that day lost when he fails to hear the tale at least once.
WO prospectors died in the fulness of their years, and contrary to their own expectation and that of their friends found themselves in Heaven. A third, unknown to them, came later to the Gate, was admitted by St. Peter with some hesitation.
"What's the trouble?" the newcomer asked. "You let me in but I don't hear any welcoming chorus."
"I have let you in," said St. Peter. "You've always worked hard for your grub-stakers, and you've worshipped God out under the stars at night, and played fair and haven't told any lies that would do any real harm. You are in the Book to be let in but I must admit that you are not very welcome. I let a couple of prospectors in a while back and they've been a nuisance. They're always tearing up the golden streets."
So the newcomer was welcomed and introduced to the others. They greeted him cordially and tried to sell him a claim. When that failed they pointed out adjoining ground that he might locate himself. Presently he was as busy as they, sinking assessment holes. St. Peter appeared, drew the newcomer aside and protested.
"Oh, yes," the prospector agreed. "This is such good ground that I forgot. But I'll keep my word."
And a day or two later the two original prospectors appeared at the Gate and asked to be released. No amount of questioning could get at the reason for their request, but St. Peter, having warned them that once out they couldn't come back, agreed cheerfully to let them go.
All was peace in Heaven for a few days. then St. Peter came upon the third and remaining prospector, seated in thought upon a heap of golden paving stones.
"You did very well, my good man," he said. "Your friends have gone. How did you arrange it?"
The prospector grinned. "I just let it drop that there was a rich strike in Hell," he said.
But that wasn't all. And here is the revelation of the prospector spirit. A few days later the remaining prospector approached St. Peter at the Gate.
"I'd like to get out," he said.
"Why? Everything is peaceful and lovely here now since your destructive associates have left. Heaven certainly owes you a debt of thanks. If there is anything we can do to make you happier, you may command me and it will be done."
"Well, I recon you'd better let me out. I been thinkin' about that new strike in Hell, an' I believe there's something in it. I'd like to get down there ahead of the rush and stake me a few good claims."
DESERT RATS and SOURDOUGHS
THE DANE, a part of the staff here at Old Fort Oliver, is our authority on the Yukon. He tells us that it gets so cold there in winter that words freeze into little balls of ice, making it next to impossible to carry on a conversation. These thaw out in the spring and come to life. Then the woods are full of odd and strange sounds.
"One spring, on the Laird River in Northern Yukon," he said, "I heard desperate calls for help. When I investigated, I found a man caught in a bear trap who had been dead for three months:"
"Another time," he added, "I found two prospectors frozen in their cabin for no apparent reason. They had plenty of food, there was a large pile of wood outside, there was no signs of violence. I a word, everything was in order, except the two prospectors were frozen stiff."
"I built a fire in the stove, and as the cabin warmed up and the ice melted, the last words of the dead men rose from the floor. They were arguing about whose turn it was to go out and bring in the wood."
I don't vouch for this story. The only ones I swear to are my own, which I know to be lies.Your Editor
TEXAS ZEPHYRFrom S. Omar Barker's Book,
To figger how hard the wind blows
Out on the Texas plains,
You hang a fresh-killed beef up
With a pair of loggin' chains:
And if on the mornin' after,
You find that your beef is skinned
And you have to ride to find the hide—
There's been just a leetle wind!
"Songs of the Saddlemen."
For the fourth time, the grizzled old Texan from the Big Thicket was hauled up before the court for making moonshine. Since the Judge knew that the old man mad whiskey only for his own use, he spoke gently. "George, the commercial distillers put out a real good product these days, and they'll sell it at a reasonable price. I know you don't have much money, but it would be far better for you simply to buy a bottle every now and then, than to keep on making this stuff and keep on getting caught."
"I dunno," said the moonshiner.
"Of course I'm right," the judge said. "I'll prove it. How much do you drink?"
"A half-gallon a day for me," said the old man, "and then there's the family."
