By Harry Austin Clapp
About all I know this week, is what I can see from my window or what my visitors tell me.
May 25, 1909, while people from all parts of the Midcoast were here celebrating the opening of the townsite, some smart fellow, or maybe it was a skirt, but anyway this party said "we will make this an annual event and each year we will come together and remember the birthday of the town." This has been done and each year our folk have assembled and after giving thanks to God for his many blessings have sat side by side at the laden board and exchanged memories. This year, I anticipated extra pleasures in this event, but I was forced to accept the realization in my bed. However, my old friends, Agnes Liggett and Carrie Nelson did not forget me for they sent an overflowing plate of dainty food from chicken to pie and cake. Early in the forenoon came Rosalie and Ethel Nelson with a bowl of steaming hot Famous Carrie Nelson Noodles. Golden yellow noodles, hiding here and there, bits of tender chicken and over all, a delicious, transporting gravy giving out an aroma that provides an enchanted carpet to realms of gustatorial delight. The girls knew that if they waited until the gang assembled and obtained one sniff of noodles, it would be good bye noodles for me. For years I have written of the loaded tables so why repeat? Everything in the food line one can imagine was there and about four hundred people participated in the table delectation. I owe my knowledge of most of the numbers to Mrs. Carl Boeker who thoughtfully jotted down brief notes. I am informed that more than two hundred autos were parked around the community house and the entrance to Van Wormer Field. Early in the day came Professor Dresser and his band from Bay City. I never heard a toot and I wonder if the Eagle saw the band. Those who heard the band play are generous in their compliments. Wish I might have heard at least one number, for then I could have written something to please the Band Box. After dinner had been dispatched, sports began with a tournament which had fifteen entrants among them being the Woman's Club entry, a little mule named "Home Brew." John Ackerman won first, Carl Ackerman second and Home Brew third. Home Brew should have been first and I am not required to give my reasons. The potato race was won by Roy Nelson with Bob Thompson second. I would enter a noodle race, but racing around for a spud when they can be bought for a cent per pound, has no attraction for me.
The ball game Collegeport-Blessing was a hot affair and required nine innings for a decision of 19-9 in favor of the home team. Van Wormer Field paid our people a big profit on this occasion for the money spent on its development for it was crowded with eager folk, interested in the various sports. The Woman's Club sold ice cream and pup and wherever the crowd drifted there followed the Woman's Club with their little pannakin of ice cream and bottle of pop.
Of course one must expect accidents at games and sports so "Tapay" White supplied this feature by being thrown when he reached for a ring. No bones broken, the only result being that he stuttered a few times after being picked up by the ambulance corp. A big dance at the warehouse finished the day's pleasure. About one hundred and fifty couples participated in the dance and a very enjoyable evening was had by those present. The Miserable Wretch had itching feet that night and could hardly restrain herself when we heard the strains of music. Duty called so she stayed at home. From all reports, it was the finest and cleanest dance we have had in Collegeport for many years, certainly since the pavilion was destroyed. This is to the credit of the management.
The Woman's Club followed with their frozen delights and little bottles of watery sweets and when they at last counted the spoils, had about a half century which will be used to aid the school. O, yes, Mrs. King headed the Woman's Club procession, but she had reliable associates.
Gus Franzen called on me as did L. E. Liggett and was delighted to have as a visitor, my old friend Doctor Harkey. Reading in John about Jesus feeding the multitude, I can readily believe that he did that, with five little loaves of bread and two sardines but I'll bet two dollars against the button Ben Mowery lost from his every day trousers that the crowd went home hungry and raided the pantry for a snack of noodles or Agnes apple pie. The moral is that no man, woman or child went away hungry on this birthday of Collegeport.
We are all fed, clothed, sheltered, in this burg and know little of what is called depression. God has been good to us. He has been kind, loving and generous, so let us all be thankful. Nearly every town in the county was represented. I hope that W. S. Holman, III would drive down, but he failed to report. May 25, 1932, will be remembered as a day of "Old South Hospitality."
So that the many thousands of readers of "Thoughts" may be comforted, I will state that my condition is somewhat improved. The valvular escarpment is not functioning in a normal manner, but the doctor says two new rings will fix that. The paradox at times runs up to 125 which of course is not favorable. The fan appears to be normal while the pandee shows considerable less inflammation. After reading this you will know as much as I do. Hope everything will be in gear and working properly by June 16, which is my birthday and I am anxious to celebrate.
