Will Rogers' Weekly Articles
WA212 January 2, 1927
WILL ROGERS BATTLES THE WAITERS AT
A SOCIAL DINNER
I was down in Washington D. C. a couple of weeks ago relating facts to the lawmakers and the next night I was off, it being Sunday. Mr. and Mrs. Ned McClean was having a big Dinner, and they was not only kind enough, but Democratic enough, to ask the Mrs. and I to be there.1
Mind you not to tell a single joke, just do nothing but eat, and watch the Bourgeois.
She wanted to make it a mixed party. She wanted someone there who was not interested in the Government from a Salary standpoint, they wouldent have gotten me in such a big league place if it had not been for the fact that I had visited them before in their assortment of homes, and knew that she could make you feel just as much at home as if you payed Surtax. She has been rich all her life, and she dont have to go through that stage of getting used to it. My wife got the old wedding dress out and turned under the top, and basted up a couple of feet of the bottom, took the belt out of it and let it hang kinder “at ease,” and I want to tell you the old thing didn’t look bad at all. It was just queer, and old fashioned enough to look like some new model from Patou. She had to get some flesh colored stockings, that was about all the affair cost us. I got the old Blue serge double breasted that had done such valient service in the pinches over in Europe and my one piece shirt. In fact, I am the only one that ever went through Europe and never lost a shirt stud. She had the seat brushed so much that I was afraid to sit down, for fear I would slip off the seat.
Now the last time I visited them they were living out in the edge of Washington at “Friendship” that’s their September home. So I never thought what month it was. I told the Taxi man to take us out there. We were told out there that the dinner was at their large December house. Well I had been lost in it twice before. You see it wouldn’t be country folks if we dident start right on doing something wrong. Well we arrived finally and for once in our lives we were fashionable, for we were certainly late enough.
The guests thought, Actor like, I was being late to stage an entrance, but Mrs. McClean sneaked us in during the soup period and no one noticed it.
It was just a little informal affair, just a handful, one hundred and sixty guests. Vice Presidents, and Cabinet members and Senators and Ambassadors and foreign Princesses and Congressmen, I guess I was about the only plain voter there. She was awful thoughtful Mrs. McClean was, every Waiter, or door opener, or Butler all had on some kind of Gold braid, so you couldent mistake one for a Congressman or Senator. Hiram Johnston from California fooled me for a minute, for across his full dress shirt waist, he had a big gold watch chain that the “Sons of the Daughters of 49” had given him, and I thought it was gold braid for a minute and just started to ask him for some more soup.2
Then I saw who it was and we had a fine chat. Mrs. Alice looked wonderful as usual, and Nick wore his hair brushed straight back.3
I had never seen him with it fixed that way. Alec Moore the Ambassador to Spain was there with a black tie wrapped around his neck, two or three times, and then had enough left to tie.4
Henry Clay’s old pictures shows one something like it, only Henry’s dident go round near as many times as Alec’s. General Pershing, who was retired on account of old age, he was rolled in in a wheel chair with his long grey beard completely covering his Civilian dress suit.5
He is getting pretty feeble, about two more wars will let him out. Tacna Arica aged him more than the war.6
He told me, “Will, war is a cinch. It’s Arbitration that’s Hell!”
The great dining hall is about a Drive and Mashie shot long. I was in the Prince of Wales place “York House” in London, but Lord that would be used as a Butler’s pantry in this house. I wanted to clear the tables and play Indoor polo. She showed the great German Movie, “Variety” after the dinner was over, with a big Orchestral accompnament and everything.7
These Waiters or Butlers behind you sho did work fast. I was just trying to remember whether Emily Post said “start from the outside and work in, or the inside and work out,” when all at once he would be gone with my food.8
I tried to be pleasant as I could to two ladies on each side, and while I was
trying to make up my mind which one to try a gag on, why this Butler would pounce on another untouched plate. He would serve you and then hide his head and count ten, and then holler, “All aint eat, holler I” and the he would grab for the plate before you could think to holler “I.” Finally everybody got to holding their plates but that dident do any good, he was standing up, and he had a better hold on them. It looked like when everybody got to wrestling with these waiters over their plate at once that it was a Taffy pulling instead of a dinner. What they did was, they just drove the food through your plate and if you dident get it on the run you were just one meal behind. I never wished for a rope as bad in my life. I would have roped off some meat. Or hogtied that waiter.
Now that’s all right for Society people, who all perhaps had a good lunch but she had a terrible lot of Politicians, (I mean a lot of terrible Politicians)
and Dinner don’t mean a thing to them but food. One of the Ladies told me it wasent that Mrs. McClean dident want us to have the food, but that she was in a hurry to get the dinner over and start the picture, as it was a very long one. Well it was one of the best dinners I ever saw. Next time I go there, I am not going if it’s over a one reel travelogue. There was one big queer looking Butler stood right behind me and dident do a thing, he seemed to be just watching me. There was a terrible lot of gold Plate and things on the table, I felt kinder humiliated, and sore at this till I got to looking around and I saw two standing behind every Politician, then I felt honored. It was not supposed to be strictly formal. By that they mean you are not to wear quite as good as you have. So that’s what I did. I had a tie at home that was two Xmas’ses newer than the one I wore that night. So I really wasent dressed right up to my capacity. Dawes after the dinner was walking around with his “Possum Belly” pipe, (if you don’t know what a Possum Belly is I will have to waste some ink on you.9
It’s the big old box thing that hangs down under the middle of all Circus cars, where they store things, they call em “Possum Bellys”) with his pipe looking like it was upside down, it looked like he might set the house on fire. He dident see it, but he was constantly followed by two firemen, made up as guests, but under their coats they had Hand Grenades. He introduced me to some Princess, who he said smoked a pipe, but we couldent get her to light up.
She couldent understand much English (especially Dawes or mine). She thought “Hell and Maria” was some new European Plan.
It was an awful nice party. There was so many there you wasent supposed to meet all of them. Saw my old friend Ex Aviator Mitchell.10
If he likes Aviation, he hasent missed much by being out of the army.
Sit by Mr. and Mrs. Dawes during the picture.11
She is just like you
sensible folks would like to find her. Plain pleasant and a good listener. She
is rather small just comes up to the bowl of the pipe.
This picture “Variety” gets just a little “Snorty” in spots, and Chas. commenced to feel that Mrs. Dawes wasent going to be able to weather the thing through. Sho enough when the gal in the picture starts to take off something, and it don’t look like they are going to “Cut,” Mrs. Dawes grabbed old Charley and his “Possum Belly” pipe and took to the open air with him. He sho did hate to jarr loose before he saw what was going to happen. He told me to tell Mrs. McClean goodnight for them and he hung over my chair a mighty long time telling it too. He might try to tell the Senate where to head in, but I will tell the world, he leaves that gavel at the Capitol. After I saw Senators Capper and Curtis and my old friend Gillette, and Pomerene and a host of others about like them I felt there was no reason for me to feel out of place.12
So I just went ahead and had a good time.
And after it was all over, I went down to Childs Restaurant and run into all the gang again.
1For Ned and Evalyn McLean see WA 210: N 9.
2For Hiram W. Johnson see WA 152: N 4.
3For Alice Roosevelt Longworth and Nicholas Longworth see WA 117: N 16.
4For Alexander P. Moore see WA 200: N 4.
5For John J. “Black Jack” Pershing see WA 122: n 5.
6For the Tacna-Arica conflict see WA 140: n 2 and WA 209: n 4.
