January 3, 1908

………..Frostburg men came down in two double rigs and Janitor Rafferty had charge of the “supplies,” which consisted of two “bolsters” of Baltimore brew.
      The Squire opened the pow wow by making a few remarks upon the salubrity of the weather and wished every one a happy new year.
                                                    Doctor in Run a Ship
      Fritz Mayer called attention to Teddy Roosevelt’s latest caper.  “Teddy,” said Fritz, “has appointed a surgeon to command a warship, and one of the ablest officers in the navy has resigned in disgust, and Mr. President, I would not be at all surprised to hear tomorrow that Roosevelt had commissioned Lydia Pinkham a colonel in the regular Calvary.  The man is utterly irresponsible, and he has made many blunders, got into all kinds of tangles with the: Marias,” and been kept busy explaining and apologizing.  It will be a relief to the country when his term expires and he fades away into oblivion.
                                                   Political Accident
      “He’s the most unfortunate political accident that has ever happened in this country.  I am glad to see that the colored regulars whom he discharged in disgrace are to have a hearing in the United States Supreme Court, and I have no doubt whatever, that Roosevelt’s action will be reversed.  We are dead tired of Teddy the bluffer, Teddy the blunderer, and all his clan.”
                                                   Prof. O’Rourke’s Poem
      Prof. O’Rourke asked permission to read an original poem elegy—entitled “The Winters Blast,”  Harrison Fazenbaker objected on the grounds that club had had too much poetry—so-called---thrust upon it of late.  The Squire sustained the objection and the Professor was advised to send his elegy to the Frostburg Journal of Frostburg, Maryland for publication, and if rejected by that paper he could try the Lonaconing Stare of Frostburg……..
                                                    Sunny Jim Wants to Join
      “A chap known as “Sunny Jim,” of Frost burg met me tother day, “said Professor O’Rourke, “and questioned me as to the qualifications necessary for membership in this club.  He is the proprietor of the Mastoden Underselling Department store in Frostburg, and his picture appears on every package of rolled oats so that he is something of a national character.  The rolled oats picture is a very good picture of Sunny Jim.  For reference he gives Alec Davis and J.B. Oder.  He is one of the most successful merchants in Maryland.  He began with $4.56 worth of goods in a hole-in-the-wall, but Mr. President and gentlemen it would take you hours to go through the Mastoden Department Store.  He could have put every other merchant in Frostburg out of business long---he knows ho---but he is merciful.”
      “Well, Professor,” said the Squire” bring down Lung Jim or whatever you call him, and we’ll have a look at him.  We want to bigots, cranks, socialists or Millennium Dawners in this club.  If your rolled oats man wants to join us he must put up three dollars in cash---that’s the first consideration---the rest is easy”.
      “We have enough of them Frostburg bostihoonns in this club.” Protested the Charter Member.  “They’re no good and they’re full o’ consit as a paycock.  There’s John Chambers, O’Rourke, the school master, another consited omadthaun”.
                                              Charter Member Called Down
      “Sit down!” shouted the Squire, “sit down”, you cantankerous old curmudgeon.  There is a limit to human endurance and patience ceases to be a virtue.  Sit down and keep very quiet for nothing becomes you so ‘well as silence for every time you open your mouth you put your foot in it”.
      The Squire crooked his little finger………………

January 14, 1908

………”What,” shrieked Alec, “can’t we find an American in this organization with the ability to lead it?”  Must we put a Kerry Mick at the head of a society that for years has haped the politics of this county.”
      “No Irish need apply, “shouted Port Shaffer.  “I nominate Fritz Mayer,”      “That’s right,” said Captain Jack Crawford, “give the Dutch a chance.”
      “What are you, Crawford?” asked Shamus.  “I have known you for years.  I have never been able to determine what your nationality is, if you have any.  Your nather, Irish, Scotch, English, Welsh or a daycint Orangeman.  I’m a Kerry Mick all right.  This blackthorn stick and I came from Kerry; the Kingdom of Kerry; which the lord in His infinite wisdom created to furnish the nations of the earth with brains.  Kerry rebel.  Kerry!  If I wasn’t born in Kerry I’d be ashamed.  Daniel O’Connell was a Kerry man and Shamus Garvey is a Kerryman and this blackthorn was cut from a Kerry hedge and Pitch mishaun dhial every pinheaded over-roasted A.P.A. in Frostburg.  That’s good Kerry Irish for ye.  I decline the nomination with scorn.”
      Captain Jack Crawford was nominated by Frank Cronin.  Doc Mayer objected on the grounds that Jack was not an American citizen and that he had served in the British Army.
      “No one ever knew a British soldier to become an American Citizen, Tommy Atkins is always a loyal Britisher.”  Said Doc.  “Put none but Americans on guard, “said Washington”
      “Yes”, added Col. Dillon, “that’s right.  Washington said the night before the Battle of Monmouth, “Put none but Americans, on guard tonight and let the Irish soldiers sleep.  “We’ll need them very badly in the morning.’
      “You are garbling history, Col. Dillon, protested Alec Rankin, there……
      “Inform Mr. Colman.  Said the Squire.  “That he is not a member of the club as yet.  But, that his application is under consideration.  Some objection has been made to him on the grounds that he is a member of the M.P.A. of Frostburg.
      “Sunny Jim organizes that society,” said Col. Dillon, “He is the merchant prince of the “mountain city.  He’s a regular Mark Taply, always happy.  He discover Rolled Oats; is a deacon in the church and Most Sublime Patriot of the Senior Order of Select American.  Sunny Jim is a jiner and a member of every order in Frostburg except the daughters of Ruth and the Clan’na Gael.
      The sick committee reported that Squire John Chambers was laid up with a sprained ankle, and asked for instructions in the case.
      “How did John sprain his foot?” asked the chair.
      The chairman of the committee reported that Squire Chambers was on his way to Eckhart to deliver a temperance lecture and it being very dark he fell over an embankment and injured his foot, but nevertheless John delivered the lecture sitting down.”
      The chair remarked that John Chambers had delivered many a lecture sitting down and that no doubt he would ‘now apply for an increase of pension for additional disabilities contracted in the line of duty.”
      A lout thumping in the rear of the hall attracted the attention of the proceedings, Janitor Rafferty was ordered to investigate.  The Janitor found Shamus Garvey, Hugo, the Charter Member and Frank Conlin playing a four-handed game of 45---county Donegal rules---and every card was played with a thump that rattle the windows.  Shamus had caught Hugo “running alg’ and the quartette was in a fighting mood when the janitor interfered………..