From FAREWELL TO TEXAS
By William O. Douglas
URING a drouth and die-up of the eighties—before governmental aid to suffering citizens became popular—some farm and ranch people in Jack County, Texas, gathered together to pray for rain and, in case it didn't rain for supplies from the charitably inclined. Most provisions in those days came in barrels and were sold to the ranches by the barrel. "Oh, God," and old cowhand prayed, getting louder and higher as he proceeded, "soften the hearts of people in the East to send us a according to our needs. Put it into their hearts to send us barrels of flour, barrels of lard, barrels of coffee, barrels of meal, barrels of salt pork, barrels of beans, barrels of molasses, barrels of sugar, barrels of vinegar, barrels of salt, barrels of pepper, barrels—." Just at this point his plea was broken into by an elbow against his ribs and a rough whisper, "Oh hell, that's too much pepper."
J. Frank Dobie
THE DESERT RAT By Clyde Terrell
"Desert-rat" is a lowly sort of word
For a man once king of a vast domain;
Its origin long lost and blurred
Like face of a hill in a desert rain.
Life and laughter have followed me
Down the lonely trails I've trod.
Into lost and barren wastelands,
Seldom seen even by the eyes of God.
Where winds have stirred restles sand
And flung it against the sunset sky,
You'll now find cities on every hand,
With sources of wealth that never run dry.
In lonely canyons, a time or two I've found,
A pot of gleaming gold at rainbow's end;
But I just minded and scattered it around—
For gold, of course, was made to spend.
No longer do I linger at the water hole,
Or tramp the desert day by day,
Or dig in the ground like a damn blind mole,
Just for gold to throw away.
That shadow you see on some far ridge,
Is only my spirit a-followin' me,
Down dim trails and over the bridge
That touches the shore of eternity.
At times at night when you see a light,
On some far hill against the sky:
'Tis not mine, for my fires no longer shine,
'Tis only a star that fell while passin' by.
Rainbow Chasers by Kirk Martin
PARSON RALPH RILEY, a Bostonian and a Presbyterian, preached many sermons in the West of the 60's and 70's, and always kept an observant eye cocked to the mores of the land. He reported with good humor a church service which he attended, held under a spreading oak by the Truckee River on the eastern slopes of the Sierra Nevada, a service which ended in an uproarious row.
"The congregation was made up of silver miners, gamblers, lumbermen, and gold hunters. Some of them were Welshmen with their wives, with a dozen or so Indians standing on the outer edge of the congregation.
"When the preacher got through his sermon, he asked them to name the place of the next meeting. Pine Nob Morgan suggested that we meet at Sister Ferguson's place in Roaring Canyon. Mrs. Morgan jumped up and said: 'Not if I know it, by gosh!' Pine Nob told her to shut her mouth or he would put a spur of the Sierras in it. California Jack from Cedar Gulch told Pine Nob that he was no gentleman, and didn't know how to behave himself in church. Mrs. Brown screamed that Pone Nob was seen going too often up to Roaring Canyon. Andy Jackson asked her what sort of a boarding house she kept when Brown was in the mountains? One of the boarders got up and said he would make mince meat of Andy and feed him to the dogs. Jemima Ferguson asked where was last Sunday's collection? 'It was drunk at the Red Gulch Saloon!' shouted a half dozen angry voices. The preacher raised his arms to pronounce the benediction, but they must have supposed that he was waving them on to deeds of valor, for every man and woman of them sprung to their feet and at each other like fury.
Then you would see their eyes glare like Carnegie's furnaces, their fists rising into the upper air like a peak of the Rockies, and the sound of their screaming and shouting was like the roaring of the Atlantic when a Sou'wester is blowing. Red Dog, one of the Indians present, gave a war whoop and leaped up from the ground four feet, and then ran around yelping, as he used to when after scalps.
"I like a first-class church rows with first-class Christians in them. Then the air smells like the atmosphere of Nevada and the music enters your soul like 'Scots wha ha wi' Wallace bled.'"
Duncan Emrich in
"It's an Old Wild West Custom"
"Pigs is pigs," as Ellis Parker Butler said.
But is there really an Octave Broussard?
For the name of Octave Broussard assumed immortality today. It is in the Congressional Record. As long as the Record is preserved the name of Octave Broussard shall live in history.
Broussard wrote a letter to Sen. Barry Goldwater (R-Ariz.) as follows:
"Dear Mr. Senator:
"My friend Bordeaux over in Pima County received a $1,000 check from the government this year for not raising hogs. So I am going into the not-raising-hogs business next year.
"What I want to know is what is the best kind of farm not to raise hogs on and what is the best kind of hogs not to raise? I would prefer not to raise razorbacks, but if that is not a good breed not to raise, I will just as gladly not raise any Berkshires or Durocs. . .