It is wonderful the beautiful bouquets we make day after day from the wild flowers and grasses that grow everywhere one looks. Today we found a little fern like plant with delicate leaves that made up into a delicate table ornament. And my girl friends, bring beautiful ornamental and useful things as witness, bright red beets ready to eat and wrapped in cellophane from Ethel Nelson. If you don't know Ethel, will state that she is the talented director of the Collegeport Rhythm Band. Mrs. Liggett brings yellow snap beans while Bright Eyes brings a package marked "Compliments of the Collegeport Supply Company." I open it and find a big batch of tender calves liver. My old friend the maker of the Famous Carrie Nelson Noodles sent in some green cukes. All that is required is to use the beets for a center, around them spread beans and cukes and drape the liver en passant, or something like that and lo! another beautiful bouquet. I sure enjoy these bouquets. Of course I allow the Miserable Wretch to sniff once or twice.
Frances Eisel brings me her school report card and I am delighted to find that her average grade was about 93. Her home report shows that she is an active home worker functioning in some departments as high as 97 and not below 90 in any. Elizabeth's card was also a dandy and I am pleased to know that these girls have won such splendid credits. Along comes Lera and Gertrude Hunt with a fine bouquet of pink oleanders and Mrs. Ben Mowery with flounder that was three feet or less in length and weighed in its stocking feet not over twenty pounds. Thinking I was a Jew, the doctor forbid pork, but said that the "flounder" is first class fodder for you." So today, about one in the p. m., I plan to slap that flounder in my face. Mrs. Mowery is a success at floundering for few flounders wait for her stabber. They just jump into her gunny sack and rest content. I hope those who live in marble palaces on Blackstone Avenue will read this and wake up.
When Rice Institute gave its degree to Dorothy Franzen, they neglected to remove her appendix. Dorothy has been teaching several years and at the close of this years term made up her mind that she could be a better teacher without an appendix so went up to Bay City and submitted to an operation for its removal and I am more than happy to state that she is on the recovery card and will soon be home. Pretty good string of copy considering it is only a conspectus, but then you know us toilers must keep our jobs these turrible times.
The Matagorda County Tribune, Thursday, June 2, 1932
By Harry Austin Clapp
The most important thing I have read this week is that I saw in the Tribune that D. E. Merck visited Bay City on business Monday. If this party is the one I know as Dean Merck, I wonder what business took him to Bay City Monday.
Sweet sixteen is a romantic station in life's journey. Arthur Liggett planned to enter Collegeport May 30, 1916, but remembering that was Decoration Day, and not desiring to arrive when every one was thinking of other things, he postponed his arrival until the 31st. Tuesday being the sixteenth anniversary, he called thirty-two of his friends to meet with him in celebration. Twenty-seven answered the call and assembled at the Liggett home and enjoyed an evening of games and sports. As to refreshments, we know well the quality of Mrs. Liggett's service, so will say the menu ran from delicious ice cream to delicious angel's food and not until the sixteen candles burned to crisp did the happy crowd disperse. Arthur Liggett is destined to see wonders most of us only dream of. I hope he has a long life of generous service and the ability to take part in all that will come during his expectant life. I envy him the opportunity.
When Arthur was eight, along comes Bill Hurd almost to the day, so Friday Bill had his day down on the bayshore at the home of his grandparents. In as much as Bill belongs to the N. D. B. Club, he took a bath eight years ago and this week he was obliged to take another.
Bill was careful to select splendid parents in the persons of Vernon King Hurd and Emily Hurd. Maybe they are famous because they are the parents of Bill, but I feel sure that they are also famous for raising Kentucky Wonder Beans. I have had the pleasure of knowing intimately, four generations of the Hurd family and I consider Bill the choicest of the lot Why not? We brag about improving live stock by select breeding, so why not expect human generation to be an improvement?
"It was on the third of June, some people say,
That Bill Hurd at midnight he first saw the day;
While others declare 'twas the fourth he was born,
And 'twas all a mistake between midnight and morn."
--Apologies to Samuel Lover.
As I write this, I thought that I was through with birthdays for this week, but here comes the news that Mr. and Mrs. Ben Mowery have joined the grandparents club. Friday, came Benjamin Barker, weighing all of 7 1/2 pounds. Little Ben and his sweet mama Ruth are doing fine, so the wires tell us and soon he will be down here floundering with Grandpa Mowery.
We who have know Ruth Mowery since she was a cute little girl can hardly realize that she is now a mother. If Ben takes after his mother, he is going to be one fine looking fellow when he gets to be So Big.
