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Chapter IX
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[return to chapter VIII]


Strange Occurrences

"Henceforth my heart shall sigh no more,

For olden times and holier shore,

God's love and blessing then and there,

Are now and here and everywhere."

"I must tell you of several most wonderful occurrences which have taken place since 1913," continued the old lady looking at some papers which she held in her hand.

"It was deemed necessary, about the year 1951 to increase the water supply for the City of Portland and it was ascertained that the conditions at Mount Hood forbade looking to that place for a greater supply and it was decided to utilize the, as yet, great and untouched abundance of water offered by Mount St. Helens, and three years later the pipe line was completed, and water from beautiful St. Helens was turned into the new and immense reservoirs constructed for the ever-increasing population.

It was fortunate for the city that this new supply was projected and consummated just at this time for it was but a year later that Mt. Hood, which had been 'groaning' for some time began to belch forth from its intestines a mass of smoke and lava which bared the mountain of snow and caused much consternation among our people. The volcano continued active for several weeks, at intervals, finally entirely subsiding and it has been on its good behavior now for 25 years. Repairs were made to the pipeline and Portland today is getting a portion of its water supply from Mt. Hood as of yore.

"The radical changes in the methods of railroading have caused a new era in locomotion and rolling stock. Steam gave way to gasoline and that energy to electricity which held sway for a long time only to be replaced by a newer power, which is not as yet given out to the public.

"The O. W. R.& N. Company now occupy a building of their own, 20 stories high, and I notice the names of Cotton, Sutherland, O'Brien, Campbell, Buckley, Klippel, are still on the official list, all of whom are descendants of the officials who served the company earlier in the century.

"The old Wells Fargo & Company's building still stands and that express company occupies the entire structure with no rooms to spare.

"The Hasty Messenger & Express Company, founded in 1899, is celebrating its 100th anniversary, its manager being Napoleon Traverso, whose progenitor was connected with the company in 1910.

"There has been a wonderful improvement in the present-day typewriters. As I mentioned earlier in my story there is now a universal language with but 8,000 words. Of this number about 1,000 is all sufficient for an ordinary person and the genius of the inventor has reduced to a combination these 1,000 words in such a manner that it is possible for a good operator to copy a sermon or lecture with ease, on the typewriter, from the most rapid talking orator.

"The sphere of usefulness of the phonograph has widened and it is now 'A thing of joy forever.' It seems that the splendid instrument is now gifted with almost human intelligence. Take for instance, an item cut from a daily paper and paste it on the cylinder, or disc, and without further preparation, a voice will read off the item to you in a plain, clear tone. Paste on the disc the 'Index of today's news' from your morning paper and start it going and the items are read off to you correctly and in good voice. Do you wonder then that I call this a great age?" and a pleased smile came to the old lady's countenance.

"Many splendid brains have been working to better the methods and increase the usage of the telephone, and one must 'hit the ball and hit it all the time' to be able to hold an official position with a telephone company. The result of these efforts have put the telephone to varied uses. You can now not only talk to a person over a wire but you can actually see them, life size and just as they are, exactly as if you were talking to them face to face.

"Telephones are everywhere but there are no longer any 'Centrals' and no more 'Number, please' is heard, that system becoming unpopular about 1925. Public telephones are being established on each street corner, where one may call up, talk to and see the person who answers the phone.

"Much telephoning is now being done by wireless and that branch of the service has developed greatly and is used to communicate with aerial vehicles. This service has been perfected, many former objectionable features having been eliminated or overcome.

"I am about to relate an occurrence which is by far the most wonderful I have yet told and it is a phenomenon which startled the world, making the superstitious quake, and bringing alarm to many nervous people.

"You know that it was in 1912 that the ill-fated Captain Scott planted his flag at the South Pole, losing his valuable life in the 'get away'.

"Ice was forming at the South Pole, each year encroaching more and more towards the north and some alleged scientific men predicted that the time would surely come when the ice deposit at the South Pole would become so great and the weight so heavy, that it would result in throwing the earth off its present axis, probably tipping up old Mother Earth and reversing the positions of the Equator and the Poles.

ďAs the century rolled on this doctrine became much talked about and many extravagant speculations were made as to the exact time when the catastrophe would take place, the most advantageous country to emigrate to in order to insure safety, and business generally was much disturbed. It was difficult to sell or hypothecate any real estate, and money and jewels were considered of doubtful value. Continued cold weather, far into the summer months, was the usual occurrence for several years and devastating rains fell upon the earth. Street preaching was the order of the day, and at every corner an earnest man or woman held an interested crowd discussing the Last Day, which they assured the listeners was near at hand. Many people gave away their entire worldly possessions and essayed to get their soul ready for its eternal flight. As the days passed by the excitement increased, and aerial voyages to the South Pole were planned and executed by thousands of people in their air machines. In former days it was a fad t take a trip around the world latitudinally, but now all these tourists wanted to go the other way of the stuff, and make the journey longitudinally, crossing the Frigid, Temperate and Torrid zones, North and South Poles and the journey was completed, by some, in less than 20 days. The reports given out by these travelers were not encouraging and much distress of mind was manifest.

"One day a report came that the South Pole was in the process of eruption and that the ice was beginning to move. This announcement spread dismay on all sides, many now accepting the evil prognostications as being true, and the excitement was intense. The street preaching became more general, but this merely increased the agitation. One preacher, a benevolent looking gentleman, who was very much at his ease during all this disturbing period, seemed to be able to quiet the fears of the people by simply stating that God was present everywhere, and he would sing a hymn with that title. His singing and talks were very comforting to those who listened to his words and they patiently waited for what was to come.

"The eruptions continued and every day or two more volcanoes appeared, throwing up steam and lava, breaking up and displacing the ice which now began to move Northward. The huge mass was reported to look very threatening and the many photographs taken of the phenomena only produced more excitement. For days this situation continued, and now the ice was fast disappearing at the South Pole and it was also melting in the ocean as it proceeded north to the 50th degree. Disastrous storms ensued and the Western hemisphere was deluged, but the ice was melting rapidly under the fire of a dozen active volcanoes. Reports from the South Pole were growing more encouraging and people were again taking heart when, one day, the Department of the Interior announced that all danger was over. Then there was rejoicing, the like of which never before shook the earth.

"Of course, the return to common sense was marked by many humorous occurrences. The people who showed the most trepidation and gave away all their earthly possessions, played the Indian act and wanted their presents back. Many said they were glad to begin all over again to accumulate worldly goods and the person who was thanked the most was he who had preached of the Omnipresence of God.

"A wonderful lesson has been taught everybody and that epoch marked a truer brotherhood among mankind."

The old lady paused, and heaving a sigh, exclaimed, "And now my story is done. I have tried to illustrate the utter uselessness of borrowing trouble and being apprehensive without reason. I would like to have you tell your readers that it is my advice to heed the words of the poet prophet. 'Rest in the Lord and He will give thee thy heart's desire'

"What is my name, you ask?" here the old lady sighed again.

"I cannot tell you now, but some day you will know. I hope I have fulfilled my mission and accomplished some good.

"In leaving you I would like you to remember:

"That all of good the past has had

Remains to make our own time glad,

Our common daily life divine,

And every land a Palestine,--

And my queer little visitor disappeared.