By Harry Austin Clapp
I am sitting before my Corona trying to think some "Thoughts." My corn cob pipe is filled with R. J. R. and as the fragrant breath of Mi Lady Nicotine floats in the air, I try to make smoke rings. O, boy! Did you see that? A perfect ring floats away and never breaks until near the ceiling. I have always been ambitious to make rings and now it looks as though success is here. There's another? This is a big fellow and as it floats away. I am seeing faces of dear kin folk, old sweethearts and years roll away and I am young again.
Another ring and in it I see the faces of the Class of 1935, ambitious faces, faces clothed in wonderment, as to what will be next.
I do not marvel at the spectacle. Fifty-five years ago this June I went through the same experience, so I know all about the marvelous astonishment with which they view the beginning of life. O, girls! Look! I have blown a wedding ring. On whose finger shall it be fitted? Let dame future name the girl. Well I am through with rings, so let us record events.
Monday night at Mopac House the senior class was tendered a banquet, a festival of good cheer wishing a good voyage on life's sea. This banquet was given by the Girl Reserves and was all a banquet should be. Tables arranged in a rectangle to a common center in the ceiling streaming ribbon streamers of pink and white, forming a beautiful bower which reflected the brilliant lights.
I know nothing about the menu for that appears to be a profound secret, but this is the program:
Introduction of seniors.
Welcome to seniors, Earline Hill.
Response, Auldine Williams.
Not finished--just begun, Superintendent Cherry.
Song, Over Hill, Over Dale.
Nothing Great Is Lightly Won, Miss Parker.
Song, Miss Sue Mansfield.
Address by Elliott Curtis.
Installation by Girl Reserves.
Circus oddities, seniors.
Ringmaster, Roberta Liggett.
Animal trainer, Mrs. Thomas.
Clowns, Ethel Nelson, Ella Guyer, Wanda Hill, Allietha Hill.
Tuesday night, Mrs. Charles Williams tendered a dinner to the senior class which was a most pleasant affair, with plenty of rich viands and good cheer. The same night came the Rt. Rev. Clinton S. Quin with the Rev. Paul Engle of St. Mark's, Bay City and held a service in Mopac House with about ninety present. Reverend Engle read the service and the bishop taking as his text the Lord's Prayer, delivered a splendid address explaining the prayer sentence by sentence. Very few realize that Bishop Quin drove 226 miles just to hold this service. He has promised to visit us again in about ninety days.
Mr. H. R. Safford, executive vice president Missouri Pacific Lines, planned to accompany the bishop, but at the last moment was prevented. He wants to see Mopac House and will arrange to do so on next visit.
The management hopes to hold a similar service once each month, the sermon to be delivered by our county clergy.
Wednesday night was the big night the night when the senior class stepped off. The church was gaily decorated with beautiful flowers, Cape Jessamines and Magnolia blossoms predominating and the air was filled with the delicate perfume of those glorious flowers. The class seated on the platform were dressed in their best and formed a handsome picture of youth. The program was as follows:
Piano solo, Mrs. Richard Corporon.
Invocation, Harry Austin Clapp.
Salutatory, Rosalie Nelson.
Vocal solo, Sue Mansfield.
Class prophecy, Noel Adams.
Musical reading, Auldine Williams.
Quartette "Gathering Flowers," Messrs. Cherry and Batchelder, Mrs. Liggett and Miss Parker
Class history, Arthur Liggett.
Valedictory, Annette Johnson.
Address, Mrs. Burton D. Hurd.
Presentation of diplomas, Superintendent John H. Cherry.
Just at night always one star shines with greater brilliance, so on this occasion one star glittered with a light a bit more resplendent and that star was Arthur Liggett. He introduced the numbers in a dignified manner and with a voice that carried to all parts of the room. If he was embarrassed he failed to show it. I am sorry to report that most of the others appeared to think they were holding a private conference for little of what they said could be heard in rear of the room. Just too bad but it is true. There is small use of speaking if the audience is unable to hear the words.