"My friend Bordeaux is very joyful about the future of his business. He haas been raising hogs for more than 20 years and the best he ever made was $400 until this year, when he got $1,000 for not raising hogs. . . .
"I plan to operate on a small scale at first, holding myself down to about 4,000 hogs which means I will have $80,000.
"Now another thing: These hogs I will not raise will not eat 100,000 bushels of corn. I understand that you also pay farmers for not raising corn.
"So will you pay me anything for not raising 100,000 bushels of corn not to feed the hogs I am not raising?
"(Signed) Octave Broussard."
KNOW YOUR TOOLS
Somewhere recently I read an interesting line—one man saying to another: "Stand away from that wheelbarrow; you don't understand machinery."
Poor H. Allen Smith's Almanac
SHORTY JONES' MAGIC TABLETS
By VOLLIE TRIPP
I'm wondering if you or any of your readers ever heard of an odd little desert character named Shorty Jones? Shorty was an eccentric little genius, his most remarkable invention being his water tablets. I went out with him once years ago. He insisted we need carry no water, and somewhat against my better judgement, I left my canteen home.
About 10 o'clock the sun really began to beat down, and I was thirsty. Well, we sat down under the half shade of a smoke tree, and Shorty took out a small bottle of pale green pellets, each about as big as an aspirin tablet. Looking at the clear cloudless sky, he remarked that it would take a little longer this time on account of the low humidity.
Shorty then dropped a tablet into an empty tomato can he carried, and at once water began to form around the tablet. In five minutes the can was full of clear, pure water. The tablet apparently was able to cause moisture in the air, always present in some degree, to precipitate. Shorty told me he made the tablets for inexpensive chemicals one could obtain in almost any drug store.
Shorty died about 1910, and so far as I know, he never told any one how he made the water tablets.
Reprinted from CALICO PRINT
Courtesy of Harold & Lucile Wright
SMART, THOSE BURROS
LD-TiMERS give the burro credit, not only for a devilish ingenuity in evading work and obtaining food, but for an uncanny intelligence. Prospectors who lived with and leaned upon the beast for a third of century can tell a hundred tales of burro wisdom. Charley Higgins, who has made a study of burros over a thousand miles of desert wastes, and in scores of desert camps, tells one of the best.
"It was at the old camp of Tuscarora, back twenty-five or thirty years ago," says Charley. "Tuscarora was what the magazine writers like to call a 'ghost town'. It was sort of ghostly at that. There were a number of old abandoned shacks and cabins, with the doors and widows fallen in. But there was a little excitement there at this time I'm speaking about, and a number of men were working, and prospectors doing location work on new claims. Down in the flat there must have been fifty or sixty burros roaming around, picking up what they could.
"I needed three or four good burros for a trip I was planning and I went to a prospector I knew and offered to buy his string. He was working then, and didn't need 'em. He said all right, and when he finished his shift he went with me down to the flat and we walked around and he pointed out his burros to me. We made a deal, and next morning I went down to cut out these burros. They weren't there. All the rest of the herd was there, calm as usual, but these four were gone.
"So I went back to my friend and told him. He said I must be mistaken. But I knew I wasn't. I knew burros, and I'd have been able to pick out these four in four hundred after he had pointed them out to me. Well, finally he went down with me to see about it, and sure enough the other fifty or sixty burros were scattered down on the flat below the old abandoned cabins, but his burros weren't there. We looked at every animal. At last we gave up, and started back to camp, figuring I'd have to buy some others.
"But just as I passed one of the old abandoned cabins, I caught a glimpse of a gray nose sticking out through a window. I went in, and what do you suppose? Hiding there in that cabin, were those four burros I'd bought. And some folks say a burro is dumb."
GOLD IN THEM HILLS
By C. B. Glasscock
A local rancher had to paint COW in huge letters on all his cattle to keep them from being shot by dude hunters. When he even painted COW on his prize bull, one of the neighbors remarked on this injustice.
"Hell," snorted the rancher, "there's no use confusing them city hunters with details."
No man has ever really entered into the heart of any country until he has made up myths about its familiar objects.
When you're down in the dumps, always remember this: Half the people aren't interested in hearing about your troubles, and the other half are glad you're getting what's coming to you.