7Variété, enormously popular German film of 1925 that depicted the romance and drama of vaudeville life.
8For Emily Post see WA 201: N 8.
9For Charles G. Dawes see WA 117: N 9.
10For Billy Mitchell see WA 117: N 10.
11Carol D. Blymer Dawes, wife of Charles Dawes and founder of an Illinois child adoption agency.
12Arthur Capper, Republican United States senator from Kansas from 1919 to 1949; owner and publisher of newspapers and agricultural journals in Kansas. Charles Curtis, Republican United States senator from Kansas from 1907 to 1913 and 1915 to 1929; vice president of the United States from 1929 to 1933.
Frederick Huntington Gillett, Republican United States senator from Massachusetts from 1925 to 1931. Atlee Pomerene, former Democratic lieutenant governor of Ohio and United States senator; appointed in 1924 as special counsel for the federal government to prosecute the Teapot Dome oil fraud cases.
WA213 January 9, 1927
WILL ROGERS HAS SOME NEW IDEAS
ABOUT THE GREAT AMERICAN DESERT
This is going to read kinder like one of my old friend Arthur Brisbane’s daily letters when he is crossing the great American Desert.1
Arthur always tells you in a marvelously interesting way what he is looking out of the window and seeing. Now I haven’t got as much imagination as Arthur, or my eyes are not as good, or something, for it won’t take me long to tell you what I am looking out of the window of this train and seeing. If I can’t describe it at this minute why I can wait till late this afternoon and look out and still be able to describe it. It will still be there no matter where you are. But you see thats what makes Mr. Brisbane such a high salaried man, is that he can see things. The difference in our salary is just the difference in how much more ahead he can see than I can. And the things he is able to see, that don’t show up at all for me.
I forgot to tell you just what the great American Desert was and where it starts in. It puts in a few miles east of Cleveland, Ohio, along about Ashtabula, Ohio. Then you keep passing through it right on through Toledo. The Wills Knight Blacksmith shop kinder breaks the monotony for a few hundred feet there, and then you get nothing but desert from there into Niles, Michigan, where the train stops to have them point out the birthplace of Ring Lardner.2
There is a giant “Yucca” tree that marks the spot. They water it with gin to keep it alive. Then you don’t hit much vegetation till you get to Gary, Indiana. That is the town that is responsible for the optimistic speeches of Judge Gary.3
Gary and Bethlehem, Pa., have been responsible for two set speeches that have gone through and stood the gaff of a million banquets, as follows: “From where I sit and from my observation and knowledge the coming year should be the most prosperous that we have ever encountered.”
If somebody invents something that is cheaper than steel and Steel ever has a slump, why there is going to be two of the most useless after dinner speeches on the market that was ever unleashed.
Then she is barren again after you get out of this optimism till you hit Chicago. You can tell before you get to it. You will hear the shooting.
Pull down your blinds and turn on your ventilators. You will have to change trains there, as no train has ever made up its mind to go through there. The first railroad that ever does take you through there without a change I would rather have stock in it than in General Motors. There is no more reason why a person in a hurry to get from one end of our continent to the other should have to change cars in Chicago than there is in Rockford, Ill. The Santa Fe has a new train on now that cuts the time down. You leave Chicago in the night. You can’t see, and you don’t miss much till the next morning.
Out on the banks of the Kaw there is Kansas City. Just a western town set right up on some hills. They have a new Depot in place of the old Grip Exchange they used to have down in the holler there. Kansas City is a kind of a tradin’ post for Oklahoma, and all that part of Kansas that has anything to trade. If Jim Reed is not there when you go through there is no use stopping.4
But if he is in the village that day, go and ask him what he thinks of the Government as it is operated today, and it will be well worth your time to stay over a day and listen to it. That’s where the “covered wagon” started from and the reason they had it covered was so the people inside the wagons couldn’t see where they were going. Why if they had been able to have looked out they would have jumped out before they got half way across Kansas. The next sign of any kind of habitation in any way after you leave the Kaw, is, in a few hours you look out of the window and you will see an old fellow setting around a printing press under the shade of a Juniper tree. Well, that is William Randolph White, and he is trying to get out the Emporia Gazette.5
It’s what the Arizona Kicker used to be. It’s pretty baren around there outside of a school they have there that they call “normal.” But I doubt if it is.
Well, there just ain’t nothing unless you look off to the south where you can just see the fertile vegetation of Oklahoma. Things grow just about up to where the line of Kansas starts in. We kept a-going. Just sage brush, and cactus and Mesquite bushes.
On Down into New Mexico to where a fellow had some Navajo Blankets to sell. It was called Albuquerque. This little fellow’s name that run the little store there was Fred Harvey.6
Right along there about this little section house of Albuquerque why we commenced to run out of the desert and gradually things began to get green and pretty, and by the time we got to another place where there was a switch where you passed trains, things was just a booming from a vegetation standpoint. You are out of the desert. The switch was called Gallup. Then on across Arizona. Arizona is the only state that has Two Senators to one Congressman. What a lucky thing for us they don’t all have two Senators to one Congressman! Just think if 90 can’t ever agree, what would a thousand do? They are doing a lot of argument over who is going to dam up the Colorado river.
We have lived since 1492 without it being dammed, but it looks like it needs damming. Los Angeles hasn’t got enough water for movie people’s swimming pools, and if we are to have “Clean Pictures” why this dam is almost necessary. Will Hayes is for it, and they have got to give him what he wants or he won’t manage their campaign in ’28.7
Well, the trip from then on across Arizona and east of Los Angeles was just one Oasis after another.
You can just throw anything out and it will grow there. I like Arizona. She is a real cattle country, and the old big stock pens along the railroad sure looks good. Europeans all left the main line to go see the Grand Canyon, but Americans went right on out to Long Beach. They are waiting till they save enough to go to Europe and really see something worthwhile.
But it’s a great trip out here and everybody should take it. As I say, after you get through that desert and uninteresting part from Astabula to just west of Dodge City. I would like to give this story a real Brisbane touch and I believe I can do it, and be in keeping with my own policy. Here I have been on this train for days, and I should have been able to fly from New York out there in two days. I wish we could take all our Government to Europe, including the President, the Senate and Congress and just show them for a minute what the rest of the world is doing. We are always yapping about being in such a hurry in this Country and it takes us longer to get anywhere than anybody in the world. I am in favor of making Arthur Brisbane Secretary of Aviation. Coolidge is in favor of economy in all our various defense. If we have a war he will vote to “Have a cheap war.”
1For Arthur Brisbane seeWA 151: N 2.
2Willys-Overland Automobile Company, makers of the Knight sleeve-valved car, had operated a factory in Toledo, Ohio, since 1908. For Ring Lardner see WA 167: N 1.
3For Elbert H. Gary see WA 153: N 2.
4For James A. Reed see WA 151:N 6.
5For William Allen White see WA 172: N 4. Rogers often referred to him as Randolph for fellow publisher William Randolph Hearst (see WA 114: N 5).
A teachers’ college was established at Emporia, Kansas, in 1882. It later was named Emporia State University.
6Frederick Henry “Fred” Harvey, American restaurateur who in 1876 opened the first of several rest and eating stops along railroad routes in the West. His establishments, known as “Harvey Houses,” were noted for good food, clean rooms, and excellent service.
7For Will H. Hays see WA 117: N 3.
WA214 January 16, 1927
BIG FLYING AT CLOVER FIELD
Now I haven’t said anything here lately in the way of advice I have just kinder been waiting for Washington to see some stuff for themselves.