"The baby sits in his cradle,
Watching the world go round,
Enwrapt in a mystical silence,
Amid all the tumult of sound.
He must be kin to the flowers,
For no one has heard
A whispered word
From this silent baby of ours."
--Ellen Bartlett Currier.
Friday I enjoyed a delightful visit with Gustave and Clifford Franzen. The same day they went to Houston accompanied by Mrs. Franzen and Alex to enjoy the Rice commencement exercises for Monday, Clifford will receive his degree. This makes the third member of this family to receive honors from Rice Institute: Dorothy, Arnold and Clifford. I have watched these children grow from infancy and have been amazed at the ambition that has possessed them and the progress made and I am sure each member of this community will share the pride I have in this group of young folks. Asking Clifford what he planned to do this summer, he informed me that he was going to work his way across the sea to the land of his forefathers, Sweden, that wonderful land of Gustavus Adolphus. A worthy ambition. The trip will broaden him, give him a newer viewpoint of life. It will finish his education and he will return well fitted to take his place in the world of business. I envy him the youth, the ambition, the aspiration, the vaulting across the sea in search of more knowledge.
[Two paragraphs about politics and the depression omitted.]
Here is something that is not at all funny, but is rich in good humor, "Thoughts" while lying awake at three in the morning, Monday, the 30th. "Just finished reading Irving Cobb's Speaking of Operations. He insinuates that ailments are always good topics for conversation. One is always the hero or heroine of the whole act and therefore enters into the conversation whole heartedly. Mr. Clapp, I am sorry that you are not so well. Hope you will recuperate soon. Envy me? Here I am in bed flat on my back, but I am not going to complain as I am getting along beautifully--if beautifully is a sick room expression--I am gaining strength every day. Yes, it was dull at first--no food--just a thermometer to suck, some one to hold my hand every hour and all that. Now that I get three square meals a day and can have all the company that dares enter the door, I am happy. My room is a rose garden. The nurses are so sweet. So why should I complain? Even the doctor is good to me. Had to quit reading 20,000 Years in Sing Sing. Gave me an awful night mare.
A bright girl is Dorothy Franzen and I am glad that she will soon be home with her bright smile. The coming school year Dorothy will have to depend on her degree for excellent work. Friday she was brought home and is simply lazing around gaining strength each day.
Saturday the County Federation of Women's Clubs met at Palacios. Mrs. Dorothy Corporon was the delegate from the local club and she was accompanied by Mrs. L. E. Liggett and Mrs. Anna D. Crane.
Doctor Barnett of the state board of health was the principal speaker. The newly appointed Negro health nurse, who is doing work among her people in this county, was present and delivered an interesting talk on her work. Mrs. Patricia Martyn, our county health nurse, also spoke and gave some interesting facts about the work in the county schools. The meeting was held at the Baptist Church and luncheon was served at Palacios Hotel. The next meeting will be held in Collegeport some time in September.
The salt cedar is in full bloom, covered with delicate perfume. Thousands of bees are busy collecting honey. I picked a big bouquet which adorns our old oaken board. Every day we have flowers from the pastures, many of them very dainty, refined and modest, but all beautiful. When I see flowers, that perfumes my life.
Mrs. Lutie Ramsey has started a demonstration plot on her farm of the "nine foot sidewalk." She is not operating it for profit, for she cares naught for any prophet that ever lived. She only desires to prove that this soil will produce. Growing now, she has tomatoes, sweet potatoes, Kentucky Wonder Beans, cabbage. In the poultry department she has forty-five Plymouth Rocks which she keeps in the kitchen. They are not well trained for when she leaves the house, they pop out of their quarters and are all over the kitchen floor. If any of Mr. Boren's clients wish information about soil or poultry, he might advise them to write Mrs. Lutie Ramsey for even if she don't know all about it now, she will before winter arrives.
Soon after Ben Mowery learned that he was a grandfather, some first class sense, perception, discernment, speeded into his old brain and he bought a big bag of R. J. R. This proves that Ben R. had advanced in taste and culture for R. J. R. is a gentleman's smoke. In the current number of the Red Book is a tale by Nina Wilcox Putnam entitled "Anything You Want is Yours."
I wish all members of congress and all county courts would read it. The story opens thus: "Has the depression hit Hollywood?" Why listen, Ida May, the industry is so hard up that expenses have been slashed right and left. The comedy studio executives have ordered the bathing beauties suits cut in half." And here is the idea which no one seems to have discovered. The way to meet the budget is to cut the outgo to meet the income. Stop trying to raise more money. Simply stop spending. Just plumb easy. If our budget men don't sabe, have them take a trip to Hollywood.
