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Collegeport Articles

 January 1936


By Harry Austin Clapp


[Local information taken from longer article.]


Sitting here at my Corona when the years' memories give me blossoms, I have a feeling that the experiences of the past should be used in some way to smooth the path that is before me. Resolutions? Just things to be broken. Empty promises to one's self. Many a time at close of a year I have solemnly resolved to eschew tobacco, liquor, gambling, women, Oh, la, la! Along comes a smoker and hands out a cigar and I fall. Another fellow offers a gin cocktail and I gulp it down. I hear the hum of a roulette wheel and I shoot a chip. At sight of a beautiful woman, I, like St. Anthony, take a tumble. Away goes resolutions, so what's the use?


Starting the work of building the causeway between Palacios and Collegeport offers a chance for some man to have his name placed among the immortals. Who will it be? I don't know, but I am able to guess. I don't know how long the Palacios Chamber of Commerce will sit idly by gazing at the pavilion and seawall and allow the best trade-bringer the town every had go by default. They feel too smug with what has been done, but some day they will awaken and learn that the parade has passed. Who among them will have his name on a bronze tablet? The coming year presents great possibilities which if grasped easily will bring to the people of this county much more profit, comfort, advance than they have ever enjoyed. Who will lead? Maybe the son of Mrs. Taulbee, who is at this time making grand delivery. I am not concerned about national affairs for the Republicans will take care of that. I am not interested in state affairs, for the Democrats will meet and wrangle and warble and leave another dirty mess. It is Matagorda County that has my attention. The causeway and extensions of the road to Matagorda, the road to Portsmouth, some lateral roads to accommodate farmers, settling of our vacant lands with new people. We need two hundred thousand. I would like to see Palacios with 40,000 and Bay City with 41,000, just enough so she would not be too snooty. The man who undertakes to bring about these things will have his name not only in bronze, but inscribed in the memories of future folk. He will be an immortal in Matagorda County history. Just a few rambling thoughts as the year fades. It is time to go back and take another leap.


The Hugo Kundinger family received a Christmas gift in the presence of Mrs. Kundinger's sister, Mrs. C. A. Moore of Cumberland, Ohio. Mrs. Moore plans to stay until the flowers bloom on the banks of the Ohio.


Collegeport did have a tree Tuesday evening. It was a big tree, for Elliott Curtis selected it, and you know Elliott. Santa Claus was impersonated by the same Elliott, and therefore we had a big, husky Santa. Beautifully decorated and loaded with gifts, no wonder the kiddies were excited. A fine program in form of a pageant was given, much to the delight of the audience. It's a fine idea--this Christmas tree business.


Wednesday morning, as has been the custom for many years, the Hurds came with greetings and gifts, among them a big box filled with carrots, turnips, radishes, onions, all from the Hurd garden.


Us Homecrofters were liberally treated by Santa, perhaps much better then we deserved. The miserable wretch received 13 1/2 dozen clothespins, a very useful gift. Wednesday night we were the guests of the Hurd family for a radio concert and a few tanks of "good to the last drop." Tall candles fluttered and gleamed before a beautiful tree and the fireplace all a blaze with dancing flames sent welcoming shadows about the room.


"As the organ softly played at twilight

Sitting before the dancing flames of fire,

Our hearts were filled with delight,

Our souls with passionate desire

For the finer things of life.


"And the organ softly played at twilight

And swells in grand crescendo

Life seems to be more right

And in the tones of soft diminuendo

We find a new and glowing delight

In the finer things of life.


"As the organ softly plays at twilight

We hear the voice of olden friends,

And see the love in faces bright,

We pray to God that it never ends--

Friendship is the fine thing of life."


--Fragments From Hack.


Among the flowers left by those sweet burglars Thanksgiving Day was a can with the label Cocomalt. One day, thinking I would have a cup of Cocomalt, I opened the can and found it filled with salted pecan meats. This is a clue, and all I have to do is to find the tree which bore the nuts, then follow who picked the nuts and to whom sold and presto, I have the swell burglars. Many a crime has been solved by a slenderer clue, so I am hopeful. I bet the burglars read this column and watch my attempts to solve the riddle.