Perhaps the teachers failed in the training given. The three girls were all dressed in beautiful gowns and with the two well dressed gowns and with the two well dressed boys presented a beautiful picture. Five splendid young folk, just beginning to burst into manhood and womanhood and accepting the responsibilities of citizenship. I wondered as I looked them over, how many realized the obligation that soon will be thrust upon them. Mrs. Hurd's address, if I may be allowed the word, was retrospective in nature. Mrs. Hurd has seen all these seniors grow from babyhood. She has watched their development and she has known the parents and so her address was one that took her audience back in the shades of an almost forgotten memory. Memory! What a wonderful word and how thankful we should be, that God allows us to turn back the pages of life and in review live once more the golden days. I know of no person who has for so many years been so interested in the development of the youth of this community. She has always been alert to their interests and ready with helpful aid. As I viewed the spectacle, in memory I went back to 1926, when Mary Louise at the age of fifteen years and nine months finished the eleven grades the first to do so and the only member of the class. She had no competition as a star for as shown by the decorations she was a Lone Star. Mary Louise stared to school at the age of seven under Mr. Coffin, and completed the eleven grades in eight years, under the direction of Tom Hale, now county superintendent of schools. I shall always remember with gratitude the efficient work of these men and their kindness and patience, in the education of my daughter.
About 225 were present to do honor to this group of seniors and the various numbers were received with delight and pride plainly shown by their animated faces. Many useful and beautiful gifts were given the graduates and with them hearty greetings and congratulations. These five gave reason to be happy folks as they now look forward to the beyond.
Thursday night the seventh grade had its chance at the spotlight with a fine program directed by the teachers of the grammar school.
First section, Nell Harris, director.
Plays by Kentenel Bond, Betty Nicholson, Eugene Penland, Alfred Smith, Yvonne Oliver, Cleo Bond, Emma Lashbrook.
Poem, Kentenel Bond.
Dialogue skit called "Johnnie's Logical Conclusion," by Cleo Bond and Irma Lashbrook.
Poem, Betty Nicholson.
Second section, Eleanor Chapman and Sue Mansfield, directors of third, fourth, fifth and sixth grades.
Japanese doll band, group of girls.
Jayville school closing, group of boys.
Third section, Elliott Curtis, director seventh grade graduation.
Salutation, Viola Prunty.
Class prophecy, Chester Corporon.
Class will, Geneva Blackwell.
Valedictory, Everett Wood.
Presentation of diplomas by Principal Curtis.
Tom Hale, superintendent of county schools, delivered an address of much interest. The auditorium was lavishly decorated with beautiful flowers. About 200 were present to honor the public who having completed the seventh grade are now promoted to be next years "Fish."
I was glad to see present Thursday night Barbara Hale, lovely child. Although she is sorely afflicted, she keeps a smiling face and a courageous heart. Barbara is the captain of her ship and she is bound to sail it into the Port of Good Health. Not for long can such souls as Barbara's be kept down.
Wednesday night Mrs. Ben Mowery lightened up our corner with her sweet face and we discussed dogs. It is a wonder she was able to drag old man Mowery out, but she did. I don't bloom "M" for when old age creeps on, a chair, a pipe and a book tempt the best of us.
Tom Hale, county superintendent of schools, started his address by informing the audience that "I am no speech maker" and then proceeded to deliver a most interesting talk lasting fifteen minutes. Guess in his old age, Tom is developing into a joker. The local school board is advised to read Psalms 118:22. Well, anyway, one of the largest and best schools in South Texas grabbed Miss Nell Harris.
Viola Prunty delivered her salutation in a strong unafraid voice that carried to the farthest part of the church. Sue Mansfield is now on the local desk of the Tribune and I shall expect to see from this date, an eight page paper, with enlarged circulation and more attractive spread. She got me down the first day as being a business visitor on our streets.
E. O. Taulbee looks right smart healthy, in spite of the fact that some of his friends thought the bouquet I gave him was an obituary. He is still able to take nourishment and a proper libation.