But it looks like they are all so busy counting the casualties from “Old Crow” made by the U. S. Distillaries or is Smith going to be allowed to sit down, stand up, or go home, or make Nicaraguan elections pure like ours, and dozens of minor things like those.1
Now I am just back from California and in my official capacity as Mayor I naturally had a chance to look into all our resources in and around Beverley Hills.2
Now the Government has adjoining the outskirts of my municipality what they refer to as an Aviation field. It is a field. It’s a good field. It’s called “Clover” Aviation field.
There is no Clover on it, neither is there any Aviation. But there is plenty of room for both. If the Army is not going to put any Aviation on it I personally
will furnish some Clover for it. For I dont want it to be misnamed any more than it has to be. It’s situated near Santa Monica. It’s where the “Round the World Fliers” took off from.3
But we don’t want to limit it to that exclusively. We would welcome some local flying, somebody that maby wasn’t going any further off than Hollywood. We just want enough activity there so that we won’t be called a liar when we refer to it as an “Aviation Field.” Now in the Government “Fiction” records this is what this field is supposed to house. “The 322 persuit group, consisting of the following units, 476th, 477th, 478th and 479th Persuit Squadron, the 385th Service Squadron and a headquarters Detachment.” Now in a Presidential message that would be the statistics of the preparedness of this particular field. Now here is the funny part about it that will fool you. This whole thing, all these numbers and different detachments, are offered and manned up to their real strength. There is between 500 and 600 men all in the Air Corps Reserve that are there to get training at this field. More than in any other area in America. Conditions are more suited to such training. These Officers are all from the war and cost the Government $15,000 a man to train, up to the time they got their Commissions, and they received as much since then, so you see they represent an investment to the Government of at least $10,000,000.
Well I had heard about the field, and I had heard about the men, so as it was right across the canyon from me and I had never seen any of them flying from where I was. I just saddled up an old plug, the other afternoon and rode over. I thought maby they was doing some invisible flying that I couldn’t see from over my way. I saw some big old “Hangars” or hay barn looking things. I thought well they got them full of Airoplanes. I rode up and peeped in. I couldn’t see even an old broken propeller. Here was a beautiful field, 600 trained men, and if you think this is comedy that I am going to tell you you are cuckoo. It was so sad it wasn’t even funny. Six old time Army planes, 6 mind you, of the type we trained the boys in before we went into the war. Here was 600 men offering to give their time and risk their lives, (WITHOUT PAY MIND YOU) and here is what they have to do it in.
Made in 1917, ten years old. Talk about flying them, why there wasn’t enough of them for some of the boys to even see. It figures out that if each one of these 600 reserve Flying Corps wanted to kinder keep his hand in, it would come around to him to fly 15 minutes every month. That is if none of the planes were ever out of order, and they changed flyers in the air, when your 15 minutes was up why you jumped out and another man jumped up in the air and took the wheel. Of course if say three of these old Planes was to die of old age, and leave you a flying strength of only 50% why then you would only get 7 and 1/2 minutes or about an hour and twenty minutes a year, that is in case all three planes keep going night and day 365 days in the year, to say nothing about how many would lose out on leap year. Now an hour a year is not what you would designate as intensive training. Of course it gives these men a chance to do something else on the side, their mind is not exactly taken up entirely with Aviation.
But don’t go and sit down and start to reconcile yourself with the fact that you are being protected on our west coast by these 600 men all trying to get into three planes at ones. I don’t want to be an “alarmist” but you haven’t got near that much protection. Father Gloom is knocking on your door with the following New Year’s greeting. There is a little minor you hadent given any thought to after you felt so safe after knowing that we had the 6 planes and we had the men. I bet you couldn’t think of what it was in a year’s guesses. IT’S THE OIL. The Government lays out so much oil for each Area for these reserve Officers training, regardless of the number of men there, in one area there is only nine men, yet they give them just as much Oil as they give these 600. It looks like they are kinder sore at this area because so many of them got back alive. So there is only Oil enough to operate for one third of the time, even if they only fly one third of the time. So the month when it comes your time to fly your seven minutes, why you get out there and you will find everybody waiting till they get in a tank load of gas from Washington. So the gas shortage cuts your flying time down to 2 and 3/4 minutes per month. So you are not getting very far on your $25,000 that you invested in the man when you originally started into the Aviation business. Mr. Coolidge on account of his economy plan has suggested that they fly as high as they can on what little gas they have, and then coast down. In that way they get twice the amount of distance out of the same amount of gas. Now of course this old “Economy” is a good slogan.
It’s a great horse to ride. But look out you don’t ride it in the wrong direction. If something happens to us right now and it comes to a show down the shape we are in with our Army, Navy and Aviation. There would be such a howl, Coolidge would have a tough time not being impeached.
Never mind appropriating all this money for River and Harbor Bills to get the Rivers to meet the Oceans. Say, the Rivers will meet the Oceans without any appropriations from Congress. The Almighty saw to that. If you got anything to sell throw it on a flat boat and start it down the river; it will get to the sea without any locks and Channels. We don’t want boats coming up the river. Raise what you want up there, so you won’t have to ship anything up. We better start doing something about our defense. We are not going to be lucky enough to fight Nicarauga forever. Build all we can and then take care of nothing but our own business, and we will never have to use it. Tunney hasn’t been insulted since September.4
If you think preparedness don’t give you prestige look at Japan. We are afraid to look at them cross-eyed now for fear we will hurt their “Honor.” Before they got a Navy neither them, nor us, knew they had any honor. It ain’t your Honor that is respected among Nations it’s your strength. Japan or England either would have just as much honor without any Navy at all, but the Navy helps to remind you of it.
Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, and half a dozen other Countries got just as much Honor as England, France, or Japan but you dont see them with a permanent seat on the League of Nations. The difference is the Navy.
All we got to go by is History, and History dont record that “Economy” ever won a war. So I believe I would have my money somewhere else even if I had to work a little shorter handed, around the Capitol there.
1For Frank B. Smith see WA 206: N 4.
2Rogers was “elected” mayor of Beverly Hills in late 1926. A change in state law forced him to relinquish the post in August 1927.
3Four United States Army planes, each with a four-man crew, completed the first around-the-world flight in 1924, accomplishing the feat in five months and twenty-two days.
4For Gene Tunney see WA 166: N 14.
WA215 January 23, 1927
BASEBALL’S BIG TRIAL
I was passing through Chicago a short time ago and had to spend the day there on my way back east to try and hornswoggle the easterners out of enough to make some payments on Beverley Hills Real Estate and Claremore acreage. I had read that there was to be a baseball investigation in Judge Landis’ office that day.1
I went up there and as it wasent billed to start for an hour or so I went in and had a private chat for over an hour with the Judge. We had met and spoken togeather at several dinners in the good old free eats days in N. Y. He seemed very anxious to know what I had heard of the feeling in regard to all the baseball talk had been. I think he tries to get views from all he talks to and see what the fans are thinking. He explained to me that lots of people had wondered why a thing like this had to be dragged out after it had happened 10 years ago. He said, “It’s this eternal underground whispering and inferences. Some one is always bringing it up, and as it has come to a head why there is nothing left for me to do but have an investigation and see just what the truth is.”
He said that he had no choice in the matter, that he was paid and expected to keep the game clean and above board and he certainly wanted to prove just where it stood. He is a very likeable forceful old character, got a world of magnetism and I guess as fearless as they make ’em.