December 20th Leanna, our colored neighbor, brought us a nice lot of ripe tomatoes and enough green ones for a green tomato pie and picked that day fresh from the vines.


Judge and Mrs. F. H. Jones, with the two daughters, Marian and Charlotte, were here Tuesday calling on old time friends. Mrs. Jones will spend the winter in this balmy (but today chilly) Southland. The daughters return to their homes in San Diego and Cleveland.


I received perhaps one hundred Christmas cards from Maine to California, many of them would be interesting to the Tribune readers, but here is one written in the hand of the author that is worth reading for its sweetness:


"Dear Loved Ones: Here's an effort to send you what you are forever giving, unbounded love and best wishes, unsullied happiness and good cheer. When frankincense and myrrh were laid at the feet of the Christ child and the cost not recorded mankind received a pattern for manifesting love. As you pour your lives out for your friends and count not the cost, so also do we wish we might do as well by you."


After reading such a glorious Christmas message, how can a person hesitate to pour out love and joy to the writer? The many remembrances from our host of friends all over America have made this Christmas one of special happiness and we are content.


Here comes Rev. Paul Engle with gifts, including a basket of fruit. He tried to make it to our place for a Christmas Eucharist, but was delayed at the many other places.


Mrs. Burr DeWald (Fay Wood) spent the day with the Hugo Kundinger family. Dining with the Haisley family and her two small children, Mr. Haisley asked the blessing and forgot to add the "amen." The little four-year-old waited patiently and at last said, "Say amen if you are through."


Friday we were honored by the presence of Mr. and Mrs. James Louis Duffy and small daughter at dinner. The old oaken board around which for forty years many friends have assembled was graced with a beautiful vase of flowers guarded by tall red candles. Decorations in red and green, my favorite colors, and the service a la Homecroft was generous and satisfying. The same evening we in turn were honored with a dinner, en famile, in the sweet Hurd home on the bayshore. We regretted the absence of the master of the house. All who know the artistic touch of Mrs. Hurd know that table decorations and service were beautiful. Gleaming glass reflecting the light from numerous candles gave a soft and gentle light to the scene. I was especially interested in a generous tank of noodles, and, thanks to the hostess, I was liberally supplied with this succulent and nourishing dish, a dish that was first used by the gods. Dinner closed with a generous serving of glorious mince pie. With cigars, sitting by the big fireplace filled with big logs and listening to a splendid radio, I felt that it was a happy closing of a blissful week.


The Matagorda County Tribune, Thursday, January 2, 1936



By Harry Austin Clapp


What follows was reported to me by Miss Imogene Powell of the J. Walter Thompson Company, Chicago, Ill. It is of historical interest. Miss Powell was a leader in the reproduction of this episode during the 1935 Cheese week.


"One and one half inches of clearance between the White House gates, in other words," said the vice president of the J. Walter Thompson Co., "hinged the success or failure of the presentation of the mammoth cheese to the President of the United States. Exactly! and in consideration of the 1935 cheese week battle which was won on this slight differential and a number of seemingly trivial one penny nails, this story of the Washington scene is presented.


First of all, the presentation of 1250 pounds of cheese to the President was the climax, the crux, the big idea of the cheese week publicity plan for 1935. If it were won, all was won, if lost, all was lost. Enough to make even the brassiest press agent tremble in his boots. Like all major campaigns, it seemed a simple enough idea at first! It had the beginning during cheese week 1934, when, rambling around newspaper morgues in Washington, I noted clippings from Washington papers of 1802, telling the story of the first mammoth cheese ever made in America. That first mammoth, weighing 1250 pounds, was made in Massachusetts under the direction of a Baptist minister, John Leland, a devoted follower of Jefferson. The milk for the cheese was brought to an old cider mill by the members of Dr. Leland's congregation, and when the curd had been cut, and the cheese cured, a ceremony of dedication was held over it. Then, Dr. Leland, donning his frock coat, cocked hat and ulster, put the 1250 pound cheese onto a sleigh and himself drove it to Washington over 500 miles of snow fields. That was Christmas of 1801, in the days when there was snow in Washington at that season of the year. Six white horses were hitched to a sleigh, and they clattered briskly up to the White House steps, where Thomas Jefferson, long gray hair ruffling in the breeze, came out to receive the cheese from Dr. Leland. In behalf of the Republican ladies of Massachusetts (Republicans at that time being the Democrats of this, and vice-versa) the first mammoth cheese ever made in America was presented to Thomas Jefferson. That cheese was cut and served at a large New Year's reception, along with biscuits and American port, to all the members of the houses of Congress. Subsequently, it was served to the members of the Supreme Court, the members of the foreign delegation, to visiting ladies, to itinerant national committeemen, and even to the White House mouse. It was reputed that the Jeffersonian cheese despite all of the lavish entertainment of the Jeffersonian period, lasted Mr. Jefferson for two and a half years.