June 5, 1908


John Wesley Evans Indulges in a Timely Rhyme
John Chambers Called to the Desk.
Brother Mace on’ Tireless Talkers”
A Night of Chaste Discussion and Merriment
                                                                 Bureau of the Evening Times
                                                                            Lonoconing, MD., June 5
      John Wesley Evans was in a talkative mood, and wanted to say something about Taft, the tariff and wool.  Said John:  “Prosperity sat on a tariff wall.  Prosperity had a terrible fall and the G.O.P. and its might men can’t fill the dinner pail up agin.
      “Little Bo-Peep has lost her sheep.  After looking the country over she found they were in N.J. apologizing to Grover.  Sing a song of tariff, Protection is a graft.  All the special interests are rooting hard for Taft.
      “There was a sheep in our town, and it was wondrous wise, for when it saw the price of wool it wept out both its eyes.  But when it hear a tariff law writ by a man from Maine and saw how long it had been faked it cried them in again.
      “Little Jack Horner sat in the corner eating some soup that was free.  This full dinner pail biz is a terrible fizz.  Ill vote for Bryan, said he.
      “In high tariff we trusted and now we are busted, said Teddy to Grover, Please send me over your soup bowl, a spoon and a bone.”  To do so I’m ready,” said Grover to Teddy, but you ought to have some of your own.”
       “Mary had a little lam its fleece was white as snow.  She sold that fleece at seventeen cents a day or two ago.
      “I fear, my friends, you’ll find these rhymes like the times.  “Not only are they easier mended but a whole lot sooner ended.  The quality is very---like wool and wages, don’t you know.  My muse shows signs of being los.”
                                    Called to the Desk
      When John W. left the chest, the Squire commanded Oscar Hadra to come to the desk.  Oscar was sitting between Charley Confey and Butler Carpenter and was trying to make himself obscure
      “Oscar,” said the Squire, “about two years ago you joined this club.  You came well recommended.  Your sponsors were Frank McMahon and Butler Carpenter.  When you were initiated you failed to pay the three dollars demanded on such occasions.  You evaded payment by saying that you had nothing smaller than a one hundred dollar bill.  You were told that as you are in the peacock business you map in kind, and you promised that a package would be shipped us from Cincinnati forth.  Well, Oscar, this club has never received the good.  Then you disappeared and we have not seen you bere for months.  Now, Oscar, me boy put up three dollars for entrance fee and four dollars and fifty cents accrued increment, right here now, or---camoose, lope---squander and fade away, and I would like to say before you go that your hat is two sizes too small for you, and would you mind telling us why you have taken to wearing wooden shoes?  Is it a new fad you’re trying to introduce’
      “These are the shoes butler Carpenter made his campaign in, replied Oscar, and Lee Carl bought this hat for me”.  “Well, Oscar, who is guilty of giving you that atrocious red neck tie and that saddle colored vest?  You are got up regardless, Oscar.  You’re no doubt you have as much as 45 cents in your jeans.”
      Oscar borrowed the fees and dues from Charley Conley and took his seat again.
                                          Why He Resigned
      “John Chambers,” called out the Squire, “get up on that chest and tell this club whether or not your mayor resigned because he was too honest for the position?”
      John climbed the chest and admitted that Frostburg’s mayor, who is an honest man, found the position intolerable and quit in disgust”
      “John Chambers said the Squire, “that’s a nice town you live in.  What a goody-goody-pious town it is, and you have clergymen in Frostburg, John, who are continually denouncing the wickedness of the little corner cigar story that dare to keep open on the Sabbath day and fiercely anatomizing the Sunday Ice cream parlor but never a word have they to say against the grafters who make it impossible for an honest man to act as the town’s chief magistrate.  You have spasms of morality, John, now and then.  I was in your town last Sunday and I couldn’t get even a drink of water in Frostburg last Sunday there was not a place open where the stranger within your gates, unacquainted with the topography of your speakeasies could get anything.
                                            The Lid on Tight
      “It was a lonesome gloomy town last Sunday.  As I was passing by the gravestone factory, a solemn looking chap handed me a tract headed: “Prepare to meet your Maker.”  I went down to the St. Cloud and found the door locked and tacked on it was a sign which said: “Danger!  Beware! I read it carefully and found that only guests who had been in the house a week were allowed to pass in and out.  I hear Tom Dillon singing hymns in company with Fritz Mayer.  Port Shaffer and Redknob Brady.  Going to the Bowen, where I was told there was a watering trough.  I came to the Push and Pull Restaurant.  I was surprised to find it open.  I entered and said I to the fuzzy wuzzy young female in attendance: “Young lady, can I get a glass of water?”  Yes, sir,” said she, “But you must buy a sandwich for its against a city ordinance to give or sell water, milk, buttermilk or pop beer save to bona fide guests.”  Then John Chambers, I fled from your town and walked to Borden Shaft where my friend Howatt has a good well and also a good cellar.  Your keeping the lid on tight on the little cigar and candy shops and the reverend shepherds are sitting on the lid, and making a great noise and because he could not remain in office and retain his self respect, John, have you heard anything from the shepherds about this matter or are they too busy watchy Alex Davis or the other desperadoes who would sell cigars and ice cream on Sunday.  They are straining at the gnat.  John, but the city government camel goes down like an oyster from the half shell.

