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The Daily Tribune

Collegeport Article

May, 1935

Thoughts About The Flop

By Harry Austin Clapp


The other day one of the local faculty while in the library speaking of Mopac Day said, "It is too bad it is such a flop." "What do you mean?" asked Mrs. Liggett and the reply was "O, no one will be here tomorrow and Mopac House will be a flop."


Now this good soul did not know what the word flop meant. It means much, for it just simply means "to turn over suddenly; to throw oneself over." And in writing about Mopac House I adopt the word and it was a complete flop for on that day we sure turned suddenly over. Never in the history of Collegeport has there been such a demonstration of hearty good will, such brotherly spirit, such enthusiasm for what comes next, such friendly, joyous intercourse, such intelligent, instructive talks by such brilliant men and women. Gathered about the beautifully decorated tables were beautiful women and gallant men, representing the bone and sinew of the Midcoast, the folk who eternally stand for forward movement. The Mopac colors being green and white those colors predominated in the table decorations.


Spread with a fair cloth with green stripe running down the center, green sherbet, green vases displaying beautiful flowers with streamers of fernlike greens the vision of what was to come served but to whet the appetite in anticipation of gustatorial delights. No organization any where could possibly hope to better serve guests in beauty of decorative efforts and abundance of food fit for either royalty of the gods or supply the table service as did the splendid women of the Collegeport Woman's Club, assisted by the local Girl Reserves who were well trained for the service they rendered. I doff my sombrero to them for they were sweet, charming and attentive. Back in the kitchen invisible but potent in their part were Mesdames King, Nelson, Guyere, Crane, Kundinger and several others all willing and ready to help. Mrs. Liggett assisted by Mrs. Vern Batchelder had charge of the table and the service and they rendered their service in a beautiful, charming, satisfying manner. These fine, more than splendid women stood by. To them I give most hearty thanks. My feeble words fail to describe my gratitude. My acts in the future must better serve. A score of mighty speakers sat at the head table surrounding Seth W. Corse, chairman of the board of the Mopac House Foundation and the ubiquitous toastmaster, E. O. Taulbee.


Roy Miller who was to be the principal speaker, detained in Washington by most important business by long distance phone sent his regrets with a hearty word of greeting, Mr. A. B. Duke, the personal representative of Mr. H. R. Safford, executive vice president Missouri Pacific Lines was promoted to the position and Mr. Safford may well be proud that the executive department of the Missouri Pacific enjoys the talents of such a splendid gentleman. His words though quiet carried to every part of the room and expressed to his audience the fact that the company he presents is interested in the progress and welfare of the community. A gentleman--a man of charm--a man to be loved. With him were Mr. Malory McDonald, publicity department and Mr. W. L. Andrews, field editor Missouri Pacific Magazine, both of whom reflected credit on their organization.


Boy, was I happy to have such a fine group of men from the Mopac? Spell it again and here I hope those boys will visit with us on some other similar occasion.


Mr. Gallimore representing the Kraft-Phenix cheese corporation told us of the possibilities of his industry in the midcoast in most delightful manner. The Kraft Cheese corporation thanks to the old sea skipper Imogene Powell of Chicago and A. J. Riddle, manager of the Kraft company sent us as a gift sufficient Old English cheese to serve twice the number present. With the cheese which came wrapped in sweetly wrapped half pound bricks was a letter telling of their willingness to serve us at any time.


Talk about cheese. I have eaten cheese from the seven seas and fifty lands but not until I first stuffed myself with Old English did I realize cheese. Soft as an angel's breast and that means little to some of the pirates who sat about the board it is supreme in concocting a rarebit for it melts down into a rare smooth, golden glow and assisted by a foaming tankard slips down one's gullet and produces a reaction that simply shouts for more Old English.


Seated by Mr. Gallimore's side was his splendid wife. Her visit was all too brief. Then came that undefeated gallant old charger, George A. Harrison the man who did the impossible. Most everyone knows Uncle Archie. Those who do not should form his acquaintance right soon for from him flows a never ending stream of fine things for our county. George spoke in his usual convincing manner. He wants for us all good things and he desires no evil. He is one of us, for us, always ready, always willing to serve our people. My personal belief is that when George fails us that for us all fails. There followed such speakers as that grand old boy Ed Baker from Matagorda, a soft spoken, easy, go-getter--a dependable and responsible servant of his folk; James Gartrell with his smile of charm. What would we have done without Jimmy and his successor, Glenn Taylor. God save us. He did and so thanks God for working in the souls of these boys.


Eugene Wilson the pet of the ladies and the sweetheart of the men. He is our baby county officer. We who have watched him grow from baby days to this time when he is a potent influence for good feel a special delight when ever, we have the pleasure of hearing his words.


I knew Oscar Barber when as secretary of the business league of Bay City he drew no salary and paid his own postage. Now he stands before us and with his never absent smile told us of his willingness and readiness to render service in bringing about the construction of the causeway. So long as Oscar our county judge feels that way he shall have my three votes. What a fine friend he has been for lo, these twenty-five years. Reverend Paul Engle, rector St. Mark's, Bay City, in eloquent words asked God to bless the guests, the people of the community and to dedicate Mopac House to the comfort, peace and enjoyment of our people. God heard the words. God grants requests made in humble prayer. Banish fear good people. God is with us and by keeping close to Him all is well for the humblest of us.