*  *  *


It was this early ceremony of presentation, which, with some embellishments and some omissions, it was the press agent's dream to recreate the high point of activities of National Cheese Week, November 10 to 16. Fortune at first seemed to be playing in our hands. First of all that first presentation had been made, not to Abraham Lincoln, not to Theodore Roosevelt, but to Thomas Jefferson than whom in the bright lexicon of democracy there is none whomever? even to a progressive. This first obstacle in the path of bringing a mammoth cheese to the front door of the White House appeared to be that, following the arrival of too many cherry pies, artichoke salads, and unplucked turkeys at the White House, the executive order had gone forth that hence forward and forever, all food presented by admiring constituencies must go, not in at the front door, but around to the White House kitchen.


This was only such a hurdle as any press agent loves to clear. The matter was put before the White House by the National Democratic Committeeman from Wisconsin, in its true Jeffersonian light. After a few days, the reply came in "Yes." Next week some more cheese to nibble on. This being the first of a series describing an important event in the National Dairy industry. It is an interesting tale. Many difficult problems were solved and at last doors opened to success.


Two or three years ago, answering an advertisement in the Tribune, I wrote the firm inquiring about the goods offered. Did I receive a reply? Not. Last week the Tribune carried another advertisement by a local firm about goods I wished to buy. I wrote asking for information. No reply. I sent my order to a well known mail order house and in forty eight hours the goods were at my post office. Others have had the same experience. Some day Bay City merchants will awaken to the fact that here is something more in merchandising than wrapping up goods and taking the purchasers money. When that time arrives they will have an increased trade.


The Ramsey farm owned and operated by Mrs. Lutie Ramsey, enjoys a brisk business. Turkey selling at twenty cents per pound, eggs bringing the top price because of their unusual size, matched color and guaranteed freshness. The Ramsey farm is a going concern.


Nice to report that Louie Walter is making favorable recovery from his accident and also fine to report that Robert Murry is much better and his family feel that soon he will be back in his usual health.


Monday the Collegeport Woman's Club held its annual holiday party at the home of Mrs. Vernon Batchelder. Because of the messy roads, the attendance was small but the spirit of those present was high. Mrs. Vera, as all know, could not help but provide superb and gentle hospitality. Refreshments were as dainty as the sweet hostess and consisted of fruit salad smothered in whipped cream, angel food cake and coffee served in fragile cups. Those fortunate to be present passed a most delightful afternoon and enjoyed the program.


As has been the custom since 1910, Wednesday was the date for the annual community dinner. Since the date of the first dinner there has been no break. The tradition has been kept. In spite of weather and road conditions about one hundred were present. Reverend Janes offered thanks and after dinner was served, delivered a preachment. It was a time for visiting, mingling with old friends and discussing the early days of the community. Mr. and Mrs. Food were there with all their children, for I notice Chick Food, Turk Food, Sausage Food, Beef Food, Salad Food, Pie Food and other little members of the food family too numerous to mention. Someone sent in a plate of doughnuts and I made an organized raid and when Mrs. Nelson was not looking wrangled about six and had a good time dunking in my coffee. Vegetables galore graced the tables, pies, cakes, pickles, meats, breads, everything one might desire. It was evident that Collegeport had an abundance of food. Many were there whom I had not seen.