Jimmy Gartrell, the sweet kid, stepped on his hand and is therefore pecking out letters with one finger of one hand. Did not see that pet of the ladies, Eugene Wilson, much to my regret. George Serrill can talk insurance even if he is silent at the banquet table. John Reynolds got me in a corner and tried to sell me a life prolonging policy but I just don't care about such a policy unless I can see to read it. If I am lucky enough to break my wooden leg, I'll have Louise Sharp for my nurse. She looks right nifty in white uniform. It was all I could do to keep from stealing Jean Steele. We used to work in team play on the Tribune during which time it enjoyed an immense circulation. I went as far as I could on the street in front of George Serrill but wait until we are alone Jean and we'll go shopping. Don't let the miserable wretch see this.
Mirth tries to look dignified like his dad, but it is a difficult task while endeavoring to flatten the floor of the city hall so youth may dance. Well, for a fellow with a wooden leg and a half brain, I have passed through a very active two weeks.
The Matagorda County Tribune, Thursday, June 6, 1935
By Harry Austin Clapp
A friendship that has endured for one-fourth of a century causes one to feel the right to comment on the friendly experience. I first met Charles Louis Langham twenty-four years ago. He had four baby girls and I had one and so we argued as to whether his possession entitled him to four times the sweetness I claimed. As time passed our intimacy increased, until in later years we often discussed some subjects that men seldom think of until the shades of life approach. He was a strong believer in the immortality of the soul and the last visit I had with him, that was the subject he talked about. He told me that he knew life was drawing to the end, but that he had no fear, for he knew that he would live again.
I believe he spoke the truth, for God never allows such souls as Charley possessed to die. All too precious.
Charley Langham was one of the last of the old time Southern aristocrats. A splendid type of the old style gentleman. Always courteous, gentle, kind, approachable. The longer one knew him the more he was loved. Born on a plantation in the days before the war, with plenty of slaves ready to do his bidding, he had but to ring the bell, issue orders and listen to the "ting, ting, ting." He lived to the age of 87 and never did he lose that patrician manner to which he was born. It was bred in his bone. To the high born there can be no retreat. He marched on and he gave to his daughters the heritage that he drew from his parents. At the early age of 12, he joined the army of the Confederacy and had the honor to serve under that gallant soldier General Bedford Forrest.
I advise the youth to read the story of Forrest's life. It is a poem of a splendid brave American. Perhaps his association with this man gave Charley some of the military air that was part of his personality. He not only served his country well in times of peril, but when peace came, he took up the burden of recapture, rehabilitation, rebuilding and well did he do his part. He told me that frequent overflows from the Mississippi caused him to leave the old plantation and seek other places for his activities.
He moved into Matagorda County forty-five years ago, so may be called a pioneer. For fifteen years he served this county as its treasurer and I am willing to state that never in the history of this county has an office been filled with a more capable, efficient kindly official. He was always willing to explain the intricacies of the county finances, always taking the time. His books were immaculate. He wrote a legible and free hand. With his departure to the other shore, Matagorda County loses a picturesque character, the last of our old time aristocrats and what was acknowledged as the state's oldest official. Charley was a good man and his death is mourned by all who knew him. I doubt if America ever sees in any future generation his type. They are just not bred these days of hurry, burley, get there no matter the cost. Heaven is full of such men as Charley Langham, but the world is being emptied of such gentlemen. So this is my tribute to a brave, courageous soul. I give my sympathy to the daughters. They have reason to be proud that they were sired by such a man.
"I cannot say, and I will not say
That he is dead--he is just away!
With a pleasant smile; and a wave of his hand,
He has wandered into an unknown land,
And left us dreaming how very fair
It needs must be, since he lingers there.
And you--O you, who the wildest yearn
For the old-time step and the glad return--
Think of him as facing on, as dear
In the love of There as the love of Here;
Think of him as the same I say;
He is not dead--he is just away."
--James Whitcomb Riley.
My dictionary tells me that torrential means "of or pertaining to a torrent" and looking up the word torrent, I find it to be a "Violent flow of water." That is just what we endured for five hours Monday, a torrential rain. Perhaps not less than six inches of water fell from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. and then a good drizzle balance of the day. Continuous electrical discharges with violent detonations of thunder disturbed the nervous system. Tide rose at least six feet covering all low lands making great lakes with good-sized waves running wild. It was a torrential day and all were glad when it ceased. Very bad for the young cotton. Corn suffered little. Cattle washed clean as they stood with tails to the riving storm.