Well, it was a kind of a funny feeling to me sitting there, just waiting for One Thirty to come, when Swede Risberg, the old Chicago shortstop, was to come in and tell a story that was supposed to brand both Chicago and the Detroit teams of 1917 as nothing more than crooks.2
Well, I had known Risberg for years. I had known Chick Gandil, and I had known personally for years almost every player that he was supposed to brand as dishonest.3
Detroit was one of the first ball teams I ever become well acquainted with. I was a friend of Hughey Jennings, and Ty Cobb and have sit on the bench during games (when we knew the Umpire well and could get away with it, as you are not allowed too).4
I felt the hour creeping on and I went out of the Judge’s private room where the investigation was to be held, and went out in the anti room. Some of the boys were gathering in. Here was men that I haden’t seen in years. Some now out of the big Leagues, and I had lost track of them; some of them out of baseball entirely.
Here they were 10 years after, being put on trial for their honor and reputation. There was a few laughs and cheerful greetings, but there was too much at stake, there was too much drama in it to be very humorous. Ty Cobb come in (outside of Speaker perhaps one of my best personal friends in baseball.)5
Tris had traveled with me through Texas last year when I was stumping his state for my election as Mayor of Beverley Hills. He grabbed my hand and he said “Will, ain’t this terrible? Here I have given over 20 years of the best part of my life to a game that I love next to my own family, and now I am suspicioned as being a crook!”
It was in this crowded little anti room that he said it, with dozens in listening distance that heard it, and tears come into his eyes. He didn’t try
to hide ’em, and he dident care who heard him or seen him, and they dident seem out of place, because they were just under the eyelids of every ball player in that room. Right by us stood Eddie Collins, as high a type of man as ever graced any business in the world.6
Kid Gleason, old and grizzled, who had given an entire lifetime to the game, the scrappiest ball player that
ever pulled on a baseball glove; Big Ed Walsh who did more for years and years to keep Chicago’s name in decent print than all the Murders and crooks have to keep its doings in the obituary column.7
He was called by mistake. All the sporting writers were there that had sit for years and watched these same boys play ball day after day, traveled with ’em on the road. Now they were there to go in and instead of sending back a box score reporting the skill and daring pleasure and amusement that they were giving thousands of people that day, they were to wire to their papers that these boys were being branded as crooks and had been cheating the people and had not been giving fair measure for their admission price.
Finally we all crowded into Landis’s office, all that could get in. Risberg had come and was ready to repeat his story. Here he was facing men that he knew every one of them, he had played with and against them for years, yet there was no sign of recognition. He told his story he told it exactly as it had been reported he would tell it. The whole thing only involved one thing. He claimed they gave the Detroit pitchers a purse for letting Chicago beat them four games. The 34 other men who testified claimed that they gave it for the good work that Detroit Pitchers did against Boston (who was Chicago’s nearest competitor). Risberg and Gandil had been thrown out of baseball. Chicago did win the four games and also the purse was raised and paid. Now, with a little exageration, and the proof that the money was given, you can easily see that Risberg harboring this hatred against the game that had denied him his livelihood, for perhaps what he thought was unjust or too severe a penalty, this had been eating at his heart all these years and in a moment of thoughtlessness made the remark in his home town that he “knew a real scandal.” Well there happened to be a reporter there in the town (Rochester, Minn.) for treatment, and he heard this, and wrote to his paper about it, and they called Risberg about it, and he repeated the story.
I dont think he meant when he made the original remark that he would ever have to tell the story. But when he was called on it, he went through and stuck to it. I dont think it was as deliberate as some would think. It was just that old bottled up hate against everything that made him think he hadent had a square deal in the game, and he exagerated this incident. I really believe that he would give anything now if it had never come up at all.
Now I know that I am supposed to report some comedy with things that come along under my observation. Well I dident see any. It wasent funny to see thirty-four men that I had known personally and that had given from 10 to 20 years of healthful amusement and recreation to millions, be on trial practically for their lives. There was a few laughs come up now and again in the testimony. But they were mighty hollow ones. You never thought you would live to see the day that Eddie Collins, as game a fighter as ever lived, would break. But I want to tell you the most dramatic moment I ever saw in either court room or stage was when he even produced his check book to show the stub where he had given Gandil the money. He threw it on Landis desk and said, “There is where I payed the money and any man that says I did it for a thrown ball game, or that I ever knowingly participated in a crooked game in my life is a G_ _ D_ _ _ L_ _ _ !” And he broke so that if they hadent been swear words, they were the only ones that would have come out. It was from the heart, so the Judge dident even admonish him for it.
Here they were most of them practically finishing their baseball careers and Lord knows its hard enough for an athlete to adapt himself to some other business, their reputations questioned just when they needed them most. Most all of them with families, some with almost grown up children. They wasent defending themselves personally. It was their wives and children.
Judge Landis give the only decision he could give in the case. It was just and fair. The whole thing will do good and not harm. Baseball fans know these men are not crooked. They give their money’s worth too much every day to be doing something crooked. Baseball is the greatest game in the world, for the greatest number of people. And it’s the least crooked sport ever invented. And I am going to go to it, and believe in it, and admire the type of men that play it, till I get so old that my whiskers will get caught in the turnstiles.
1Kenesaw Mountain Landis, former United States federal judge who served as Major League Baseball commissioner from 1920 until his death in 1944. Landis held hearings on January 5 to investigate charges that games in 1917 between the Chicago White Sox and the Detroit Tigers had been “fixed.”
2Charles August “Swede” Risberg, infielder for the Chicago White Sox from 1917 to 1920. One of the eight players on the Chicago team barred from baseball following the “Black Sox” scandal on 1919, Risberg later charged that the Detroit Tigers “threw” games to the Chicago White Sox in 1917.
3Charles Arnold “Chick” Gandil, first baseman who began his major league career in 1910 with the Chicago White Sox. He was one of the “ringleaders” of the Black Sox scandal of 1919.
4Hugh Ambrose “Hughie” Jennings, shortstop who was a member of the fabled Baltimore Orioles in the 1890s; manager of the Detroit Tigers from 1907 to 1920; named to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1945. Tyrus Raymond “Ty” Cobb, star outfielder and base stealer for the Detroit Tigers from 1905 to 1926; player-manager of the Tigers from 1921 to 1926. One of the all-time great players of the game, Cobb was mysteriously released by the Tigers in 1926. A former pitcher made accusations against Cobb and Tris Speaker in 1926 involving alleged betting and game fixing, but Judge Landis cleared both stars. Cobb was named to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936.
5Tristram E. “Tris” Speaker, outfielder who starred with the Boston Red Sox from 1907 to 1915 and the Cleveland Indians from 1916 to 1926; player-manager of the Indians from 1919 to 1926; elevated to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1937.
6Edward Trowbridge “Eddie” Collins, Sr., second baseman who played for the Philadelphia Athletics from 1906 to 1914, the Chicago White Sox from 1915 to 1926, and the Athletics again from 1927 to 1930; player-manager of the White Sox from 1925 to 1926; inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939.
7William J. “Kid” Gleason, early-day professional baseball player who starred at second base for several major league teams between 1888 and his retirement in 1912. Edward Augustine “Big Ed” Walsh, hard-throwing pitcher who played for the Chicago White Sox from 1904 to 1906 and the Boston Braves in 1917; named to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1946.