This string appears so good to me, that I am thinking of gawpin' aroun' next week.
The Matagorda County Tribune, Thursday, June 9, 1932
Palacios Beacon, June 16, 1932
By Harry Austin Clapp
[Local information taken from longer article about early education.]
Here in the Magic Bottle, little one-teacher schools were erected in five small districts. Seldom did they teach beyond the seventh grade and pupils with ambition were compelled to leave home at an early age. Consolidation grew in the minds of our folk and as a result five districts are now consolidated into one. This means a large central school, teaching the eleven grades prescribed by the state. Many resisted this progress in education and fought bitterly for the old antique. That they were honest in their desire, is not to be questioned. They simply had not kept up with educational progress. The world had moved beyond them. They were hiking along, far in the rear, still ambitious for the Little Red School House. Progress in education, in the arts, in science, in mechanics cannot be stopped. The movement is irresistible, irrepressible, overpowering. Men may delay, but they never can stop its movement. A new time is arriving in this Magic Bottle country. New people are coming here to seek and investigate homes. They first wish to know about the school and the church. If we can show them a modern up-to-date school, teaching the eleven grades, supplied with a library, with a science apparatus, with other equipment and with spacious grounds for athletics, they will stop, settle and become a part of the community. If they find this section cluttered up with little one teacher schools, they will pass on.
So I am telling my readers who are considering moving to this district, that we have a splendid brick schoolhouse with three other buildings housing other departments, a good reference library, a science building, a faculty of eight teachers, a large campus and a ten-acre athletic field known as Van Wormer Field which is supplied with grounds for all sports. Three busses bring the children in and take them home. The board of trustees, headed by Mrs. Frank King, is working towards affiliation and there is hope that this will be accomplished the coming year. The church is also a consolidated organization for in it about fourteen different denominations worship and thus far without serious dissension. Come on down, look us over, take a dip in the bay, catch a fish or two, some shrimp or crabs, dig out some oysters and then decide to stay with us. Dr. Van Wormer can tell you how to arrive.
Well, anyway, putting it up to the people of the old Culver, Simpsonville, DeMoss, Citrus Grove and Collegeport districts which is better. Have some thing in school facilities that will attract people or some thing that will drive them away.
Mrs. Spilogate Putorious had a cozy little apartment across the road from the post office and there she raised a fine family of youngsters. One day she heard some talk about making the nine-foot sidewalk an eighteen-foot pavement and extending it to the bay and across on a viaduct so that "we, meaning I and the Miserable Wretch might walk to service at St. John's Chapel." This threw her into consternation, astonishment, panic for thought she, the traffic will be great and my family will be in danger. She went to the schoolhouse and engaged other quarters and was busy moving her youngsters, when a cruel man, named North Cable, shut the front door and when she tried to enter, she was obliged to lay down one of her children and North grabbing the opportunity, kidnaps the kid and gave it to Ruth Boeker. Ruth took it home and put it in a basket of kittens and the mama cat has taken it over and adopted it. Great excitement in the Putorious family and each night mama Putorious tries to reclaim her lost child, but thus far without success. If you call on the Putorious be very careful that you do not offer insult for the Missus is quite sensitive and might give you an odoriferous welcome.
Well, anyway, these added family duties did not prevent Ruth Boeker from going to the Girl's Reserve Camp. She was accompanied by Frances Eisel, Rosalie Nelson and Frances King. They took Mrs. Frank King along for a chapperoony or charmante if you please. Mrs. King is supposed to keep the goblins away. That makes five queens, which is a good hand to hold. No sooner did Rosalie arrive at camp than she wrote us a card of her arrival and sending us good wishes. Just like Rosalie always thoughtful. No sooner did the school trustees employ North Cable as janitor than he began to raise hobb with the school grounds. He is busy cutting grass and weeds, planting young trees, shrubs and flowers, and if the board takes no action, North Cable will ruin the school grounds. We have for years been accustomed to see the grounds grown up in beautiful tall weeds and become a veritable jungle and now North Cable is spoiling all this beautiful jungle.
Of course the readers of the Tribune have the pleasure of reading Thoughts each week but every twice in a while or oftener, other good stuff appears.
For instance in the issue of Tuesday, May 31, appeared an article by H. B. Nicholson, president of the NuGrade Company of America. Mr. Nicholson quoted St. Paul who said, "This one thing I do forgetting those things which are behind and setting aside everything that would restrain me. I Press On towards the prize of the mark of a high calling." He then told the readers how to spell depression. It should be spelled dePRESSION. Therefore, the idea is that we should Press On and forget the things of yesterday.