During a holiday week a big truck bearing the sign "Live Oak Farm" drove into our yard. It was loaded with wood and the Negro driver began to unload. I called to him and said, "boy you have made a mistake. I have ordered no wood from any person." In reply he said, "Is you Mr. Clapp?" On giving an affirmative reply, he said, "I don't know nothin' about this ceptin' a white man told me to take this wood to Mr. Clapp's house and here I be." The wood was unloaded and I had another Christmas gift, but to this date I do not know the identity of this special Santa Claus. Just another mystery which may be solved along side of the sweet burglar episode. Hope I'll solve both for I spend too much time trying to unravel the clues. Mighty nice and sweet anyway and I am thankful for the wood gift and the miserable wretch is grateful for the thirteen and half dozen clothes pins. Writing "miserable wretch" whom I sometimes call my wife, reminds me that the other day I received what might be called a dressing gown by one of friend wife's friends. This party regrets that I use the words referred to. Tells me it shows disrespect and is an insult to as fine a woman as is Mrs. Clapp. This person also reports that I have lost face with many readers and that they do not consider it at all humorous and trusted that I would heed the advice and discontinue its use. Well, old top, I'll just say that any woman who is tied up to a fellow as mean as I am, is most certainly a miserable wretch. I reported to her what this person had said and just to prove that she was miserable she said "go ahead and use it. I like it. Our friends don't believe it and for the others, who cares." So I look into those eyes that have shined my way through forty years of life and with a smile on my face and tender love in my heart, I say, "here's to you, you sweet miserable wretch."


The Matagorda County Tribune, Thursday, January 9, 1936



By Harry Austin Clapp


"Then, all matters being started towards success from the White House angle, it remained to get the cheese! Like the recipe for preparing rabbit, it would seem that first get your rabbit might have been a better rule to follow. Cheese weighing 1250 pounds are a bit hard to come by, as several experts in the bulk cheese lines will be glad to testify. With the cooperation of several agencies, some wire pulling, by dent of disappointing a customer or two in the southwestern part of the United States, we procured a 1250 pound cheese so nearly like the mammoth cheese presented to Thomas Jefferson that even Mr. Jefferson might justifiably have groaned in his grave if from there he still watched the affairs of contemporary Democrats. Entree to the White House, and mammoth cheese procured, we must have a float to represent the Jeffersonian sleigh, six white horses, four girls from Wisconsin and a driver. The making of the sleigh float was placed in skillful hands in Chicago. A wire to New York with the simple request to get six white horses in Washington was answered by the simple but descriptive wire "My God I'll try!" and the matter of trying produced six of the most beautiful white horses available anywhere in the United States, one of the teams of the Chestnut Farms Dairy, whose beautiful horses have been famous in Maryland and Virginia for many years. Sending the initial story about the six white horses, the cheese presentation through wire service from several points simultaneously, your representative boarded a train for Washington, one week before the date of the White House event. A few hours wait at the White House brought an interview with the President's secretary, Colonel Marvin H. McIntyre and final arrangements were made for the formal presentation, the presence of the press and an audience following the cutting of the cheese arranged with the President. The business of writing stories, giving interviews, procuring four personable Wisconsin girls in Washington, finding costumes of the period of 1800 to fit them, and sundry details occupied some time. But over and beyond the confident note of the stories for the newspapers, was the underlying fear that the float, shipped some time vaguely by truck from Chicago, might not arrive in time. The float had to be set up, white horses and all, some time on Monday before the Thursday of the event in order to secure those advance pictures for printing in Wisconsin. No float on Friday, no float on Sunday at dawn. The float was to be assembled in Baltimore, where men and equipment, and facilities for trucking were available. Long distance wires hurried throughout a placid Sunday morning. And at nine o'clock, the float, boxed in dozens of separate pieces arrived in Baltimore. From Washington your representative hastened to the warehouse, where a huge truck body was waiting for its pictorial covering of canvas, wood, and much yellow and white crepe paper. From diagrams, it was possible to get the dashboard in place in front instead of the rear, and the sides seemed to fit nicely. One difficulty was that the float had been built to clear a low tongue whiffle tree or some such technicality. And not a low whiffle tree in the entire state of Maryland. The only answer was to cut through the high dashboard--build like Santa Claus' sleigh of old--to make a slit large enough for the tongue. This was done with a great crashing through of wood and canvas, to the imminent peril of the entire float. Once the high dashboard was secured, there was a platform for the cheese to be built atop the truck, sides to be secured, paper to be clipped, hammered, sawed. Along toward the end of the afternoon, considerable of the younger fry of Lee Street, Baltimore, had come to look and wonder. One youngster asked in solemn glee, "Hey, lady, is Santa Claus going to be in on this?" And, indeed, it seemed as though he must have been for the float began assuming the proportions of a sleigh. Finally, it was done and stood in the shed at Fruchoff in Baltimore, beautifully yellow and white, austerely large and handsome. LARGE, did I say! As we stood about, exhausted, but faintly proud, some one looked at the float with a critical eye, and said, "You know, I wonder if WE CAN GET THIS FLOAT THROUGH THE WHITE HOUSE GATES?" Followed a shuddering silence. At high midnight your representative, dirty, weary, manicureless, arrived back in Washington, hence over to the solemn purity of the White House--and THE WHITE HOUSE GATES! To the wonder and amazement of the occasional passerby and the sharp questioning of members of the secret service, we proceeded to step off the distance between those White House gates, hitching posts, iron grill-work and all. A feat difficult to perform with any accuracy in shoes that do not measure twelve inches in length! The cursory examination showed that it could not be done. It would be impossible to get the float through those narrow gates, built in ancient days exclusively for the Carriage Trade. If we could not get it through the gates, there could be no presentation, for the main and simple reason that if you do not do it at the White House front door, there is no news. It couldn't be done and meantime, editorial Washington was starting with news, part of it humorous, part of it serious, about the Big Cheese at the White House. Could it be done? It couldn't be done! All reason pointed to the impossibility of making it at all. And yet, here reason stopped! Unable to think at all, one could only wait until dawn! As I sit at my Corona looking through the window at the heavy fog that covers the earth, I, too ask "What of the dawn?" Will it ever come and when it does will it bring success or failure. Be patient until next week.