WA216 January 30, 1927
HOW A MURDER SHOULD BE ADVERTISED
All I know is just what I read in the papers and what I see as I go from municipality to municipality instructing them on how a model City should be run. I have been called into consultation all over the land by various brother Mayors to advise. Take Detroit for instance. Chicago has been receiving tremendous amounts of advertising on their crime waves, while Detroit was having just as many casualties and not getting one tenth the publicity out of it. They were becoming discouraged.
They said to me, “What’s the use of having all these robberies, and killings? No one ever reads about them. Chicago seems to be the only place most people think that can put on a murder. They get more national recognition out of one retail shooting than we can out of the same thing done wholesale.” Well, I had to tell them the reason. Here was a town that had been so anxious to advertise the amount of motor cars that was made there, that you never thought of it as any thing else than a mere grist mill grinding out things for installments.
Chicago used to be the same way. When you thought of them you thought of nothing but the stock yards. When you thought of Chicago you thought of a dead cow, or a stuck pig, and when you think of Detroit it’s of Henry Ford’s Incubator, and a stuck customer. Chicago gradually lived down and become accustomed to odor when the wind was from the yards, and that is what Detroit will have to do, is to quit thinking that gasoline fumes is their sole attraction. It’s no credit to manufacture a Motor car now.
There is so many towns doing it that it’s almost a disgrace. So quit yapping
about your production and start talking about your destruction. One car being destroyed is 20 times of more interest to readers than a thousand cars being made. Deaths get twice the notice that births do in papers. Nobody wants to know who was born, but everybody is anxious to know who dies, and the better known they are the more anxious they are to read about their death.
How many cars you made, and how much your population increased, comes under the heading of nothing but statistics, and nobody is interested in numbers. They are dull reading. Pick out one of your good murders that you are going to have and concentrate on it. Don’t lump ’em all together in the news every day. Don’t pick too complicated a one, or the people won’t be able to understand it.
It’s best not to have a woman do the murdering. A case like that holds for a little while, but when it comes to a trial it loses interest, for the people
want to see a case where there is some chance of conviction. Get some Church member mixed up in it if possible, and you wont have much trouble along that line. Have a pretty good dash of scandal. Make your scandal look like human interest. Get the tabloids on it, the way to do that is have plenty of pictures ready in all kinds of poses before the murder takes place. Now you can take a murder like that and build it up properly and make it look like something.
Course, Machine Guns have helped Chicago, the novelty of the weapon has as much to do with it as the prominence of the ones annihilated.
Detroit is still shooting with pistols. Get some Airoplanes going, and drop some bombs from the air by one Gang onto another. Then you will have it on Chicago. This is a day, and time of progress, and new things. All this is what I told the Mayor, and you just notice from now on if you don't see an improvement in publicity with Detroit’s crime. They won’t have to increase it. It’s just getting it known, that’s what they need.
While I was there in Detroit I went into the room where they was holding the Ford Stockholders case. That’s the Mellon versus Couzins case.1
It’s the first time in our history when two of our big rich men have fell out enough to try and make it cost each other money. Our rich men have been sore at each other in lots of instances before, and they might want to shoot each other personally, but they never try to do each other financial harm.
Well neither one of them have paid enough tax and the other one knows it, so Andy says Jim didn’t dig up enough taxes when he sold out his Ford stock, (when he thought everybody already had one, and had no idea they would buy another). Well, Jim got hold of some old tax records himself, and he saw Andy and charged off too much for “depreciation” when there was nothing had depreciated but his taxes. While Jim didn’t know anything about Illuminum, he did have some idea of the profits in tin, and so he naturally was suspicious of Andy and his Illuminum Trust. He knew Illuminum was light, but he knew it wasn’t light as its taxes.
If the Government gets anything out of either one of them we will just be that much ahead. If Jim gets nicked for the $29 million he will just be about sore enough to turn Democrat. And how he will cuss himself for selling out! Ford hadn’t started in to making money when they got out, he had only made a few sample cars. So if Jim has to pay that much more to the Government, it will be as much as your life to pass him in a Ford car, for it will show that he really dident sell his interest to Ford, he just give it to the Government. They are fighting right on the edge of the warf and one says if I go in you go in too, so for once in our lives it looks like the Government might accidentally collect. But Lord, I doubt it. I was in the Court room and who do you think I found? My old Democratic Presidential rival, John W. Davis.2
Well, he is just as nice, and friendly, and jolly as usual. He and the three Judges and young Mr. Gregg, and another Mr. Davies (used to be Federal Trade Commissioner) and enough other Lawyers to fill 20 brief cases, they all come down to my show that night in return for me having visited theirs.3
I was there trying to instruct the Proletariots on the economic condition of the entire Commonwealth, including the farmers.
This young fellow Gregg is only 28, and Mellon is backing him to keep them from proving that Illuminum was not valued too low when Andy sent in his returns. Gregg is working really for the Government, but if he wins the case I can see him leaving us. John W. Davis is on the Couzins side. He has a Dempsey contract, one million win, lose, or draw.4
This one case will buy him four White Houses, two Mayflowers, and a fishing Lodge in New York state. We had quite a laugh togeather on what he would have had to live on had he been elected President. And he is the fellow that some Democrats thought was not competent enough. Well its just thoughts like those that keep ’em Democrats. He can get more for losing a case than any other Democrat can get for winning one.
Charles Evan Hughes is in this case too, so that will give you an idea right there that advice is not being handed out “gratis.”5
One good thing
about this case the Government can’t entirely lose, for these Lawyers income
taxes next year from this one case alone is going to give us enough to help settle another South American election. These Ex-Shareholders are trying to claim that Henry Ford “Knew something when he bought them out.” Say, listen, Henry Ford knew something BEFORE, DURING, AND AFTER, he bought them out! If that’s all they got to prove I could take his bank balance and show you that. But it sure was interesting to see this high price talent work. They don’t do it themselves, they have Assistants that do everything for them but collect the fee, and it’s so big it’s not spoken of as a fee; it’s a “Honorium.” It just showed me what a couple of defeated Presidential Candidates can do, with hard work, perseverance, and taking advantage of their opportunities. I tell you its almost worth a story in the American Magazine. It’s really more of an endorsement to be defeated than to be elected.
1For Andrew W. Mellon see WA 124: N 5. The federal government brought suit in 1926 against James Couzens (see WA 124: N 5) and other original stockholders of the Ford Motor Company to compel payment of back taxes.
2For John W. Davis see WA 122: N 2.
3Alexander White Gregg, United States treasury agent in charge of the government’s income tax suit against the original stockholders of the Ford Motor Company. Joseph Edward Davis, former chairman of the Federal Trade Commission who served as ambassador to Russia and Belgium in the 1930s.
4For Jack Dempsey see WA 134: N 1.
5For Charles Evan Hughes see WA 156: N 5.
WA217 February 6, 1927
TWO BULLS IN A CHINA SHOP
All I know is just what I read in the papers, and as there has been nothing in the papers for the past week but “Peaches” and “Grandpap” Browning, I am a going to have pretty rough sledding digging out something to tell you about.1
The Judge of the case could have held it in private and all that muck would have been spared the reading public, but he decided to go ahead and hold it, so everybody got just what they were looking for, Publicity. So if they are looking for publicity they sure are not going to get any from me. Personally I think the old man Papanut and old Lady Heenan ought to be made to live together.2
That would get even with both of them.
I am going to write about something else, even if I have to resort to such uninteresting subjects now as China, Nicarauga, or Mexico. China! Those poor people! I never felt as sorry for anyone in my life as I do for them. Here they are, they have never bothered anyone in their whole lives.