                                                No Graft in “Coney”

      “Eleven years, John Chambers, has William Thompson been mayor of Lonaconing and in that time there has been no graft.  Have you no William Thompson in Frostburg.  You may sit down, John, I’m sorry for your”
      “They’re a fine lot av spalpeens up there in Frostburg,” growled Charter Member.  “Wan bunch o’them wants to have gas and the other want electricity and they’re altinalch others heads off, an devil a hair they care about the town or the people.  They’re all trying to oil their own pockets.  This country ‘is gone to the devil entirely.  Its rotten wid grafters and bunko steelers.  I’ve a good mind to go back to Ireland.”
      “Great Junkman, why don’t you shut uP, roared Harrison Fazenbaker as he unwound himself, and shaking his big fist at the C.M. he talked to the dealer in pink on the hoof severity.  “Doggone your old hide.” Said Harrison, “nobody sent for you, You came over to this country with the murek of the bogs between your toes, and with a brogue as thick as mush, and as green as the blossom end of a gooseberry, and you wan’t here six months til you had more money than you ever saw in Ireland and now you are a cussin’ this country.  If your doned furriners don’t like this country theys no ropes around you.  Nobodys a holdin of you.  You can git.  You come over here and but into politics and git on the police force or you start a peacock show.  You get three square meals a day which the same is a surprise to your stomachs.  Doggon you all, go back, we can spare you.
      Your’re a dom find specimen of the rale ginovoing American, so you are,” replied the C.M., “God help the country that has to depend on the like o’ you.  Shure you don’t know enough to ache if you was hurt, if you did I’d hit you a clip wid this shthick you poor miserable slab-sided pinheaded bosthoon.”
      Here Tiger intervened and stopped the fuss

                                            The Tireless Talker

      “I see by the papers that at the national convention of the Ancient Order of Tireless Talkers, an organization of American females, you know, said Brother Mace, “Past Worthy Grand Cackler, Mrs. Birdle Soand so said that his was a sober country until the Civil War.  Thousand and thousands of our young men learned to drink whiskey in the army, said Grand Cackler, and the survivors have been drinking every since.  I think the lady is making a mistake how about it, Brother Murray?”
      “That’s Malthusian is talking through her hat,” replied Lon.  “That was the soberest army that ever took the field since the world began.  The rank and file got very little whisky.  The officers drank their fill but they had all got the habit before the war.”
      Said the Squire, I wonder what our grandmother did without the “mothers’ meetings’ and the women champion talkers, that Aunt Phat column in Granny Dok’s paper, the baby column in the ladies journals.  I am convinced is sending thoughsand of infants to the grave, yards annually.  The baby column is written by some dissected old maid who knows all about babies.  Why not start a man’s home journal and tell us how to remove wars or the perpetual blush on our noses.”
      “There is no better exercise for a woman,” said John Wesley Evans, “than washing dishes, making beds or scrubbing the kitchen floor.  She can always relieve the monotony by picking a fuss with the woman next door and swatting her a few with clothes pole.”
      The Squire consulted his watch, punched Sam Nichols in the ribs with the gavel and ordered “Tiger to turn out the lights.                            W.A.G.