On the front door screen the other day we found a peculiar insect, which I identified as belonging to the group known as Phasmids. It is commonly called the walking stick. It is elongated, has long slender legs, long antennae and no wings. This one was green, but often they are brown in color. On a bush or shrub it looks like a twig, and therefore, not easy to detect. The Phasmids are plant eaters, but do little damage.
This is not the Praying Mantis which is an insect eater and a great friend of man.
I read in the papers that the Wichita, Kan. Chamber of Commerce gave to each of ten men the sum of ten dollars and asked them to go out and spend it by buying some article not more than fifty cents in value and if the clerk suggested further purchases, to spend the entire ten dollars. At night the ten men brought in the sum of $94.60 and reported that they had been able to spend only $5.40 as in not one instance did the clerks suggest further purchases. One man reported that he bought a twenty-five cent handkerchief, but the clerk did not suggest socks or suspenders or underwear. From this experiment they suspect that the clerks of that city are so fully sold on depression that they felt it useless to suggest that a customer buy more goods. Wonder if our clerks feel the same way.
Mr. and Mrs. Burr DeWald are here for a few days visit with Mrs. DeWald's kinfolks the Haisleys and Kundingers. Mrs. DeWald was formerly known as Fay Wood.
Oil simply will not [stay] down. It always rises to the top. Therefore Friday, six or eight oil scouts arrived with their apparatus and will test out the field east and south of town, using dynamite I am informed. Of course, we all hope they will be richly rewarded for many feel certain that somewhere close by is a big pool.
The other day I found in the pasture perched on the top of a huisache a dove's nest with two white eggs. Mama bird, on my approach, fluttered away trying to make me believe she had a broken wing. Next day she was on the nest and allowed me to approach within five feet.
Friday came a very high wind storm that played hobb, blowing down the beautiful pergola south of the Ben R. Mowery home, uprooting several trees and creating other disturbance. It at last formed two twisters southeast of town and observers state that they could distinctly see brush, tree tops and other debris, carried through the air. Fortunately it struck no buildings. This was followed with a rain and electrical display. But here is the tragedy. The little dove's nest was blown to the ground and the two eggs with half developed birds broken. The mama bird was disconsolate, distressed, desolate, but on my approach again tried the broken wing act, in an endeavor to draw me away from her destroyed home and family.
The Miserable Wretch is getting to be quite useful, for this week she caught a big rat that has been annoying her for some time and Saturday she captured an opossum in the store room. If any man has a better frau would like to see her picture. Just shows that women are often times useful.
Ben R. Mowery, smoking R. J. R. says, "I have come down to R. J. R." Ben is wrong. He has arrived at the refinements of Our Lady Nicotine.
The other day I received notice that a large package for my birthday would arrive Thursday the sixteenth and I was advised that it would be dropped on the station platform at El Maton and I had better arrange to receive it there. The gift weighs about one hundred and twenty pounds and I imagine it is a very sweet gift. Melvin Spoor, knowing I had no truck, kindly offered to meet the train and bring the package to Homecroft. Just imagine folks how I will be enjoying my honey next Thursday.
The Matagorda County Tribune, Thursday, June 16, 1932
By Harry Austin Clapp
[Local information taken from longer article.]
On this my meeting of three score and ten, I am thinking of these things and of my mother. Mother! What a wonderful word. A wonderful mother had I. My loving, tender, beautiful, madonna, sweetheart mother. Forgive me mother for every time I have strayed from your teachings. Forgive me mother for every careless, thoughtless word, for every heartache. I know you are here and that you have heard my plea and in the waving grass, the nodding flower and the notes of the Cardinal, that just perched on my gallery tree, I hear your loving forgiveness.
" 'Tis a mother's large affection
Hears me with mysterious sense,
Breathings that evade detection
Whisper faint and fine inflection
Thrill to her power intense.
Liveth she in loving thought,
Tones that never thence depart,
For she listens with her heart."
Birthdays come and go and at last came my great day and with it came good friends who brought with them a veritable banquet and so I had a happy day. Three big birthday cakes graced the board. In the center of one was a big red candle and when it was lighted we all stood around and made a wish. Another had a strange cabalistic? device in gold frosting on the glistening white "LXX." I wonder what that means. Any one tell? Then came Mary Louise from San Antonio. My wonderful daughter, simply would not stay away from her daddy's birthday party and so the day was full of joy, delight, happiness, ecstasy. It was the greatest day of my life and as I was ready for sleep instead of my usual prayer, I repeated that of Robert E. Bickerton.