Feeling quite confident that I had won the heart of the young lady who presides over the local desk in the Tribune office, I called there Saturday. I supposed, of course, that because of our intimate relations, she would feature my visit. Did she? Yes, with just thirteen words informing the public that I was a visitor. My sole idea in making the trip was to see that gal. Just shows how undependable love is. A trip to Bay City is some event in my young life and now I drink wormwood and gall or maybe it is Gaul. O, fickle woman! I shall never trust another.
Hugo and Hattie [Kundinger] operators for Collegeport's Palatial Pharmacy and purveyors of soda-licious cream spent Monday in Houston.
Mopac House has received from Mrs. Emmitt Chiles twelve knives and forks and from Seth W. Corse twenty-four water glasses. Mopac gives hearty thanks for these gifts.
The Liggett place has three husky men, but only one is a real worker and that is Milford. The Liggett family would be in a sad state if Milford should strike. He dressed out a hog Tuesday and the next day he came to Homecroft bearing a big bundle of spare ribs. The ribs were made right welcome, but Milford's smile was more so. I guess his dad and brother helped a bit, but it is a safe bet that Milford did most of the work. Milford is a working kuss and he always has a smile and two dimples.
Kansas State Board of Health has issued some rules for kissing. There are several "don'ts" and among them are the following: "Never kiss in a crowd, but if you must, take a hot mustard foot bath and avoid drafts if you feel 'all in' afterwards." In my kissing experience, I have often experienced that "all in" feeling, but it was never because of drafts. It was something more tangible. "Guard against sudden changes of temperature when kissing." That is splendid advice if one feels sudden heat, just remove lips from lips a moment, cool off, be content with necking. "At a party where 'postoffice' and similar games are played, be sure to gargle frequently." This of course requires one to have a bottle of gargle on the hip and by using it as directed, one will have clean tonsils and it will not be necessary to call in Patricia Martyn. I find that a good gargle between acts, gives kissing a desirable, clean flavor that is absent if gargle is omitted. Of course, there are time, and I have experienced them, when rules are thrown into the waste basket and a fellow keeps on kissing until he feels faint and then he sings "Take, O take those lips away."
Arthur Liggett had some important business in Bay City Friday and so in the face of an approaching storm, he made the hike. There are times when a business emergency exists and neither tide or torrential rains will prevent attendance. It is hoped that this mission was successful and that the Tribune will record "Arthur Liggett was a business visitor Friday." That's as much as he may expect from the local desk until the beach is reached.
How it did pour Friday afternoon. In an hour we had two inches of real rain water. Crops already suffering from too much agua are again bathing their feet in the unwelcome fluid. Grass growing too fast for the most rapid worker. Just shows we don't need an AAA or any other part of the alphabet in order to cut down production.
I knew that Taulbee boy would start something. Just read what he did when he got them there Galveston boys down to Bay City. Now we look forward to a barbecue to start the ball a rollin' for the Midcoast. Watch Mrs. Taulbee's son Eddie. He is going to give this section some much needed publicity and I hope he includes "Pacoma" in his plans for we, meaning I and the miserable wretch, desire to walk across to service at St. John's Chapel in Palacios. Give us a lift you lady kisser. We need paint for the Mopac and not for lips.
When I think of paint for Mopac, my thoughts ramble to Glenn Taylor, the man who holds the paint pot so far away that we are unable to reach it and yet, so I am informed, May 4 he intends to paint Mopac House. All we want to know is when and how.
Just one more squawk and I am done. If the school board decides that we should be deprived of the ability of Sue Mansfield, they will force upon the patrons a decided loss. She may be, for arguments sake, a punk teacher, but he has exercised an influence for good with the pupils of the school that exceeds the influence of all the rest of the faculty. It is possible for a teacher to reach farther than the teaching of the three R's. This Miss Mansfield has done. She has a personality that is a stranger to many of the applicants. Where among them will we find one who can put on a dance such as we witnessed at a recent play? Where among them is a voice as sweet as that of singing Sue? Where is there among them one so willing to engage with us in civic activities? I hope the board will read Psalms 118:22 and do not refuse to grasp good material.