It is best never to have been born. But who among us has such luck? One in a million perhaps.
Many stories are told of rich mines discovered by prospectors investigating the underground homes of badgers. "He's a diggin' fool," say the old mineral scouts, "and with his long and sharp black nails he can make the dirt fly." Many of these old-timers are strong in the belief that a badger has a natural nose for precious metals, that he can actually smell it—especially gold—and delights in digging for it and making his home where it is the richest. Many of the stories of the finding of rich gold deposits through the help of one of these "diggin' fools" can be verified.
It was but a few years ago that the late Dick Raycraft, one of the best known of southern Nevada's prospectors, "desert rats," they are sometimes called, while prospecting in the red-capped Monte Cristo hills sat down on a boulder to light his pipe. When he tossed away the match he noticed it fell into a badger hole. A prospector of the old school never passes up a badger hole without exploring it. Raycraft explored this one. He found it lined with rocks reeking with free gold. Several thousand dollars worth of rich gold was taken out of his badger's treasure house.
The famous Navajo mine, in the old camp of Tuscarora, Nevada, was discovered in the early 60's through badgers digging up a large chunk of solid ruby silver. The Navajo produced $16,000,000. There is hardly a mining district in any part of the West that cannot produce one of more incidents where some rich mine has been opened up following the discovery by a badger. There are many others.
Know His Western Humor
A little Chinaman, dubbed "Chickie," used to go into the Bodie bank to phone, after having been convinced the telephone would talk Chinese as well as English. He used to call the Wells Fargo agent in Hawthorne to find out if his produce was there, and to ask him to get it on the next stage. He invariably asked about sweet potatoes.
J. S. put three sweet potatoes in the battery box of the old fashioned telephone. Then he put the Wells Fargo agent in Hawthorne wise. The next time chickie phoned Hawthorne the agent said, "I'll send the sweet potatoes by wire—right now."
Chickie turned to J. S. "He said sweet potatoes come right now." Whereupon J. S. opened the phone box and out rolled the sweet potatoes onto the floor.
Chickie dropped the receiver in amazement, then grabbed it up again and hollered into the phone: "Holy gee! These come velly damn quick—Send everything!"
COW ON THE TRACK
OWBOYS made up a good many jokes about the railroad. A cowboy was supposedly riding a very slow train one time and noticed that every so often the train would come to a stop. The cowboy asked the conductor what was wrong, and the conductor answered that there was a cow on the tracks. Again they moved on very slowly, and again they stopped. Once more the cowboy inquired as to the trouble.
"Oh," said the conductor, "you remember that cow I told you about back there? Well, we caught up with her again."
WHY THE LAKE IS DRY
One old cowpoke was guiding a city-bred group on a camping trip and, upon passing a lake which had dried while others were full, was asked by a lady to explain the phenomenon.
"Lady," he said, "last year a party of Dutchmen camped and fished here an' caught a lot of fish. They brought plenty of grub along, also beer, and a barrel of pretzels. When they left, they found they had almost half a barrel of pretzels left, and not wantin' to haul 'em away, they dumped them in the lake. That's why the lake is dry."
"I don't see . . ."
"Ma'am," the cowboy explained patiently, "the fish ate them pretzels an' got so thirsty that they drank up all the water.
By Eugene Field
OUNG LOCHINVAR came in from the west,
With fringe on his trousers and fur on his vest;
The width of his hat brim could nowhere be beat,
His no. 10 brogans were chock full of feet.
His girdle was horrent with pistols and things,
And he flourished a handful of aces on kings.
The fair Mariana sat watching a star,
When who should turn up but the young Lochinvar!
Her pulchritude gave him a pectoral glow,
And he rained up his hoss with a stentorian "Whoa!"
Then turned on the maiden a rapturous grin,
And modestly asked if he mightn't step in.
With presence of mind that was marvelous quite,
The fair Mariana replied that he might;
So in through the portal road young Lochinvar,
Pre-empted the claim, and cleaned out the bar.
Though the justice allowed he wa'n't wholly to blame,
He taxed him ten dollars and costs, just the same.
From Phil Ault's "Home Book of Western Humor"
Dodd, Mead & Co., Inc.