Last Tuesday little Miss Joanne Brimberry celebrated her fourth birthday. Among the things to make her happy was a big birthday cake and she sent a big slice to me. Wednesday the Rev. Paul Engle came to us with the Communion of our church. A fine, gentle, loving service which left us greatly refreshed and with renewed faith. From here he went to Blessing, then Palacios and then to the Sartwelle ranch. He is sure looking after the isolates.


Saturday Gus Franzen, who is always doing nice things, brought us a very beautiful bouquet which filled a bushel basket. The center piece was a big cabbage and around it was arranged swell carrots, turnips, onions and topped off with big heads of lettuce. Swell gift and we thank Gus for the thought that prompted the giving. All picked fresh from his garden and no wonder with the mercury standing at 90 at noon. Monday night the County Christian Endeavor met here. Delegates from Palacios, Bay City and Blessing. A half hour of social intercourse and then the business routine. A nice attendance and an enjoyable program.


Thursday the Woman's Club held its annual meeting, listened to reports, made plans for the coming year. Mrs. Hurd, the president, served doughnuts and coffee. Doughnuts. What dreams the word brings. Dreams of Gramma's doughnuts and golden, flaky, crispy cruellers. In my opinion, Mirth should announce himself as the Tribune's humorist. This, after reading about "I like pork." I like pork, also, and sympathize with Mirth, for, like him, the price is beyond me. The other day one of our merchants had a fresh ham on his block and when I tried to buy a slice he refused, informing me that under the AAA, he was forbidden to sell pork. Damn that triple A. He told me the only way I could obtain a slice would be to have him give it to me or for me to steal it. He refused to give it to me, and, well, to make a long tale short, we, meaning I and the miserable wretch, had pork for dinner. I still like pork and I would like to be paid for what I planned to eat but did not. We are having hot summer weather these days with plenty of big fat oysters.