Well, my good readers, when you read this copy, I will have reached the 73rd milestone of life and it appears to me that it is a good string for an old dodie to write. June 16th is the day us Homecrofters celebrate. Come on down and glorify with us. I get a toothbrush and Jimmy gets a beautiful dog harness and that means two happy pooches.
The Matagorda County Tribune, Thursday, June 13, 1935
By Harry Austin Clapp
As I look back over life's way, I feel that much has been accomplished for example on that day of June 16, 1862 I was unable to read or write. Today I can do both so at least two things have been achieved. In another way I have made little progress for on that date I was forced to make a business connection and went into the dairy business. This morning as I milked our cow, the thought came that I had not gone far, for I was still in the milk business.
The barn calico cat, softly purred in contentment as she rubbed against my legs and Jimmy reposed at my feet. It was 5:30 in the morning and the sun was just peaking above the horizon, rubbing his sleepy eyes and showing a big orange tinted face. Soft clouds chased each other across the blue sky, driven by a brisk southeaster. The tide was high and wavelets dashed and fussed at the sea wall, as if eager to o'er leap and fall to the other side. As I listened to the milk falling in regular rhythm, I also heard the music of the corn. It produced at that hour, a deep bass with a melody running into the upper register of God's great organ. As I sat there in the quiet of the morning, I was as Dryden once wrote "forced to make an introspection into my own mind."
And then the words of Pope came to me "the sage with retrospective eye." Looking back--making examination. What a wonderful privilege? It is what God gave us when he separated us humans from the animals.
I have passed the three score by thirteen years. My adorable miserable wretch has passed the mark by eight years. My son has made the half century. My sweetheart daughter has passed the quarter mark. Truly us Homecrofters are on the way. It has been a beautiful way and as I look back I would not make much change. The unhappy rough portions of the way only served to increase appreciation of the smooth and sweet valley trails. Thank God it has not all been mountain climbing. No radio, telefone, electric lights, refrigerators, window screens, autoes, hard roads, brain trusters, inheritance or gift taxes, no attempt to dictate to industry or farming.
People lived well and prospered. Taxes were so light as not to be felt and we used to brag that we paid no federal tax. That was in the "Horse and Buggy Day" for which we thank God. Men worked for a daily wage which is now an hourly wage and they owned their homes, paid their bills, educated their children and were respected units in the community life. Farmers owned their farms and lived on them and from them. They were thrifty folk and never depended on the government for aid, indeed, no farmer ever thought of such an advent. He was a self possessed unit strong in his own kingdom. Those were good days and in my opinion we would be a happy people if we could slip back fifty years and once more take a ride in the "Horse and Buggy."
I was cashier of the bank and my father, thinking of my youthful appearance, suggested I grow a beard, which I did but as it did not serve to increase confidence I cut it off and since then have at intervals shaved my jowls. I never did like whiskers and I soon found that the heavy brush which adorned my face acted as a danger flag and actually drove the girls away, so as between increased deposits and girls I sacrificed the whiskers and kept the girls.
As I look back over my life and review the year after year, I feel certain that although I have endured much suffering, many disappointments, some neglect, still my measure of life contentment is full and I have realized that all things considered, I have been blest beyond my deserts. I guess every man is if he makes proper confession. We are a very egotistical folk. We stalk about in an arrogant manner bragging of our possessions and yet we possess nothing except this moment. We are not even sure of the next breath. When we call our lands, our monies, our properties, are just loaned to us. We only have the use of them and when the time comes we leave them all behind. Not one penny worth can be carried beyond. The only thing we carry away is the respect and love of those who are left behind and that is a fortune that may only be gathered by a life of usefulness. I very much desire to carry that with me. As I approach the land of the setting sun, I have less fear and I know that the exit will be as remarkable as the entrance. Therefore, why fear? God has assured us of a life beyond and the time comes when man welcomes the falling curtain. I have enjoyed my life. I have some good, reliable, fine friends. I still have the ambition to be of use. My home life is peaceful. My health is good. I enjoy food and drink. I enjoy books and music and song. I like to hear the voices of happy children. I see and hear many things as I walk through the fields or stroll along the slough that many men miss and they all tell me of my God.