They have lived within their own boundaries, never invaded anyone else’s domains, worked hard, got little pay for it, had no pleasures in life, learned
us about two thirds of the useful things we do, and now they want to have a Civil War. Now, we had one and nobody butted in and told us we couldn’t have it. China didn’t send Gunboats up our Mississippi river to protect their laundries at Memphis or St. Louis, or New Orleans. They let us go ahead and fight. If a package of dirty shirts got pierced by a bullet, and it made button holes in the wrong place the poor Chinaman had to make it good himself. His Country didn’t send warships to protect the washboard. If they rendered up his flat irons into cannon balls and heaved ’em at each other, China didn’t demand restitution.
No sir, China told them if you can’t watch your own ironing board and wash tub, you better stay at home. They told them, “You are going there, why? Because you can make more money. Well, take the extra money you make and pay for your own protection.” Now the Chinese I bet you have had about more people of their race killed innocently, and have stood for more insults and property damage in all foreign countries than any other race. But they have never let a squeal out of them about it. Yet every other nation in the world has always took upon themselves some particular claim to help run China. Every Nation in the world have their own land, and every other Nation recognizes it. But China, everybody look on theirs as public domain.
England holds one of their towns. Now what right has England to hold one of their Towns any more than China has to make a Laundry out of Buckingham Palace? Japan used to have these other Nations tell them what to do too. Then they went out and got them a Navy, and now England and France and America take off their coats and spread ’em down for Japan to walk on. Japan is CIVILIZED now. THEY HAVE A NAVY. We don’t send any more Missionaries there now. Any Nation is a heathern that ain’t strong enough to punch you in the jaw.
Why, the Chinese as a race have forgot more honesty, and gentlemanliness than we will ever know if we live another Century. If a Bank fails in China they behead the men at the head of it that was responsible. If one fails over here, we write the men up in the Magazines, as how “they started poor, worked hard, took advantage of their opportunities, (and Depositors) and today they are rated as ‘up in the millions.’”
If we beheaded all of ours that were responsible for failures, we wouldn’t have enough people left to bury the heads. Us and England, even collect their customs for them. We can’t trust them with their own money.
Can you imagine having charge of another Countries’ customs? We said China must maintain the “Open Door” Policy. What they meant by the open door is everybody could come in and do what they wanted but China. Suppose China wanted to have a “Moral Turpitude” Clause in their immigration laws. Why, I doubt if even our Ambassadors could get in!
It’s a cinch a Marine couldn’t get by that test, and if he could he wouldn’t be much of a Marine. You just as well not land him. So poor old China wants to have their Civil war. But no, they can’t do it; it would interfere with British, and Our trade. We can’t allow them to do anything that would interfere in any way with commerce.
England had a strike that stopped every wheel of Industry and commerce for weeks. Did China tell them they couldn’t do it? Maby China had boats at Liverpool’s docks waiting to unload. But do you suppose they could even suggest anything about their business being hurt? The prize two old “Busybodys” of the world is England and America. If Dempsey and Tunney exercised their physical superiority as much as England and America do their Naval superiority, why they would be walking along punching guys in the nose every five minutes, or at least telling them what to do.3
Even Brazil I see has a Gunboat over there “protecting their Interest.” Now what could their interest be? China don’t eat nuts, and don’t drink Coffee.
Portugal has a Gunboat there. They are doing it for the ad, just to let people
know that they have a Gunboat. Can you imagine Portugal trying to stabilize the Government of China? When I was in Madrid, Spain, last summer, Portugal had three Revolutions, and three different Presidents, all in 24 hours. They only worked eight hour shifts.
We have Marines in China and none in Herrin, Illinois.
We haven’t even got a Missionary in Herrin.
Between our Missionaries and our Oil men we are just about in wrong all over the world. Mr. Coolidge says if China ever gets a stable Government that we will give them some new Treaties, admitting right there that we must have been wrong with the old ones. How is any Nation capable of judging when another Nation has a Stable Government. Boy, they are all Cuckoo! But poor old China, they just ain’t going to allow them to have a nice little private war of their own. No, we must get in it.
1For Peaches and Edward Browning see WA 206: N 2.
2Carolyn Heenan, mother of Peaches Browning. During the Browning divorce trial, Heenan admitted in court that Edward Browning had paid her an allowance from the day of the wedding until the couple’s separation.
3For Jack Dempsey see WA 134: N 1; for Gene Tunney see WA 166: N 14.
WA218 February 13, 1927
WHEN JEFFERSON OUTSMARTED
THE FATHER OF HIS COUNTRY
Today you all are going to get a little History. We have just about been fed up on Spoiled Peaches, Cuckoo Daddys, Aimees, Nicarauga, Mexico, China, Prohibition, Smith’s chances for the nomination, and will Calvin go to the post in ’28.1
We hear all those things all the time.
What me and my little band of readers got to do is get out and learn something. Now what can be better to learn about than the world’s greatest natural wonders? There is supposed to be seven great natural wonders of the world, and the Natural Bridge in Virginia is one of them. Did you ever see it? No! If it had been in Europe you would have traveled across a half dozen little E flat countries and put up with all kinds of inconveniences, bum hotels, poor roads, feel like a bunch of sheep while being herded around looking at it, tipped everybody from the king of the Country it’s in down to the fellow that told you where it was. Americans go prowling around over in Europe looking for old things. Well this Bridge is not just exactly what I would refer to as recent. It goes back as far as George Washington’s time, and that is as far as any American ought to care to go.
George was a Surveyor in his younger days. That’s where the Apple tree or Apple Sauce story started. Surveyors always carry hatchets to drive their stakes, and that is how he come to have a Tomahawk in his possession when approached by his father. He was a good Surveyor. He took the exact measure of the British, and surveyed himself out about the most valuable piece of land in America at that time, Mount Vernon. George not only could tell the truth but he could tell land values. Well this Natural Bridge it seems that George found it. I don’t hardly know how he could miss it, for it’s the only way you can get from one end of Virginia to the other, is to pass over it. Still you can pass over it and never know it. That’s what the British had been doing for years. Of course the British hadn’t noticed it. They didn’t think there was any Bridge but London Bridge. They couldn’t possibly figure out how we could have one. But the man who was to become later the Father of his Country, was not only a prolific Father but he was some Bridge discoverer. He knew a Bridge when he passed over one.
Well, he went down right away and climed up the side and put his Initials on it. That was not as some think just to perpetuate his initials. It was to be his brand, and it was to claim ownership of the bridge. He was for claiming it and putting a “Toll House” on top of it, and draw people’s attention that there was a bridge there. George was not only a Soldier and a Gentleman, but he was a Business man.
Now, if George did put his initials where they are on that bridge now, I want to be the first one to claim for him in History that he was also an Acrobat.
Either that or a second story man. But George didn’t get the Bridge.
King George II of England had foolishly taken in too much territory with some of his barnstorming English settlers. He saw he was going to have some trouble holding on to it, so he started out on a little Fall-Doheny plan.2
King George tryed to bribe Thomas Jefferson with the bridge. He figured “Jefferson is a Democrat, and this Bridge is south of the Mason and Dixon line and in order to swing the Democratic vote over to me, King George, I better get to this fellow Jefferson.”
Shows you how little those Kings know. He should have seen that Washington was the fellow he had to lick. If he had given the Bridge to Washington, why Washington might have let him keep the rest of the Country, because George was just crazy about Bridges, and when he couldn’t find one, he would have his picture taken crossing in a boat. This deed that King George give to Jefferson was dated on July 5th, 1774, and calls for 157 acres worth of Bridge. July the fifth; that was the next day after the fourth of July. Jefferson was just coming home from the fourth of July celebration at Roanoke and going back to Lexington when the King sent him the deed.