Sept 11, 1908

They Burn New Ground Clean Looking for Knocks
The Young Soldier, the Young Clerks, the Ladies and All Get a Knocking From the Old Spalpeene—Wind Up With Saloons
      Lonoconing, Md., Sept11,

      Butler Carpenter had something on his mind and as soon as the Squire had settled in his chair Butler mounted the chest and told of coming to Lonaconing last Friday night with his friend, Jett, of Cumberland.  They had been invited to an exclusive and select ball given by that bunch of sure enough aristocrats known as the Lonaconing Club.  Myself and my friend, Jett wore dress suits, of coarse, and we thought that we were all right.  When we got to the hall door we were halted and three members of the club---the inspection committee---looked us over.  We were refused admittance because Mr. Jett didn’t have his trousers pressed and I didn’t have on the latest style of neck tie.  Now, Mr. President, and gentlemen, “said Butler, “I’ll venture to assert that a hold-up man went through that hall and emptied every pocket he wouldn’t have realized $1.25.  A lot of counter jumpers whose appreciate income for a year would not suffer.  Mr. Jett or myself would for a two weeks stay in Atlantic City.  Myself and Mr. Jett were very angry at the time but we have since realized the absurdly of the situation.  Here’s an aggregation of cheap snobs who get their living from the coal miners yet keep themselves aloof from them, and when they have a dance, advertise is as “expensive’.  The counter jumpers and clerks have no trouble in convincing themselves that they are far superior to the coal digger.  This bunch of cheapskates should be laughed out of Lonaconing.  I was very sorry for my friend Jett, who by the way is a bit of a dude.  His dress suit was new and his necktie was a peach.”
      “Which of the sham jimmies made the inspection” asked the Squire.
      “One is in the ladies’ goods business and the other is a tow headed sissy that ___ a great deal.”………..
       ……….I know the ould sgers are breakin away from him an more’s the pity for he’s the bye that gets the pinshins.”
      “The children are going to school again,” said John Wesley Evans, “and I wonder whether they are learning anything that will be of use to them in after life.  When I went to school the master taught the three R’s and kept his pupils nose to the desk.  It was reading, writing and arithmetic and geography enough to enable the pupil to tell how long the Mississippi river is.  If the pupil didn’t behave the master whaled him, and there was no shenanigans in that school.
      “All that sort of thing has passed away and now before the pupil can read in the third book he or she is required to” write”, metaphysical essays on ponderous subjects and must have a pair of scissors with which to cut out cats, dogs, and monkeys.  The pupils must learn to dance ring-round-rosy, and to hold their mouth just so when they declaim and gesticulate correctly.  The pupils must fall in, count on dress to the right and march in the goose when leaving or entering the school.  The schools of today are turning out infant phenomenons who can debate but who couldn’t write a stickful of matter so that it could be sent to the printer without editing.  The Smithsonian Institute of Juvenile Oratory is open for the season and will incubate at least two graduates this year and they will be sent to Frostburg to be educated.  Some of the “professors” who pose as pundits remind me of Pope’s lines:

“’A little learning is a dangerous thing.
Drink deep or taste not the Pierlan spring,
For shallow drafts intoxicate the brain,
But drinking deeply sobers it again.’”

      Lon Murray offered to read a paper on Socialism, written by Sandy Munroe, but was refused permission on the grounds that it was not a subject of general interest.
      “You socialists,” said Captain Gordon, “are men of one idea.  The socialist crank claims that his ism is the panacea for all the ills of life and all social evils and will cause cows to produce a large quantity of milk if taken regularly in the small doses before each meal.  To give you an illustration of how men can be wedded to one idea I will relate an experience.  The other week when we were getting in the hay at my farm, a man who is known in this section as “Yellowroot” came to me for work.  This man is Russian.  I told him to take the horses and haul hay.  He hooted at the idea of bothering with horses, and said where he came from the farmers hauled all their crops on their backs.  He made a rigging after an idea of his own.  He packed hay all the forenoon but in the afternoon he ran into a yellow-jackets nest and was done up so badly that he was willing to try horse next day. 
      We find these men of one idea everywhere, even in the churches.  Some insist that Christianity hinges altogether on baptism, others on prayer, others on faith, some on works alone, some on faith and work………
February 5, 1909

Judge Chambers Gives Some War ‘Reminisces.
The exiles of Blaine—St. Patrick’s Day---Would give a Pig—Wont get an increase—Stonewall Jackson’s Day


                                                             Lonaconing, Md., Feb. 5
      After the minutes of the previous meeting had been read and approved, the Squire read a petition signed by one George Kean and 20 others, praying that a charter be granted them for a branch of the Grievance Club in Cumberland.
      “I make a movement,” said Huga, “that thim fellys don’t get a charter.”   
      “I second that move,” shouted Hugo.  “Thim Cumberland chaps are too mane to pay their carfare to Coney.  It’s Jerry Kean that want to shtart a branch, it is?  Oh, Jerry, go ile the car.  Oh, Jerry, go ile the car.  No, we want no branches av this club.  Let thim Cumberland bodacks come to learn something ivery time, then comes here.”
      Hugo’s motion was put and carried and the secretary was instructed to inform the petitioners.
      John Chambers came in on crutches and too his seat near his townman, Pay Tay McGann.