"I rest. My journey done.
I face the West again
No longer feel the pain,
And see the gold of the setting sun.
The lights are slowly growing dim--
My ship is going out to sea.
I am slowly slipping o'er the rim,
But one last prayer, O God.
Thou who knowest best.
Before I am beneath the sod,
Before I am at rest.
Let me have light
To guide my way
On through the night
Across the bay."
John Carrick brings in some fine roasting ears. Not a worm in a car load. Arnold Franzen called on me the other day accompanied by his father, Gustave Franzen. Arnold is a delight to the eye. Well groomed, a first class set up and gives one the impression that here is a safe, sound, conservative young business man. Still unmarried, he is an eligible party for girls who seek a safe matrimonial existence. In my opinion, the girl who lands Arnold will always be able to enjoy her "potage au gras."
The other day Old Lady Pry said "Don't you think it a shame the way that Gladbird girl acts?" "What," I asked "has Minna Gladbird done now?" "Why" the old bird replied, "she drove to Bay City yesterday with a married man." Frankly, I think it just simply horrid, frightful, harrowing, if you all know what I mean.
Contrast is an easy method of measuring. It means to set in opposition in order to show the comparative excellence of defects. I have a very dear friend of many years. He is the editor of a great religious daily. He does not use tobacco in any form, drinks no liquor, never gambles, uses no profanity, or obscenity and to cap the climax, he claims that he never looks. If this last be true, he is, indeed a saint. Now by contrast look at me. I would like to go back to the Cripple Creek Club and enjoy a Swiss Ess with Mc K. Twombley, who married a Vanderbilt daughter. I would like to sit in the Knickerbocker once more and see Honest John and Diamond Jim eating rich food and see Dave Montgomery saunter in, a cane hung on his arm and leading by the leash his bull dog and all the time I would be sipping an honest brew.
In Place Viger a silver tankard of pale Old English Ale would be a delight and in the Holenden grill, a bottle of Sauterne of A. say, 1889, would grace my table. With what joy, I would go back to Rectors in New York and drink Mumm's Extra Dry, just because it tickles. I hanker to once more visit St. Hubert's Inn and sit in front of the great fire place and see the roaring, crackling flames, leap and dance, hear the wonderful organ and its lovely music and the while listen to the tinkle of ice in a tall glass of ginnfizz like Archie makes.
Now add to these sins of the past and a desire to repeat. I enjoy R. J. R. and a William Penn and asking the Lord to forgive me, I have a good sight and enjoy a look-see. By these contrasts and the standard set up by some folk, I am a sinner. I confess it all and this day of June 16, my birthday, I have a hankering to ask time to go back in its flight and allow me to repeat.
I was born during Lincoln's first term then Johnson and remember very vividly Grant's first campaign. Then came Hayes, Garfield, Arthur and Cleveland. Harrison followed and then McKinley, Roosevelt, Taft. Wilson, Coolidge and Hoover.
I have been privileged to meet Grant, McKinley and Roosevelt. I voted the first time for Blain and Logan and met defeat in Grover Cleveland whom I consider as one of our greatest presidents.
I read in the Houston Chronicle that cucumbers retail for one cent each and in the Springfield, Illinois State Journal, they are quoted at two for seventeen cents. In Collegeport, Burton Hurd goes around among his neighbors with bushels to give away. Just shows you that Springfield folk should listen to Dr. Van Wormer and move down here where depression is... [sentence was not finished]
Soon as Ruth Boeker arrived home from camp, she added a baby rabbit to her zoo and gave it to the cat to nurse along with the kittens and skunk. Now Ruth weeps, for mama Kat promptly made a satisfying meal of the rabbit.
[Paragraph about Texas railroads deleted.]
I read in the Tribune that Dean Merck is a business visitor every Monday. I wonder if he does not know that she is no longer in the hospital. Writing about Mercks causes me to recall that some weeks [ago] I predicted a wedding after school closed and so here is the latest news. John Merck, considered as our permanent bachelor, was married the other day to Miss Hazel Lowery. The ceremony, probably to avoid publicity, for John is very modest. Well here are best wishes for a long, happy and successful journey on the matrimonial ship.
Frances Eisel returned from the Girl Reserve camp well toasted, as one can observe by taking a look at her rich golden brown color. She also gained two and a half pounds, but did not inform me where she packs it.