History of no kind ever tells that Jefferson ever paid for it, so it looks like
there was a little undercover stuff pulled somewhere. It’s funny they won’t seat Smith and Vare, and they go ahead and let Jefferson in.3
This Jefferson seemed to be the only Democrat in History with any kind of business ability.
Even Washington, the Republican, didn’t have much on Thomas in grabbing off choice lots and Villa plots. He grabbed him off a knoll overlooking Washington that had great Sub-Division possibilities. And when he drew up the Constitution and By Laws of these United States he didn’t say a word about giving back this 157 acres worth of Bridge. He said America should be FREE, but he put a high fence around the Bridge and charged you to get in it. You could drive over it for nothing, but you couldn’t see it without you paid, unless you run off of it.
George’s name is still on the Bridge, but Thomas’s name is on the deed. That is one case where the Democrat outwitted the Republican. Washington got the advertising with the name. But Jefferson collected the Toll.
It was held in the Jefferson Estate up to a few years ago. But like all things
you leave to relatives, they get rid of them. You are better off if you leave
’em to outsiders. It’s the only one of the Wonders of the World that is practical.
A big Highway goes right over it. Niagra is not much good to go over, and the Grand Canyon is only good for the novelty of people that have never road a mule down hill on a trail before. This Bridge is the only one ever built with no graft connected with the construction.
When you go there be sure and get an old Darky named “Uncle Jackson” to show it to you. The South has produced three great Jacksons, Stonewall, Hickory, and “Natural Bridge” Jackson. He held the ladder while Washington carved his initials. Any Character in History of the Bible he will show to you. If you don’t see it, it’s your own fault. He says they are all up there in the shapes and colors of the rocks. I had a little trouble seeing “Daniel entering the Lions Den,” for Daniel and the Lion had not entered yet. But “Lots wife turning around and turning to Salt,” that was so plain I could taste the salt. There was an Eagle that I mistook for a Buzzard, that annoyed Jackson quite a little. But it’s all there and if there is no other way of getting Americans to visit it, we will claim Peaches met Daddy there.
1For Peaches Browning see WA 206: N 2; for Aimee Semple McPherson see WA 206: N 1; for Al Smith see WA 121: N 1.
2For Albert B. Fall and E. L. Dohney see WA 211: N 11.
3For Frank B. Smith and William Vare see WA 206: N 4.
WA219 February 20, 1927
ROGERS GETS SIX SHINY DIMES
FROM OIL KING
Well, all my life I have read and heard about John D. Rockefeller, and from all the various things we used to read about him, why naturally I think everybody in the World has wondered just what kind of an old codger he is.1
Well, the other night I was playing at Daytona Beach and he come to my English Language Assassination with Mrs. John D. Jr., whom I had met in New York and sit next to at a luncheon of the Society for Political Education.2
I had just instructed them. I suppose Babe Ruth and Jackie Coogan will be the next ones to address them.3
Well, young Mrs. John D. said that she bet he would be to my uplift talk when I got to Daytona. She said he had a very keen sense of humor and he would get all my alleged jokes.
Well, sure enough he was there, and he asked me to have breakfast with him the next morning at eight o’clock.
Mrs. John D. Jr. didn’t overestimate him a bit.
He sat down in about the eighth row and he didn’t “Muff” a single one. He got everything. Even when I said “We should stay out of Mexico, where he has all the oil,” why he applauded. The bathing in Russia, he enjoyed hearing about that even. He was some audience.
Well, the next morning at eight o’clock I was at his door, and I didn’t see a single wolf hanging around there. It’s just a big plain frame House, not near big enough for a Movie Star to point out as their home. An awfully pleasant Lady is the Housekeeper and the whole thing there, Mrs. Evans.4
Another elderly Lady was a House Guest, an old friend of the family. Then a Mr. and Mrs. White, old friends from Cleveland, Ohio, and Father Lennon, a Catholic Priest of New York, they were all house guests.5
Mr. Rockefeller come in and handed each of us a brand new dime. When he got to me, he gave me one and then said, “How many children?” I said three. He gave me three dimes more. Then he said, “Wife?” I had to regretfully admit one was all, I just thought what they would do to him out in Hollywood if he paid all of them off for EACH wife.
Then he asked, “Mother, Father?” I said no. Then I happened to think, “But I got a Sister!” He gave me another dime for her. He was starting to pass on when I happened to think again, for Boy, thoughts meant money! I said, “I have some Cousins!” He gave me a Laugh on that. Said he wasn’t paying for cousins. Well I had 60 cents, and then we went into a nice sunny dining room for Breakfast, and we had a fine breakfast.
What I ate, you are not interested in. For you know I ate everything they had. But it’s what he had. He had grape fruit, then some Oat Meal, which he told me later on the golf course “that it had cooked eleven hours.” We all had that. Then he had some toast and a boiled egg. He ate very slow and talked all during the meal. I was telling him some of the school towns I had played where there was colleges. He remembered founding, or mostly maintaining about two thirds of them. He remembered hearing me over the Radio one night at a Dinner of the Standard Oil of New Jersey where Young John D. was there and I said: “They had me go there because I thought the real John D. was to be there.”6
Then he remembered that I had told his son that night that his father had given him all the money, so he could switch all the begging ones over to the son, and that making money was a cinch, it was the giving it away that was the real problem.
Well, we just talked about everything. He is the most pleasant soft-spoken old Gentleman you ever saw. After the breakfast is cleared away, the Butler brings a game. It is played with a lot of numbers, on little squares of Pasteboard. Each have an equal number. His are face down and he is the one that turns one over at a time, and you start to build and see which can come out with your stacks first. You have to watch how you put them down so you don’t cover up the ones you want. Well he beats them at that just like he can anything else that has numbers in it. Mrs. Evans gave me a set of it. It’s called, I think, “Americana.” Well the winner gets a dime, or what I should say is he saves a dime by winning himself. Then the lowest gets a nickle. Well I raked that in.
So you see I was going for anything I could get. I got sixty cents before I sit down and this nickle (a brand new Buffalo Nickle) after I sit down, and a fine breakfast too. Before we played the game, and after breakfast had been finished, there was placed on the table about three books, with markers in places where they were to be read. He read one. It was beautifully written thoughts of God, and beauty and life. Then two of the others read from theirs. I imagine it was a regular morning proceedure. It was a very sweet way of starting the day off, and he read his perhaps a page like a real professional reader. (We used to call ’em elocutionists.) After breakfast and the reading and the game he went in with his Secretary for a little while, then he asked me if I would play golf with them. I told him I didn’t play but that I would go over with them. There was a lot of photographers there when we come out to go to the golf game at 10:30 and he posed for them every way they asked and seemed the most accomodating man you ever met. I got another Dime at the golf Course for watching the Game.
But I will have to tell you about that some other time. He played eight holes and made three of them in Par. He invited me up to see him any time in New York. I told him by that time I would have some new jokes for him as the Government was making them for me all the time. He said, “Well you just come. You don’t need to have any jokes, just bring yourself.” Which was sweet, and incidentally contained some humor. I asked him about a lot of things. He is very optimistic about everything. (Guess he can afford to be.) But he don’t worry, just takes his time, has a set routine. Said he eats just what he wants. He seems just a lovable human old man. I asked how much he thought he had given away. He said, “Oh, I don’t know.