The Matagorda County Tribune, Thursday, January 15, 1936



By Harry Austin Clapp

"At dawn, we called in twelve expert teamsters and two engineering experts who with ruler and slide rule, thickness gauge and micrometer, went down to make the official measurement of the White House gates. The White House gates, from stem to stern and pole to pole, if you ever have to know, are exactly eleven feet three inches wide. Our sleigh float was exactly eleven feet one and one-half inches at the widest part. There wasn't a driver in ten million who could make it with six white horses and a big cheese, was the expert opinion, but it had to be done! Putting our last desperate hope in one particularly level headed driver, we turned with tears in our eyes, to ask if he could and would do the impossible. "Lady," he said, "I'll get 'er through if I have to tear off one of those White House gates, or one side of the float, or both." With that, we had to wait--wait and hope, meantime, pacing miles through the streets of Washington for red, white and blue ribbons, of which there are none in that entire Capital City. None except--at Kreege's! The Presidential ribbon may have been from this dime store, but when it finally adorned the cheese it looked like Old Glory herself. Wednesday, the day before the presentation, we had a cloudburst, such a solid rain as it would have been impossible to drive a team of horses through, much less a float adorned with crepe paper, four girls in flimsy, if colorful satin gowns, and a large, very large piece of cheese. But something had to be left to providence--and that was it! Still not daring to think, the last story was written for the press, and your representative went to bed to await the big day. Thursday dawned gray, cold, but rainless--Washington's first winter day. The four, intrepid Wisconsin girls, dressed in their flimsy frocks, insisted with all possible gallantry, that excitement alone would keep them warm. The driver, dressed in satin knee breeches, long coat, ruff and cocked hat, mounted his box, the girls began waving handkerchiefs before they started off down Pennsylvania Avenue, we loaded the cheese, covered with yellow and white chrysanthemums, tied with red, white and blue ribbons, a cheese knife, a ladder and a few tacks in case of emergency onto the body of the truck--and the float was off down Pennsylvania Avenue. Your representative jumped into a car, and hastened to the White House to interview the waiting press. With what trepidation we waited--on the White House steps--as the float, splendidly yellow, white, red and blue approached headed by our six beautiful white horses caparisoned in red harness and red feather cockades--cannot be imagined. At least twenty photographers, and upwards of fifty newspaper men, correspondents and wire service men waited with me, along with George L. Mooney, and representatives of the cheese industry, little guessing the terror of the situation. At last he hove into view--preceded by a kindly motorcycle escort. Slowly, slowly, the six white horses, their red cockades flying, navigated the rather sharp turn, slowly, beautifully, they came, two by two through those narrow gates, slowly, beautifully, incredibly, the float eased through the White House gates, as if they, or it had been carefully buttered. The sleigh might almost have been built for those gates, for all any one would ever know. With a flourish of reins, a jingle of bells and a smart clatter of hoofs, the horses, sleigh, cheese, girls and all drew up before the White House steps, cameras clicking all the way. Colonel McIntyre came out on the steps, the ladder was put down from the float, and aided and assisted by George L. Mooney, he climbed up onto the sleigh, and proceeded graciously after a speech of presentation by Mr. Mooney, with the business of cutting a fifty-pound slice out of that mammoth--a matter of some concern not only on Colonel McIntyre's part--but on the part of the entire unreverent press present. With aid of cheese wire, knife and Mr. Mooney's strong right arm, a sizable chunk was cut from the cheese, a uniformed White House servant came down the steps, deposited it on a White House platter, and Colonel McIntyre, George Mooney, and the four Wisconsin girls dismounted triumphant and chilly. The audience with the President followed immediately. He received the party in his private executive office, with charm and great friendliness. He spoke of his great fondness for cheese and asked that enough of the cheese please be left for his private table, as he wished to dine upon it that very night. We had previously suggested to the secretary that, as Thomas Jefferson had so much difficulty in getting rid of the cheese, it would be a useful and fine thing if the White House should give the bulk of the cheese to the contributing agencies of the Washington community chests. This plan the President approved most heartily, adding that he felt that this cheese would go far, and do a vast amount of good. Colonel McIntyre, later in an aside, said that the President was more pleased over this particular gift than any that had been given to him by his constituency. As he shook hands, the President said, "I feel that this is an historic occasion!" He commented upon the beauty of the Wisconsin girls' costumes, and, indeed, upon the beauty of the girls. He was most gracious and delightful through a twenty minute audience.