Elizabeth stayed home and kept her strawberry and cream coloring. I notice a cut freckle on the end of her slightly retrousse nose. I enjoy looking for it, for it is quite delicious.
Had Mary Ellen advertised that on Friday, June 17, Prof. Hardbreaker would appear at the warehouse and speak on the classification, qualification and characteristics of entomology not more than six specimens of breed would have been there but Mary Ellen was a wise girl and so she told the world that on that date a barbecue would be given. Very diligently did I inquire in order that I might give credit to the proper sponsor. Some told me Vernon Batchelder, others Manford Foster, Robert Murry, Tom Fulcher, Sam LeTulle, Hugo Kundinger, George Harrison, Emmitt Chiles, "Harve" Foster. The fact is that all this bunch rolled into one, would not make as sweet a sponsor as Mary Ellen, so I call it her affair and let it go. Bright Eyes was everywhere on the job all day and more than half the night and the annual barbecue was one great success. Wild horse riding, roping contests, feats of horsemanship, made up the RA-DAY, many of the thrills. Two baseball games one for men players and one for girl players took up the afternoon in the latter game the girls beat the women's team. Emmitt Chiles acted as Empire (?) and it is said that once when the woman pitcher threw a wild ball she was heard to say "O, hell." Just shows that the "Colonel's wife and Mrs. O'Grady" are made from the same clay.
At noon it is estimated that two thousand crowded the warehouse and consumed a ton and a half of barbecued meat. Each plate was supplied with meat, bread, pickles, lemonade and coffee and iced tea served to quench the thirst. It was a happy crowd that the warehouse enjoyed. At night a dance was given, and I am informed that nearly two hundred tickets were sold and that at least eight hundred folk looked on.
Take it all in all it was the finest best regulated affair of the kind, ever given in the burg and a great credit to Little Bright Eyes. People were here from every portion of the county and many from foreign parts such as Houston, San Antonio, etc. If Mirth possessed the reporters bug, he too, would have been on hand and writ it up in his Mirthful Column.
As I watched the milling crowd, the thought came that not more than five per cent would enjoy listening to an exposition of art, science and letters. Most of them had no desire to feed the soul. They were after belly fodder and they got it in generous quantities. I still wonder why is a barbecue?
The Matagorda County Tribune, Thursday, June 23, 1932
THOUGHTS ABOUT MY CANE
By Harry Austin Clapp
Once upon a time I had a beautiful cane. It was made by Cross of London fame and cost about ten smackers. And while I am on the subject, will state that today I would not give that many frog skins for a thousand canes, but then that was another day, when I could easily pluck dollars from the dollar bush. This cane was given to me by the person, whom I, in my facetious moods, call the Miserable Wretch. One day I and cane walked into the Hollenden Hotel, Cleveland, and while registering, I hung friend cane on the edge of the desk. When I had been assigned to my room, I reached for my cane and it was not there. Somewhere, some fellow has a swell stick. Living at the Lexington Hotel, Chicago and taking my evening strolls on Indiana Avenue, Cottage Grove or Michigan Boulevard. I swung a light bamboo which I now have. No one would steal a bamboo switch. Recovering from my recent illness, I thought it would be quite swanky to stagger about with a cane "a la Eisel" and so I took up a sturdy one, once used by my father in law whom I never had the pleasure of meeting. On the top is a carved dog head and the dog one time possessed two bright black eyes, but being an unfortunate poodle, he lost one eye and some one put in a white bead, so my dog has a watch eye which is perhaps a good thing for I am feeling quite brisk these days thank you and yours truly. On the silver band which adorns the dog's neck, is inscribed the square and compass and the words C. Vanness.
C. Vanness was not to swell as his children, for they spell the Van Ness. They think this is an improvement. My dear friend wife, should have spelled her name Louise van Ness to be truly very recherche or something like that. The cane I am now using must have seen nearly ninety years of service. What tales this one eyed dog might tell. I have looked him in the black eye and begged him to speak of what he has seen and heard, but he is a faithful dog Tray and tells me nothing so I can only dream.
"Stir the fire with your master's cane."--Swift.
My dog does not approve of stirring the fire and so he gives me a silent stare and winks the watch eye. O, yes, I used to wear a cane, also a silk hat. Prince Albert coat, pearl trousers and spats. No man can be a real gentleman, without these reciprocations, don't ya know.