I only hope it’s done some good.” You would like him if you met him. He has a pretty tough job in life.
Just think of being the World’s richest man and having it known that you wanted to give money away and then imagine what he has had to go through with beggars and scheming people that wanted to get it away from him. The best way is not to ask him. He gave me my dimes all of them and I didn’t even ask him. Well, I might have hinted a little. He is a Baptist, but he certainly is not a narrow one. For there was Father Lennon, who he spoke so often of, what a “fine man Father was.” John D. sure carried out my old saying, “I never met a man I didn’t like.” Funny thing and the man that he puts me more in the mind of is Henry Ford. When Ford is his age he will be just such a man. Their ways and actions are simple and homelike. The richer they are the nicer they are. But don’t run into a Movie Star that has made a hit over night, or a Oil man that has just landed his first Gusher, or a Secretary with his first roadster.
1For John D. Rockefeller, Sr., see WA 153: N 2.
2Abby Greene Aldrich Rockefeller, first wife of John D. Rockefeller, Jr.; daughter of Senator Nelson Wilmarth Aldrich of Rhode Island.
3For Babe Ruth see WA 124: N 10; for Jackie Coogan see WA 135: N 5.
4Fannie A. Evans, cousin of the elder Rockefeller who became his hostess after the death of his wife in 1915.
5Patrick Lennon II, Catholic priest from Tarrytown, New York, near the Rockefeller's Pontico Hills estate. Father Lennon was a frequent golfing companion of the elder Rockefeller.
6John Davison Rockefeller, Jr., son of the American oil magnate. Rockefeller became associated with his father’s business interests in 1897 and later managed the great philanthropic corporations established by the family.
WA220 February 27, 1927
BIG BOUTS FOR FARM RELIEF
Well, all I know is just what I read in the papers. As I step up and face the old Carona today there is a mighty lot of momentous questions facing the Commonwealth. The biggest one of the bunch is of course the “Mary McHaugen” Bill.1
That’s the bill the farmers want passed. They don’t know what it is, but it says “Farmers Relief” on it and they are looking for anything with that label on it.
The old Farmer has had pretty tough sledding in the last few years, and he hears about all the Americans going to Europe every summer and to Florida every winter, and here he is. He can’t leave for fear his home Bank will be watching him. He read about the Government’s helping the Railroads one time when the “Iron Rust” had eat up their rails, and he believes in his heart that a few Bills passed by Congress would assist him in helping to pay some Interest on the second or third Mortgages.
The Farmer is not only in such a position nowadays that he is grabbing at a straw, but he is really swimming out of his way looking for the straw to grab at. The Farmer does need something, not only needs something, but he needs everything. He not only needs shoes, and an Overcoat, but he needs underwear, sox, shirts, soap, meat and bread.
So starting in to help the farmer, you got to sorter give the Government credit. It’s sorter hard to tell just where to start in; when the Government
come to examine the assets, they find that they are practically looking at a total loss. The trouble with the farmer up to now has been that every time somebody has thought of relief for him it has been to make it so he could borrow more money. That’s what’s the matter with him now. What he needs is some way to pay back. Not some way to borrow more.
Course the thing is, what can be done to help him. Mr. Coolidge didn’t like this Bill when it was up last time, and would have vetoed it if it had passed and got to him. But the farmers have made themselves a lot stronger since then, and they might a throwed a scare into him by now and he may let it get by. Time you read this you will know. Just offhand I believe he will veto it.
Either way he jumps he is going to step on a snake. Course he is going to say he wants to help the farmers but that he don’t like this particular way of helping them. Well, the farmers will say: “Well, this way may beat no way at all. Nobody has tried anyway yet.” So poor Mr. Coolidge is in a pretty tight hole. Mr. Lowden is a watching him like a revenue officer, to see if he helps the farmer, and if he don’t that sets him (Mr. Lowden) in stronger than ever.2
Course we been handicapped with all of our Legislation lately, on account of all the fist fights we had in the Senate and House of Representatives.
Wheeler of Montana and Carter Glass of Virginia put on the main event in the Senate.3
The house heard about the crowd that drew over there so they got jealous and put them one on. They matched Congressman Tincher of Medicine Lodge, Kansas.4
(A place where I drove a cow and calf herd up the trail from Texas too one time, so I won’t forget Medicine Lodge, on the Medicine River). I forgot who it was Tincher swung at for awhile.
Then for the grand Finale they put on my old friends both of them, Sol Bloom of New York and Blanton of Texas.5
If I could have been there I could have patched that up, for Sol is an awful nice fellow. He is the Jewish friend of mine that gave me the letter of Introduction to the Pope, last year when I was going to Rome. Not only gave it to me but it worked, and I saw him. Blanton is a good fellow too. I met his family when I was in Texas last fall, but neither one got hurt, as neither one hit each other, why no harm was done.
You know the Senate and the House have about ceased to draw people to the Galleries any more. Well, put these fights on and advertise them, Heflin of Alabama vs. Johnston of California.6
Match Jim Reed alone against Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire, and Borah against the 12 best men you got on both sides.7
You might arrange intersectional combats, say the best in the House against the best in the Senate, Speaker Longworth against Listener Dawes.8
You could turn that Capitol over to Tex Richards and I bet he could make it pay.9
Why it would soon be known as a bigger fight Club than Madison
Square Garden if those fellows ever learn to hit each other. It certainly would be great if we could just get some scheme where we could make that Congress and Senate pay its way.
Well, we just got a few more days of Congress, so any of them that are sore at each other better be fighting for they haven’t got long to do it in. Country will soon be free again, unless Mr. Coolidge calls a special session, and I think he has too much consideration for the people to do that. They got a bill in there to kill off these “Lame Duck” Sessions but it’s got too much merit to it to pass. You know we got a lot of men in there that were defeated away last November. It takes seven months to blast you out after you have been fired. There is a very good Bill in there now to make it possible that newly elected men go in on January the first, at the beginning of the new Congress. Watch and see if you ever even hear of it. But you put some kind of appropriation to it and you will see it pass right now.
Well, we are going through pretty momentous time right now, with all the fights in Nicarauga, Mexico, China, and Congress and the Senate, and Smith and McAdoo warming up.10
It looks like a great year. We suggested disarming and France had a good laugh. I am on my way home to defend my reputation as a Mayor. I am the only Mayor that never made a Mistake. I never made a decision.
1The McNary-Haugen farm relief bill was designed to ease a post-WorldWar I depression in agriculture by providing such federal assistance as the control of surpluses and the stabilization of prices. Coolidge twice vetoed the legislation.
2For Frank O. Lowden see WA 118: N 2.
3For Burton K. Wheeler see WA 124: N 4; for Carter Glass see WA 171: N 4.
4For Jasper N. Tincher see WA 180: N 2.
5Sol Bloom, Democratic United States representative from New York from 1923 until his death in 1949. For Thomas L. Blanton see WA 171: N 11.
6James Thomas “Tom” Heflin, Democratic United States senator from Alabama from 1920 to 1931. For HiramW. Johnson see WA 152: N 4.
7For James A. Reed see WA 151: N 6; for William E. Borah see WA 119: N 2.
8For Nicholas Longworth see WA 117:N16; for Charles G. Dawes see WA 117: N 9.
9George Lewis “Tex” Rickard, American prize fight promoter who acquired the old Madison Square Garden in 1920 and within a few years built a new Madison Square Garden from the boxing receipts.
10For Al Smith see WA 121: N 1; for William G. McAdoo see WA 127: N 9.