Tomorrow will be another day and I'll begin checking off another year and I am hoping that it will be as full of delights as was the last year. A box of cigars from my Pal Sue--an angel food cake from Mrs. Liggett--two quarts of pickles from Mrs. Hurd--a fine letter from my dear "vice"--a birthday card from Lutie Ramsey--a box of nuts, sweets and other things from my sweet daughter--a harness for Jimmy--from my sweet skipper who fishes from the banks of the Chicago River a big round twelve pound Coon River cheese, the sort that is old enough to have whiskers ten inches long and a flavor beyond compare. The only chance place where this cheese is to be obtained us up Coon River to Coon Island.
Last Easter I received from Moline, Ills., a card to which was attached a small packet of seed for "your flower garden." I planted the seed on Easter and the first bloom came on my birthday. Fine dating.
The Tribune of June 10 carried an editorial stressing the importance of constructing three very necessary connecting highway links namely the Clemville to Highway 71; Blessing to the Jackson County line; Pledger to the Pledger oil fields. It was a nice little program. The editor said it would do wonders for Bay City and give lasting benefit to the people served. All true as true may be but he forgot that one of the most essential connecting links is the construction of the causeway between Palacios and the extension of the town of Matagorda. This also would be of lasting benefit to hundreds, aye, thousands. If the editor could spend a short time in Collegeport and hear the exclamation of tourists who drive down here expecting to cross over, he might change his mind and urge four connections instead of three. Down here we want Pacoma and until we have it we shall have no peace or freedom from an irritating restriction.
Many times in a while comes beautiful bunches of flowers as for instance this:
"Dear Sir and Friend,
We the Matagorda County Federation of Woman's Clubs wish to thank you for the beautiful talk on "Mothers" to our Federation meeting at Van Vleck May 18. We all appreciate the lovely tribute you paid to mothers.
Mrs. F. H. McMahon, Secretary
Mrs. Phillip Johnson, President"
Reads good and brings cheer to my soul and I thank the Federation for their kind words. And then came this from a reader who lives in Illinois on the banks of the Mrs. Sippy: "the first thing I do when I have the Tribune is to turn to where your 'Thoughts' are and read every word you have to say. So Mopac House is done. Congratulations. I see on the front page of the paper that 'Harry Austin Clapp sees dream come true.' You know if an undertaking is to succeed, there must be real work as well as real dreaming and so I say congratulations to you."
Two nice birthday gifts coming just in time for the fiesta. A Bay City reader sends this "for several years Mr. L. and I have enjoyed your articles in the Tribune but we especially enjoyed your 'Thoughts About Charles Louis Langham' as we too had learned to love him. Perhaps your closing quotation from Riley added quite a bit since I am a native of Indiana and having had an uncle who belonged to 'The Bald Headed Club' with Riley and I have always enjoyed him thoroughly. I have never had the opportunity to meet you nor have I ever stopped to tell you that we appreciate your thoughts as expressed in the paper."
In thanking this woman reader for this fine letter I will add that it will be my business to see that we meet I hope quite soon. Well, all these things help to make life happier and brighter. On this 17th day of June we begin another year and it is my hope that before the end we shall see work begin on Pacoma.
Every one invited to dance at Mopac House Saturday night, June 29, with Merton Smith and his Royal Texans. Some new music will be used on that date the titillating sort.
The Matagorda County Tribune, Thursday, June 20, 1935
The women of the Collegeport Home Demonstration Club held their regular meeting at the community house Tuesday afternoon, June 8, with ten members and one visitor present. Plans were made to give a “Womanless Wedding” in the near future to raise money to send a delegate to the short course.
Mrs. Leola Cox Sides, county home demonstration agent, was present to give a demonstration on quality products.