                                                                Chambers Tells a War Story

      “John Chambers, have you the gout?’ asked the Squire.
      “No,” replied John, “I never had the gout; but I would like to be exposed to that disease.  The wound that I received at Cedar Creek has broken out again and that is why I am on crutches.”
      “Did you apply for an increase ay pinshin yet?” asked Hugo.  “Shure you can get your pinshin doubled now.  Apply at waust.”
      “Well, John,” said the Squire, “All our great orators are absent tonight, Saul Goodrich, isn’t here, and Tom Dillon is missing.  There won’t be much doing, and you might as well tell us something about Cedar Creek and how you got shot in the left leg.  You can keep you’re seat, John.”
      “I can see it all now, said the old soldier.  “I can hear that infernal yell that awoke us before dawn that morning.  It sounded as if---all the fiends from heaven that fell.
      “With the rat-a-tat of reveille in-the camp.  Had raised the banner cry of hell” The Sixth Corps came the detonating crash of rifles on our right that, vied with Rienzi’s hoof beats on the Valley Pike up from Winchester.  Soon thereafter there came from the steeps out Strasburg way a splitting flashing fogbank charged with sumptuous smoke and blue and gray humanity grappling in death throes.
      : Of the many battles of the Sixth Corps never, had we suffered such excess of numbers as on that day.  I fell in that battle---but I got up again and went to the rear to rally. By and by someone shouted:  “Sheridan is coming’ and soon I saw him crossing the fields from the pike, swinging his glazed hat a cursing the stragglers in no time at all Sheridan formed the stragglers and with Crook and Emory and a long cavalry alignment w went back  after old Jubal and his Johnnies.
     “I hear the bugles now: shouted John, as he sprung to his feet and brought one of his crutches to a right shoulder shift.  “Forward!  Guide centre!  Dress on the colors.  Steady, men, steady. Halt!  Right dress!  Fix bayonets! Forward.  Double quick, march!”
      As John shouted “march!” he dropped one crutch and came charging down the hall.
     Hugo jumped over the gas stove to evade the crutch and the Charter Member.  Jumping on the counter made a right thrust against the infantry and followed it with a fierce thrust which sent John to the floor He was helped to his chair and resumed his story of Cedar Cliff
      “I shall not tell the story told to me for I was there to both feel and see how Sheridan rode up on Rienza and turned the trick on old Jubilee!
                                        How We Saved the Day

  “That’s the first stanza of a poem that I have written on Cedar Creek.  It’s called, “How Me and Sheridan Saved the Day,”
    “Yiz” growled Ned Brennan, “and Hugo three thousand miles away over in Donogal.”
  “Go o, JonChabers,” commanded theSquie “let’s hear how you and that other Irish an got away with Jubal Early.”
   “It was 4 am” resumed John “when Gordon assayed to blanket the fogbank. It was 11 a.m. when myself and Sheridan arrived from Winchester—I mean when Sheridan order me to take the colors and lead the advance.  I was already here, you know. The wrinkled front of  old Masanutton seemed break into a sinister smile while Cedar Creek’s sibilant  murmurings at the bridge spanning he flood as drowned in the diapason of battle.  The old wool hats were trying to rally around old Jubilee.

                                                        The Crush of War

          “Fast fell the eventide of that tremendous day, but ere nature’s restorer, balmy sleep called us to the tryst again we hurriedly inspected that field.  On the stretch of pike down Middletown way the gleaning of the reaper had cut down the cavalry of blue. On the highlands to the left the Confederate sharpshooters had fashioned a rail breastwork in the form of the letter ‘A, ‘behind which they grouped. One of them had been struck by a shell and literally torn asunder.  Over the fields where on our Parthian shots had been directed as we fell back in the early morning --------we never ran, you know, we simply fell back to a stronger position-and later moved forward in the advance the dead and wounded were receiving attention.  We found one Yankee dead without a mark on his person   He must have been killed by concussion, a shell bursting close to his head.

                                                    Stonewall Jackson’s Way

       John paused, awhile and seemed to be lost in contemplation   there was a faraway look in his cadet-blue eyes as he murmured;
        “Shenandoah, Cedar Creek, Sheridan, Riensl”
       “Come, John, go on “encouraged the Squire, Your describing that battle beautifully.”
        “Yes,” said John, “I was there.  I saw Gordon, I saw Ashley’s Black Horse, and I saw Stonewall Jackson.
       “Here Shenandoans brawls along.  There burly Blue Ridge echoes strong to swell” the ‘brigade’s rousing song of Stonewall Jackson’s way.”
         “Oh, yes I awal, I saw the Grey Chieftain and I imagine I can now hear him say to Gordon; “Remember sir, the last ration has been issued to the Army of Northern Virginia  A horse lost cannot e replaced; a man lost is lost forever.  Behind that well fortified line of infantry stands 15,000 well equipped cavalry.  “Tis useless.”
                                                    It Was Time He Was Silent

         Then John collapsed into silence again until he was roused by the Squire.
          “You didn’t’ tell us how you got that leg hurt, said the Squire.
         “Yes, I did,” snapped John “I told you that I slipped on the ice in Tin Cup alley one day last week “and sprained my ankle.” Don’t ask me any more questions.”
            Peter Bush volunteered to sing an Irish song and the Squire bade Peter to fire away.  “If it’s as good as the song you sang here at the last meeting we’ll be glad to hear it: sai d the chair.