432 Park Ave., South, New York, N.Y.
CACTUS AND PINE
I have always been fascinated with the old, old graveyards which are sometimes all that is left to mark a once booming mining camp or early frontier town.
There is such a one at Harrisburg, near Wendon, and at Tyson' Wells, and at Aubrey Landing at the mouth of Bill Williams Fork, though the river has all but taken this one—and at old La Paz and Ehrenburg, and Wilcox, and at Tombstone. I have haunted them all and found them as full of interest as a city of the living. On one old, old headboard I found that line later used in the "Wolfville" stories: "Life aint' in holdin' a good hand but in playin' a pore hand well." In another I found a grave which love had tried to safeguard with a pyramid of stones all undermined by someone seeking treasure under the beloved dust.
THE IVORY CRUCIFIX
In crossing southern Arizona many years ago Capt. W. O. (Bucky) O'Neill, saw a mound of sand at the foot of a giant cactus out of which a brown object protruded. He stopped his horse to see what it was and found the mummified bodies of a man and woman, the withered hand of the woman still holding an ivory crucifix.
Captain O'Neill buried the bodies and brought away the crucifix. Later he learned that it had belonged to the young wife of a Mexican cattle rancher. Years before she had fallen in love with one of her husband's vaqueros and they had gone away together on horseback.
The husband and his men followed until turned back by the sand storm which swallowed up the fugitives. It seemed that the woman, too weak to unclasp the crucifix from her neck, had stretched the slender rosary to its full length in an effort to lay the crucifix upon her lover's lips as he died.
Many years ago a band of sheep was feeding its way down from the region around the San Francisco peaks by way of the Verde Valley to the desert for the winter. The shepherd sickened and died alone with his sheep.
For many weeks thereafter a shepherd dog, very wild and thin, came once in a while to a ranch house on Clear Creek and snatched a little food set out by the woman of the ranch and hurried away. At last he was found to be herding the sheep and guarding the dead body of his master. He had taken the sheep in a small circle to feed and water but had always returned to bed them where could watch his master's body.
By Sharlot M. Hall
Courtesy Shartlot M. hall Museum
Back Copies for Collectors of
Many people write requesting complete sets and back copies of the DESERT RAT SCRAP BOOK.
I don't have a complete set for sale. I have a few early Pouches. (Four consecutive Packets to a Pouch.) I don't care if I sell them or not, but if you want to pay the listed price—send check or money order—and specify Pouch Number.
Pouch No. 2 $50
Pouch No. 4 $50
Pouch No. 5 $32
Pouch No. 6 $50
Pouch No. 7 $28
Pouch No. 8 $20
Pouch No. 9 $12
Pouch No. 10 $54
Pouch No. 11 $3
Pouch No. 12 $1
Many back copies are collector's items selling from $7.50 to $50.00 each—some because they are rare, others because of subject. After I sell all of these they will be hard to get—AS RARE AS A MERMAID IN A MIRAGE.
LEGEND: A lie that has attained the dignity of age.5
ONCE ASKED an old Colorado Desert prospector how many varieties of cactus he was familiar with "By gosh, said he, "you have no idea how many kinds we got. I know every one of 'em. there's the 'full of stickers', 'all stickers,' 'never-fail stickers,' 'the extra sharp stickers.' 'big stickers,' 'little stickers,' 'big and little stickers,' 'stick while you sleep,' 'stick while you wait,' 'stick 'em alive,' 'stick 'em dead,' 'stick unexpectedly,' 'stick anyhow,' 'stick through leather,' 'stick through anything,' 'the stick in and never come out,' 'the stick and fester cactus,' 'the cat's claws cactus,' 'the barbed fish-hook cactus,' 'the rattlesnake's fang cactus,' 'the stick seven ways at once cactus,' 'the impartial sticker,' 'the democratic sticker,' 'the deep sticker,' and a few others."
"Never marry a woman who's in love with you," Lem says to me, "'cause she'll expect too much. Never marry one who ain't," he added, "for she'll fall in love with some other man later."
Old Rip-Snortin' was run over by a train. At the hospital he explained that he had gone to sleep on the tracks, "because everybody knows that a snake will never cross a railroad track."
A conscience may not keep you from sinning, but it will keep you from enjoying it.
Consider well the proportion of things. A man always looks bigger in the bathtub than he does in the ocean.
Experience is the only thing some people get out of life.
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.