Matagorda County Tribune, June 20, 1935
By Harry Austin Clapp
[Local information taken from longer article.]
I am informed by Milford Liggett that because of unsatisfactory and inadequate mail service by train that a movement is on for establishing an air service between Collegeport and Bay City with two round trips each day. This he says is necessary because of the increased mail load and the urgency that exists for quicker letter mail service. In this day, important business must be dispatched promptly.
O. O. McIntyre in his column commenting on the quiet of the pubic libraries writes "who ever heard loud laughter in a public library?" If Oscar will visit the Collegeport Public Library any day when it is open, he will find a library where there is much laughter, rube actions, rough and tumble performances, unrefined talk. None of us are proud of this condition and it is of course a reflection on the parents but little they care.
For the sixteenth annual Texas Writers Conference to be held at College Station July 29 to August 1, inclusive, Matagorda County will furnish three numbers, viz: Cora B. Moore, The Influence of Mexican Literature; Mrs. Abel B. Pierce, Texas Romances; Eugene Wilson, The National Constitution. Commenting on the latter's acceptance of the number, a member of the college staff writes "he is a brilliant young man and will delight the conference." The first three days will be devoted to the regular program. Thursday the business session and election of officers. Wednesday night a gigantic banquet will be held in the general mess hall to which the conference members are complimented. Thursday night the conference will hold their annual banquet at the country club. It is hoped that there will be present at the conference Joe Taylor, state press; Austin Callan, Ben Harrigal, Fred Massengill, the nearest to an inimitable quartet of wags in Christendom. It will be an evening of fun and frolic and a hilarious get together. During the conference a special session will be held in memory of Phoebe K. Warner, one of the original members.
Thursday the 27 it is proposed to hold in LeTulle Park a meeting which I regard as a most worthy affair. The hosts, the Galveston and Bay City Chambers of Commerce realizing the necessity of feeding the brute, announce a barbecue at noon. Then follows the speaking, which will be furnished by some of the most active and brilliant men in the Midcoast. The object is to attract the federal government to the value of our soils as a place where many people may find comfortable supporting homes on the land. If the meeting is successful in realizing the ambitions of the promoters, it may easily mean doubling the population of Matagorda County. I suspect that much, if not all, of this idea originated in the fertile brain of E. O. Taulbee. That boy's brain, if one could look at it, must certainly resemble a struggling, scrambling mass of thinks for general community benefit. That boy is always hunting up some scheme which will be of public value. It is hoped that the meeting will have a large attendance and that our own community folk will awaken from their slumbers and be present. They may hear some words of wisdom, Thursday at noon, June 27, in LeTulle Park where "The Silvery Colorado Wends its Way."
Saturday the local Sunday School enjoyed a picnic on the church grounds. About forty were present and a good time was enjoyed, if the kids told me the truth. While it was planned for a children's frolic, no sooner did the grown folk smell the odor of the eatables than they flocked in and assisted in the dispatch of the generous quantities of food.
The library committee of the Woman's Club met on Thursday and made up a list of new books and as a result, orders have been dispatched for thirty-five books and the Literary Digest for one year. Of all the people who come to the library, I believe Mrs. Robert Murry receives most benefit. Each two weeks she arrives, turns in old books, takes out a new supply. She reads good stuff. Most of the others come in, turn in their books, take out new ones and depart. Mrs. Murry sits in a rocking chair, looks over the many books, visits, discusses books and current events. She, as a rule, stays about two hours and has a restful enjoyable time. All public libraries are restful places if one knows how to relax and enjoy rest and quiet contemplation. In this way, Mrs. Murry obtains greater benefit than most of the other patrons, in fact, I know of no other.
All readers as well as non-readers of the Tribune are invited to dance at Mopac House Saturday night June 29 to the tunes of Merton Smith's Royal Texans. Mopac House has bought a piano and in order to pay for it, we must have a cut in on dances, therefore, we hope for a good crowd. I recall the song the circus clown used to sing "with his toot and toot and toot. O, that's what he played on his horn. He stole the heart of my Sarah Jane with his toot and toot and toot." It might be a good plan to leave Sarah Jane at home unless you are willing to have Merton Smith steal her heart away with his toot and toot. There will be some other Jane present.