*  *  *


The Ramsey farm had a most excellent holiday trade and soon sold all of the turkeys. Eggs are coming in from the hens, but not fast enough to supply the demand. Folks who know about the large size of these eggs, the uniform color and guarantee of infertility are willing to pay an extra price. I prophecy a continued brisk business for the Ramsey farm.


Sunday, Myrtle Duffy, who at one time was Myrtle Fulcher, drove her car into the yard with her mother, Mrs. Col. Tom Fulcher, two nurses, two kiddies, and  much to our delight, Barbara Hale. Barbara has taken on an added sweetness and is a very pretty young woman. I trust she keeps out of the rain for rain melts sugar. Barbara has a good spirit which will greatly aid her in overcoming her physical trouble which as caused her fighting Irish blood to just rare up and keep the fight for recovery going. She patiently faces the job, keeps cheerful and I predict that she will win out. She is a mighty sweet child and always has been and from the time she was a little girl we have been more than fond of her. We congratulate Colonel Tom on his possession of such a fine daughter.


Mrs. Leola Cox Sides, County Home Agent, came here Tuesday and met with the local canning club. Including Mrs. Sides, only eight were present and only four were members. Anyway, Mrs. Sides gave a real talk on bedroom closets and with a small model, illustrated her points. I ought to join up and at least take the first degree for I am building a bedroom closet. Maybe Leola will some time call on me and give me a private lesson.


Thursday, the Kings Daughters met with Mrs. Anna D. Crane.


Friday night the High School gave a play at the Hendrick's home with an attendance of fifty-three. By putting the clock back on hour, the kids were out until one a. m. Mrs. Hendricks served lemonade and delicate cake and the kids report a red hot time with lots of fun.


Our oyster man is giving us real service and delivers to our door fine oysters at 35c per quart of 20c per pint. Large, fat fellows that often run eleven to the pint. We had a pint Saturday with eighteen, many of them four inches long.


Our seventeen days of summer came to an abrupt end Friday night with a norther and forty-mile gale and temperatures down to 24. Just a drop from the day before of, oh say, to be safe, about sixty degrees. We, meaning I and the miserable wretch, went to bed that night with our heaviest fur coats.


Plenty of ice Sunday morning in the "Sunny Southland." Some day the "Bix [Big?] Six" over in Palacios will awaken from their slumbers and realize that the causeway is not only a needed transportation agency, but a trade builder.


The Matagorda County Tribune, Thursday, January 23, 1936



By Harry Austin Clapp


The President laughed until his sides shook when he was told about the five-year-old colored boy who marched along with his more sophisticated white friends as we were getting the sleigh ready to go to the White House. He had apparently entered into some argument with the little white boys about our driver, who was splendid in his cocked hat, satin breeches, velvet coat and ruff and came to me with seeming authority. "Lady," his large eyes pleaded with me, "That is the real Santa Claus George Washington, ain't it?" It happened that the high point of Washington's Community Chest drive was on that same day, with a luncheon for 1000 Washington leaders, at the Willard Hotel. Our float, six white horses and all, proceeded with the bulk of the cheese, directly down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Willard Hotel, where it was, with some difficulty, transferred to a hand truck thence up to the Grand Ballroom, where it was placed on display before the group of Chest leaders. Colonel McIntyre, himself, came over to make a personal presentation on behalf of the President of the United States of the mammoth cheese for charity. His speech was broadcast amid much enthusiasm. After luncheon, the giant cheese was cut, to be sent to the Red Cross, Salvation Army, and other agencies, where it was used and deeply appreciated in many humbler homes than the White House. The event caused a genuine stir in Washington where a stir is rather a difficult thing to cause in these stirring days.