                                                    A Sweet Irish Song

      When I was in Ireland last, “said Peter, by way of explanation, “there was a very pretty girl in our party and when we were coming away a poor woman gave the young lady a bunch of flowers, and she, “You’ll be back again, mavourneen, for the flowers’ll miss you; they will be lonesome till you come” and a friend of mine thought it was a beautiful sentiment and he made a song of it.  Here it is:
             “Sure, you’ll come again, ashore, to see us
            When the summer days are here.
             When the clouds are full of fancies
              As they gloat above the mere;
            When the harebells are in blossom
            And the flowers adore the lea.
            You will come to dear old Ireland
            From your home across the sea.

            The flowers are often lonesome
             For a colleen such as you.
            For the flowers are little fairies---
            Yes, I often think it’s true
             That they ‘wee’ all night in sorrow
             For the tears are often found
             In the hearts of little harebells
             On the fairies’ tiny mound.
             In the early hours of morning
             Bright tear drops I have seen
             On wild roses and on daisies
             On leaflets gray and green.
             They told of hours of weeping
             When the world was fast asleep
             When the little fairies wandered
             And sometimes paused to weep.
             Brilliant tears of gladness
             At the colleen’s coming home
             Or bitter tears of sadness
             When the Irish maidens roam
              So a welcome’s waiting for you
             When you come again, again,
             From the lonesome little lilies
             And the Virgin Mary Star.
             Yes, a hundred thousand Irish welcomes
             From a thousand Irish hears
             Are waiting for you, darling
             When you come from foresight parts.
             Then you’ll come again to Ireland
            From your home across the sea
            To the sad, unhappy Ireland
             That is longing to be free.

      Peter’s song generously applauded and the Squire, said it was a very pretty thing; indeed.


                                                                The Exiles of Blaine

      Harrison Fazenbaker came out from behind the counter to inform the club that he feared he would have to join the exiles in Blaine
      You might as well stay at home Harrison,” advised Oscar Hadra, You’ll dig a tone and half of coal in Blaine for forty-five cents, and you’ll be indebt to the company store $6.74 every pay day.  If you’ll wait a while you can dig the same amount of coal at the same price on George’s Creek it’s coming to that.  Bide a wee, Harrison and you won’t have to go to
West Virginia.  West Virginia will come to you.”
      “The men who have gone to Blaine and Chaffee and other Hunkie settlements in West Virginia are getting used to the forty-five-cent rate for ton and a half and they won’t kick when the cut comes here, and --------coming unless”—
      “Unless what, Oscar?” asked Cr. Brace.
      “Oh, well, never mind, Doctor.” Said Oscar, “A man is seldom sorry for what he doesn’t say.”

                                                              St. Patrick’s Day

      “Are we going to have any doing next St. Patrick’s day?” asked Ned Brennan, “It’ll soon be here.”
      “”Well, Ned,” replied the Squire, “We ought to notice the anniversary.  It’s a long time since the day was fittingly celebrated in Lonaconing.  There are a few genuine sons of old Granualle still living here, but the Grievance Club is cosmopolitan organization and, well the quest is open for discussion.  We would have to take up a collection to defray expenses.

                                                               Would Give a Pig

      “I’ll give a pig,” offered the Charter Member.  “What’ll you give, Ned Brennan?  You could give five or six chickens or something daycint, but you won’t.  The divil’s a fear av you given anythin’.  You’re too light across the chest.  You’ll give othin’ away but good advice and tell folk’s they’re lookin’ bad and should be preparing for death.  You’re a banshee in britches, Brennan, that’s what you are.  Now spake up like a man; what’ll you give for St. Patrick’s Day?  Open you’re cold heart.  Spake up, you rapparee.  Hup!  Youp!  Spake up, man”.
      Great Junkman,” roared Harrison Fazenbaker, “As he rolled over the counter and clutched at his neck, “this doggone undershirt is a choking me, I’m agoing out in the back yard and take it off.  I thought I could a bought some shirts from Mose Eddy last day, but I only drew $7.21 and the rent was due.  Doggone Shears and Sawbuck.  Let me out!”
      John Chambers, seated behind the Charter Member with his game leg up on a chair, was talking to himself in an undertone.  He was back again on the battle field of Cedar Creek
      “Oh yes,” murmured John---“Long years have passed since Blue and Gray each other met that fated day.
Almost insight of Winchester’s spires
Like night flies glowed their bivouac fires.
In charge and counter charge oft met
Grim bayonet to bayonet
And hell it’s carnival of blood
Held in that dark encrimsoned wood

                                                                      Won’t Get an Increase

“Wake up, John,” said Hugo, as he shook the old soldier., “you’re a charman man, wake up” and listen here, John, don’t’ you say anymore that you hurt that leg in Tin Cup alley, or the devil an incracy ay pinshinn you’ll ever get., Shure, Tin Cup alley is not the proper place to be wounded in.  They’ll say you were in Fritz Mayer’s, taking too much copper cure.  Shtick to it that you got hit in that fut be a cannon ball at the Battle ay Cedar Run.  Do you hear me, John Chainbers?”
      “I do,” replied John, “I wasn’t wounded at the battle of Tin Cup ally.
I have been sentinel and scout,
Shot down in battle and disastrous rout,
And where the red artillery drave
Its bolts of iron through the ranks of brave;
Or the doomed battalions storm the redoubt.
Shake out the colors!  Forward March!
      “All right, John,” agree the Squire, “{we’ll follow the flag----
      “On yo brave!  Who rush to glory or the grave!”
      “Tiger, turn out the lights.”