Until this day, Collegeport has never had but two gentlemen, one being Sam Sims and the other Harry Lewis Eisel, Sr. Today, the glory of Messrs. Sims and Eisel fades into insignificance, for when folk see me walking to town briskly swinging my trusty stick, my ninety-eight cent imported Eyetalian straw perched jauntily on my head they exclaim "Ah! at last we have a real gentlemen."
"The count's gentleman, one Cesario."--Shakespeare.
The other day we, meaning I and the Miserable Wretch, received an invitation to the wedding of Miss Mary Deane Yeager to Mr. William Paul Braden at Blessing at eight in the morning. Even with my stout cane, it was too far for us to walk, especially as there was no viaduct across the bay, to the paved highway, so with reluctance we sent our regrets for we have known Paul since he was a bare-footed, red headed, freckle faced little boy. I place Mary Deane first for after all a good wife is the most important thing in a man's life.
Nothing in this world will take her place and good readers of this column I know of what I write, for I am blessed with such a one. I have never had the pleasure of meeting the new Mrs. Braden but having known Paul so many years and so favorably, I do not hesitate to send both of them my congratulations and wishes for a life of felicity, bliss, delight and good fortune.
"She is mine own!
And I as rich in having such a jewel!
As twenty seas, if all their sand were pearl.
The water nectar, and the rocks pure gold.
Writing about birthdays, I neglected to announce the most important one in June. On the fourth, Miss Ethel Nelson reached her ninth birthday and the event was properly celebrated with a party to which about twenty-five young friends were invited. I was not invited, so can write only from what I have been informed. I vision the table with a centerpiece of those Famous Carrie Nelson Noodles, yellow as gold and dripping with luscious gravy, with bits of tender chicken peeping here and there. Of course, no doubt, they had such common things as cake, pie, ice cream, but they count small with noodles. Miss Ethel is the talented director of the Collegeport Rhythm Band and by the way, I wonder what has become of this one time renowned musical organization.
The oil men who have been detecting for ten days have been called away. Fine bunch of young men. They found the mother pool. They found nothing to interest them. They are favorably impressed with the situation in this section. They are not favorably impressed. That is all any of the natives know although many will wink an eye in wisdom. If these men found any favorable indications they took the information with them.
This 21st day of June at 9:53 a.m. summer began. I have enjoyed summer just one minute. Summer is the month of resurrection. It teaches us of the life eternal. It is the transition period between spring and fall. Between the season's birth and death. Let us enjoy summer while we may.
Received a remembrance card from Louise Walter dated Kerrville. Writes "I am enjoying lovely climate and getting a much needed rest." She fails to state whether she will have a Duco or Pyroloxin finish when she returns to Collegeport, but I bet it will be one of them.
Perhaps at last she will Simoniz, for it keeps them looking new.
Mr. and Mrs. C. G. Eisel of New Orleans are here for
a vacation with the Harry Lewis Eisel, Sr. family. Wednesday H. L. took
C. G. down to the slough and introduced him to the reds and they brought
back a string about two rods long and I don't mean fish rods either.
Elizabeth Eisel has had her hair cut short and it ripples around her
head like a shower of molten gold bronze. I warned her that if she
spoiled those beautiful locks with a permanent, I sure would cut her
from my list. I wonder why girls will destroy beautiful hair with
permanents. I much rather would be different from all the rest, than
just one more very common of a herd. When I look at Elizabeth's bronze
locks, I wonder
"Who gave that touch of gold?
Who made your hair neither new or old?
Who put that freckle on your nose?
Who made it look like a budding rose?
Who gave you that skin of silk?
Who gave that color to your eye?
That makes one think of walking in the rye?
I guess it was the God above
The God of perfect love."
--Fragments from Hack
[Paragraph on taxes omitted.]
Today we are eating a peculiar fruit commonly known as from the Lycopersicum escelentum [tomato] plant. Raised on the scientific farm operated by Burton D. Hurd, further comment is necessary. The fruit is large, meaty, juicy, red as the blush of a virgin's and just as soft. Persons who say we cannot raise this fruit to perfection should go down on the bay shore and see the farm.
George Hetherington is here he says "fer a few days." Believe muh, good folks if I had the hook up he has, I would make it a permanent. Too many chances when he leaves.
THMargaret Holsworth arrived home for her summer vacation and received with much eclat by all the town burghers for Margaret is some girl in our opinion. I am informed that the Chicago school board will next year grade the teachers. If the grading includes physical and mental charm as well as teaching ability, Margaret will stand about XXX which means better than the rest. Why not, she was raised right here on the bay shore.
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February 14, 2009
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February 14, 2009