Within six days in Washington alone the newspapers carried stories totaling more than 5000 lines, many of these stories appearing on front pages, many cartoons dealing with the subject of the Big Cheese, many editorials and much column comment. These stories alone, printed in space which, of course, cannot be purchased for advertising, total more than $2,000 of value in advertising space rates. Outside of Washington the story of the presentation was carried to the nation in eight separate stories carried by the Associated Press, two wire photos from the same association, six United Press stories, one International Press story, and two International photos by special correspondents of more than 100 metropolitan dailies, one syndicated Scripps-Howard cartoon, several syndicated editorials, many nationally syndicated columns, including that of Walter Winchell. In addition to the National Cheese Week announcements heard on programs sponsored by members of the Cheese Industry, there were three national broadcasts which featured the cheese presentation, including that of Lowell Thomas. Two additional local broadcasts of Washington newspapers carried the story. The City of Washington engaged in conversation about cheese last week, to the exclusion of international policies, the Canadian reciprocity agreement, and even a local murder full of baffling details. And the success of all this program may be laid directly to that one and a half inches clearance of the White House gates, and to the fact, I conclude, that nobody in the United States has seen a white horse in years." Thus ends the tale of the big cheese given to Thomas Jefferson in 1802 and to Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1935. Some cheese and if it had been a Coon River cheese I would have asked that that float be driven through our gates. But never mind. I had a Coon Cured Cheese that weighed 12.5 pounds with whiskers six inches long--a crumbly, tangy taster that we treasure and only nibble so it will last. Give me cheese and a cold stein of good old beer and maybe a spare rib. Hey, Bill?


Just as an illustration of the advantage of advertising I cite this: The Al Lee Players of Palacios came over here last week and put on their show without any advertising. They took in thirteen frog skins. Had they advertised they would no double have taken at least thirty of the same sort of green hides, for our folk like shows. Advertising always spells the difference between and failure. Some one said, "If your business does not pay, advertise it for sale." The Players will come again this week and I hope that they will advertise and have a good crowd Friday night because the Woman's Club participates in the take.


The miserable wretch tells me right this moment to write to you folk who drive all over the country trying to get somewhere and not knowing about the good food always provided by the Collegeport' women better remember that the annual Washington Birthday Banquet will be held here either Friday night, February 21s, or Saturday night, the 22nd. Exact date to be announced.


Library opened Friday and let out fifty-two books with fifty guests. Good business.


We have enjoyed a week of summer, doors open, window up, fresh sweet breeze and just to illustrate will say that Saturday morning at five o'clock Jimmy expressed a desire for a pasaer and I let him out the back door and, clothed in my nightie, I went out on the gallery for ten minutes, while Jimmy hunted around for varmints. Warm summer morning and was sorry to have to climb back in the husks, but too dark for the morning milking.


Saturday the people of the county will vote on liquor or no liquor. If the county goes dry it will be deprived of some income and at the same time there will be plenty of booze as always before. If it votes wet, there will be no more liquor, perhaps not as much and the county exchequer will be sweetened with many a dollar of liquor tax money. I am, as everyone knows, a pro except when there be some gin, rum, wine or beer, but I am planning to vote. Oh, well, guess I'll wait until Saturday and see how the other booze hounds feel about it, but I will still be a strict pro. This idea of controlling appetite and passion is a will-'o-the-wisp. Never has been did, so let us be sensible and try to control. This box went two for one for repeal. Wonder what it will do for wet or dry.


We, meaning I and the miserable wretch, are sorry to learn of the illness of Almee Hall and hope she makes an early recovery.


When, and if we desire spare ribs, we just tell Louie Duffy about it and he takes his houn' dogs and goes into the brakes and hunts up a fat wild hog and presto, we soon have spare ribs. Louie did that last week and hung up a hog that dressed 3200 ounces. The spare ribs were glorious nestling amidst sauer kraut and spuds.


Friday we were honored with a visit by Mesdames George Harrison, Hugh Linder and Dorsey. All from Palacios and obliged to drive 32.6 miles as the causeway is not open for traffic. Mrs. Lena brought me three heads of head lettuce and a bog cabbage right fresh from her garden. Just now with the north wind blowing, I'd rather have a bouquet of lettuce and cabbage than flowers.


Hope the weather moderates before Saturday for if the norther continues, the wets will win out and I, being a strict pro, do not care for that. Hey! Why don't you bring in them there buckwheat cakes?


The Matagorda County Tribune, Thursday, January 30, 1936



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October 9, 2009
October 9, 2009