                                                                                                 W.A. Garnett


May 22, 1909

…………………..The News from Frostburg
      “What’s the news from Frostburg, John Chambers?”  asked the Squire.
      “Nathing cheerful,” replied John.  “Flour going up, sugar going up, woolen and cotton goods going up.  Wages going down, hundreds of men out of work, hundreds being discharged or being put on half time.  This is what thousands of workingmen voted for and they are getting it in the ‘neck with a vengeance.  The trouble is, however, that is us innocent Democrats are getting it along with the rest.  Even the price of grave stones has raised and I am told that Fritz Mayer is going to charge ten cents for a pint copper after next week.”
      “Shur, that shtuff is no good anyhow,” growled Hugo, “I used to go there, but I agave it up.  That Fritz he can give them any kind av suds.  They don’t know the differ.  Meself and Spaker McGraw goes to McGann’s.  They’re dacint people there and a man can tell a story there widout being called a liar.
                             Served in the Bucktails

      “Meself and Spaker McGraw and ould man Footen war in the Bucktails together and we saw hard fightin’.  Footen losht his leg.  Spaker McGraw losht his voice and I lost me left eye---or was it me right?---In the war, and we should be respected, but the devil per Cure, such blaggards as Jack Crawford, Professor Friday, Boney Bergenbaugh and Port Shaffer.  A dom fine bunch.  No, there’s no respect for the ould soger any more.”

                            Old Poem Recited

      This reminded Walter Clark of something.  “Squire,” said Walter, “Last May about this time a member of this club recited a poem which I would very much like to hear again.  This poem was published in the Evening Times as a part of the proceedings of that meeting, but I failed to get a copy, and I have been requested----to have that poem published again.  It is all about the ghostly bugler---trilling, trilling, trilling.”
      “Do you know that poem, John Chambers?”
      “I do” said John, as he climbed to the chest, “and here it is”.

                              The Old Bugle

“I can hear the olden bugle,
  As it sounded ‘mong the pines,
Where, beneath the skies of summer
   Stretched the endless battle lines.
It is calling, calling calling,
   In a region far away
Where the dews  of night are falling
   On the blue and on the gray.

I can hear the ghostly echoes
   In the long deserted camps,
Where above the fields of glory
   Nightly flit the fire-fly lamps.
It is blowing, blowing blowing
    Where the crimson river ran,
And its notes are sweetly mingling
   With the rushing Rapidan.

Oh the music of the bugle,
   It will never pass away,
Though the bugler slumbers sweetly
    Where the sunbeams love to play.
It is trilling, trilling, trilling.”
   Musically as of yore,
When it gaily woke the echoes
   On Potomac’s guarded shore.

I can see the bugler standing
   On the pine-encircled hill,
And his never-silent bugle
   How he blew it with a will.
It is sounding sounding sounding,
   O’er the gleaming bayonet
And its thrilling call to battle
   In my old hear lingers yet.

Eager sprang we to its summons---
   We were 50,000 strong---
And we often cheered its ‘echoes
   As we proudly marched along.
It is calling, calling, calling.
   Oh, my comrades, don’t you hear?
And its notes are falling, falling
   On the evening soft and clear.

From the vineyards and the Pinelands,
   Where we fearless met the foe,
Comes the trilling of the bugle
   That heard so long ago.
It is blowing, blowing, blowing
   By the haunted river’s shore;
May its echoes stir the woodlands
   Where the old ranks are no more.

                                  It Gave Him the Creeps

      “Doggone me, if I ain’t got the creeps,” wailed Harrison Fazenbaker, “Every time I hear Colonel Green’s meat horn after this I’ll think of that spook bugler a blowing his horn.”
      “You’ll not see the Kurnel very often,” said Hugo.  “He’d sell no mate on Jackson Hill.  If a butcher wagon dhrove up there ye’d think it was Barnum’s circus coming, ye poor benighted haythens.”
      “Gentleman,” said the Squire, “Memorial Day is almost here and while we have had no deaths in this club since it organization four years ago, we will nevertheless hold a memorial service at our next meeting just as if we were all old soldiers.  Patsy Berkenbaugh have the gramophone play, “Father, Dear Father, Come Home With me  Now.”
                                                                   William A. Garnett

Grievance Club

Cumberland Evening time
June 5, 1909


John Chambers Reads Poem on Battle of Selma

Ramsey is a Doubter---Better Leave It here---Wanted to Know---He Quoted Scripture---Getting Too Serious---Can Keep It Shut

                                                                      Lonaconing, Md.,--June 5.