Thursday, June 27, 1935
The Bay City Tribune of June 17th, carried a letter written by a Palacios citizen that interested and amused. I read the letter with much interest especially the historical portion. I make this reply because so many think it referred to me and in this my friends are in error. In 1908 I was living in Chicago, going about my business and had never heard of Collegeport or Matagorda County. Did not know such places were on the map. Therefore I am not guilty of the crime of 1908. I have made inquiry and so far as I can learn the Hurd Land Company acquired possession of the townsite and adjacent lands in August 1908. There was no Collegeport community. No stores, no business men, no community organization, hence the writer of the letter must have been dreaming about that bond election. On this side of the bay, not to exceed a half dozen voters lived and none of them were interested in the building of a causeway. That is what the old timers tell me. Maybe they don’t know.
I do know that when I arrived in January 1909 less than a half dozen were living on the townsite and there were no stores, churches, schools or civic organizations. Not since that time has there been any bond election. I do remember that an attempt was made to interest people in a causeway late in 1909 and that some of the local merchants (we had several then) resisted the efforts fearing it would destroy their trade. Silly folk! Did they not know that for every dollar they might miss, two dollars would present new opportunities? Well, anyway, the cause languished and at last expired. I plead guilty to having written miles of stuff, pleading for a causeway and I shall continue until I am no longer able to see the keyboard of my Corona. People on both sides will remember me as having at all times stood for the construction of some kind of crossing from Palacios to Collegeport and on to Matagorda, so that folk touring the coast may keep close to the scenic shore line and that people on both sides of the bay may enjoy free and uninterrupted transportation, to the end that they may easily enjoy a more complete intercourse. The only thing the letter accomplished was to create on both sides of the bay resentment and condemnation. All who have discussed it with me consider it an attempt to throw a wrench into a machine that is operating smoothly. The writer of the letter offers nothing of a constructive nature. Any project, any man from president down is subject to criticism. Criticism is about the easiest thing in this world but when one criticizes one should be prepared to offer something that will be constructive. Destruction is easy. Construction is difficult. The writer informs us that the causeway is as dead as a dodo. Now a dodo is a large bird now extinct. Pacoma is not a dodo. It is a very fine, healthy bird. It sits on a tree branch, preening its plumes, the sun glistens on its beautiful plumage and it most certainly is preparing for flight. Causeway plans are simmering along in a satisfactory manner. I am in a position to know that this is true. The writer of the letter, not being inside, knows nothing about plans under way by Chambers of Commerce, County Courts, Highway Associations and interested individuals.
The folk on both sides are interested and determined to bring about this much needed facility. The individual the writer hit oftenest is a man I have known for twenty years. During this period, until health no longer permitted, he has been active in all progressive efforts. He has done more and accomplished more for the development of Matagorda County than the writer of this letter ever dreamed of. I am unable to think he is guilty of the charge made for to my knowledge he has always been on the side of construction. In my opinion the letter accomplished nothing of value and was quite unnecessary. It developed a feeling of indignation, animosity, irritation. I have an idea that the writer has enjoyed a bad dream and my advice is to wake up. This is not 1908 but 1935. A new situation exists. A new problem is here for us to solve and to do so we need constructive interpretation. It is possible that the writer may sit in the game and be of considerable help. I am glad he wrote the letter for it has served to awaken at least three of our Collegeport day dreamers. Let us remember that Pacoma will soon soar the blue. O, say, by the way I almost forgot about the dance which was the real reason for writing this scribble. Saturday night June 29th is the date at Mopac House with Mertin Smith and his incomparable Royal Texans. Mopac House has contracted for a piano and we need a good attendance so the house’s percent will help to pay for the piano. Palacios folk are invited to attend. Some day we will organize a dance across the causeway. That will be day of hilarious fun. A day when the sun will shine brighter. The day when the Pacoma bird flies high. Come over Saturday night and shake a foot or two.
Palacios Beacon, June 27, 1935
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