Rev. George Gillespie, representing the Palacios Chamber of Commerce spoke in his usual effective manner. He is a wheel horse. Not all preachers serve communities as does this man. I have only two things against him and they count small. He is a Presbyterian and he should be an Episcopalian; he is a Democrat and would make a real fine Republican with this change he would be the perfect Christian but even with this handicap I love him.


Jack Barnett a man who has given his strength almost to the breaking point, his money freely, his time for the betterment of our folk. Jack Barnett, is one of the Grand Old Pirates who standing together boards all craft that threatens us and quickly pulls down their flag. May God preserve such men as Jack.


The Texas Agricultural and Mechanical College where more than three thousand boys are learning what service means spoke in encouraging words in eloquent language the message from that splendid institution. Their presence filled my bowl of happiness to overflow. Good old substantial friends of many, many years, never failing founts of inspiration. I have often asked and they always give. Their names? A. D. Jackson, chief of publications, experiment station and R. W. Person, district agent extension department. Mrs. Burton D. Hurd, president Woman's Club in her always charming manner and well modulated voice spoke for her organization and briefly told of the beginning of our fine library. Mrs. Hurd has been so long the backbone of every civic endeavor that she no longer is able to bend favorable towards any destructive effort. The miserable wretch. What an aid for me during these forty years of association with a pal who has never failed. She delivered a most delightful small talk in a most convincing manner. She may be a wretch but she is far from being miserable. Burton D. Hurd, the man with the tongue of gold, the man who is responsible for Collegeport, the man of vision and the ability to bring visions into breathtaking life gave the welcome to the guests. Then followed the writer of Thoughts. Not necessary to say much about this old dog except that from the first day he landed on these shores he has been active in community life. The ovation started by Mrs. Hurd and given the writer filled a hungry soul with comfort. I might write on but Carey Smith probably would draw out his blue pencil and execute.


If I have neglected any one it is because my heart is so full this morning that Thoughts came slow. There is so much to be thankful for. Carey Smith Jr. had a pencil and sheaf of copy paper and wrote many things which Mirth will record. Carey is a swell speaker and Glenn Taylor in brief address promises to furnish paint for the building. Was that not fine of that Taylor boy?


The weather was all that one might desire. Palacios turned out its finest folk in grand numbers as did Bay City, Blessing and other parts of the county. Many drove two hundred miles starting at five in the morning that they might be present. Why did they do this? Give your own reply. One hundred people sat at the hospitable board. Good cheer, friendly talk, happy quips, wholesome joshing, joyous greetings. That night with music by Merton Smith's Midnight Ramblers they danced the hours away. Sixty couples paid admission and with the many extra girls about two hundred men must have attended. The function started with a grand march led by Vernon King Hurd and Mary Louise Clapp then followed Mr. and Mrs. Harry Austin Clapp, then Mr. and Mrs. Burton D. Hurd and others. Soon the march dissolved into a dreamy waltz which staggered some of the old boys but on went the dance with beautiful gowned girls, well dressed men and all was gay with pleasure and happiness. Palacios and Bay City turned out again in most numerous numbers, the silk of both burgs in sweet women and gallant men. Mrs. Hurd, assisted by Mrs. Gueyer and Mrs. Prunty and that never failing maker of those famous Carrie Nelson Noodles served delicious punch, sandwiches and the food that angels live on. Was I tired? From Saturday at five a.m. until Sunday at nine p.m. I never got a gob of shut eye in other words sleep was just not. Without any doubt this was the grandest occasion of my life. I never was happier and I thank every person present or who contributed in the smallest way.


As days pass--days of review--days of reminiscence--days when I indulge in happy retrospection I shall remember some whom I have forgotten in this account. From them I ask pardon. Forgive for the old brain palpitates feebly. The wooden leg needs lubrication. My thoughts chase from the Chicago river where my sweetheart Imogene fishes for more Thoughts to St. Louis where Frank Ives makes steel to the Rio Grande where dwells George Duckworth. For two thousand miles my thoughts wander. Just take it from me good old friends that you have made two folk very happy and they this day dedicate their few remaining years to further effort for community good. Can I write more? Can I say more? God go with every good pirate in this community and may God give relief to my fine old time friend Judge Holman who had he been present would have spoken words of encouragement.


Words of Regret.


Harry Hines, chairman State Highway Commission.

G. C. Kennedy, superintendent Missouri Pacific Lines

Edgar B. Davis, North and South Oil Company.

T. J. Holbrook, state senator.

T. C. McCord, division engineer Missouri Pacific Lines.

Dr. T. O. Walton, president Texas A. & M. College.

H. R. Safford, executive vice president Missouri Pacific Lines.

A. J. Riddle, general manager Kraft-Phenix Cheese Corporation.

Roy Miller, director public relations, Gulf Sulphur Company.

Judd Mortimer Lewis (Uncle Jud) The Houston Post.


The end of a perfect day.



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