      At the last meeting of the club Hugo showed up in a new suit and stylish straw hat.  The Charter Member eyed him keenly, and turning to Ned Brennan, said:  “Ned, Hugo has a new suit, that’s plain to be seen, but there’s something else wrong wid him and I can’t make it out.  Take a look at him, Ned, what’s the mather wid Hugo?”
      Ned scrutinized the old Bucktail, and said to the C.M. that it was evident that Hugo had on a new suit of clothes, had his hair cut and been shaved---“and oh bad luck to me,” roared Ned, “If he hasn’t a full set av false teeth and av them goold.”
      “False teeth, is it?” growled the C.M.
      “Yis”, replied Hugo, “and I didn’t go to Coney ayther for ‘em.  I got ‘em in Baltimore an’ I was measured for’em an now I can ate mate ivery day.  I couldn’t chaw anythin’ tough since I left the army.  I lost me teen at wan av the big battles I was in.  A ribil struck me in the mouth wid the butt av this gun and knocked all me teeth out.”
      “I suppose you wor thryin’ to tell him that story about your cousin the bishop in Donogal,” said Ned Brennan.
      “I be doggoned if he can’t chew the rag now worse than ever,” butted in Harrison Fazenbaker.  “The old cuss looks right peart this evening.”

                                    Mr. Read Arrives

      About this time Business Reed came bustling in with his coat pocket bulging with documents, nodded to the Squire and took his seat near Lee Carl.
      “What’s up now, Biz?” asked Huckleberry.
      “Big government contract, replied Biz, “As he drew an official envelope from his inside pocket.  “Just landed it today.  I have contracted to fortify the canal and build a fleet of six motor gunboats to patrol duty.  My price is six million four thousand seven hundred and eight-two dollars and forty cents.  I calculate that I can do the job for half the money.  I’ll sublet the motor gunboats to John Rhind.  It’s a big thing”
      “There’s millions in it,” agreed Huckleberry, “Biz, did you ever hear of Colonel Sellers?”
      “I think not,” said Biz’ “which side was he on?”
      “I think, Biz,” said Huckleberry, “That you and the Colonel would have got on very well together.”

                                     The Battle of Selma

      John Chambers was late in getting in and had a grip with him.  John had on his soldier clothes and had evidently been traveling.
      “Where have you been, John?” asked the Squire.
      “I have been to Selma, Alabama, Squire,” replied John.  “There was a reunion of Wilson’s and Forest’s cavalry there last Monday.  The blue and the grey, you know.  We met ‘on the old battlefield and it was a joyous meeting, I read an original poem there, which if I do say so myself is pretty good.  With your permission I’ll read it for you.”
      “How long is your epic, John, asked the chair?
      “Only seven stanzas, Squire, replied John, “But everyone who heard it said I should have made it longer.  I call it Wilson’s Raid.  I asked Editor Oder of the Frostburg Journal, to publish it, but after he had read the last stanza he refused to print it.  He said Forrest never fled from any blankity –blank Yankee, or words to that effect.  However, here it is:

“‘A bugle call at Selma;
Yes, Wilson is at Selma;
Bright, jaunty, gay, he spurs his grey,
And heads our van to Selma

Down, down the pike to Selma
Our charge sweeps on to Selma
Mad shells now fly and soldiers die
Red is the road to Selma

But Forrest is in Selma
Fierce Forrest is in Selma:
‘Tis victory, where’er he be,
And hope is high in Selma.

Still Wilson leads to Selma,
He cheers us on to Selma;
The grey is down and Wilson’s down
Yet waves us on to Selma

Acheer goes up from Selma
At Wilson’s fall at Selma
He mounts again and spurs again
His bloody grey toward Selma.

Up to the gate of Selma,
On through the gates of Selma
Our steel meet steel, the foemen reel,
And Wilson Sweep through Selma.

And Forrest flees from Selma,
All bleeding flees from Selma
While Wilson’s name and Wilson’s fame
Are write in flame at Selma.

      “Now, Squire, what do you think of that poem? Asked John, as he placed the manuscript in his picket.
      “There is too much Selma in it, replied the Squire, “and too much bleeding and fleeting on one side only.”
                               Ramsey is a Doubter

      “Yes,” growled Ramsey Vandiver, “there were three million of Yanks and only 600,000 Confederates, and yet there were a few old rebels left at the surrender—and nearly all the Yanks, judging by the size of the pension rolls.”

                               A Nice Poem to Recite

      “The history of the civil war, as it is taught in our public schools is very misleading,” said Walter Clark.  “I heard a young lady graduate of a high school read O’Hara’s “Bivouac of the Dead” last Monday.  I asked the young lady if she knew anything about Theodore O’Hara.  She did not.  Did she know why and when the poem was written?  She did not.  She only knew that it was ‘nice piece to recite on Decoration Day.’  I heard her recite it to a group of old fellows who knew all about the occasion:
“The neighing troop, the flashing blade, the bugle’s stirring blast,
The charge, the dreadful cannonade, the column flying past.’
      “This young lady recited it as she would Mary’s Little Lamb.”

                            Better leave it Here

      “I see, said Arlington Weaver, by way of changing the subject, “that Carnegie is going to give a million to found a hero fund in France.  It would better become him to give the money to the worthy poor in the country where he accumulated his illgotten millions.  They say he’s a philanthropist.  I say that he’s a skinflint.”

                         Wanted to Know

      Charley Conley rose to ask the meaning of the word “skinflint.
      “Webster,” explained the Squire.  “Defines the word ‘skinflint,’ a niggard.  This definition is inadequate and unsatisfactory.  A skinflint is a flint who skins men.  The skinflint’s hear is Harveyized and proof against the wall of the widow and the orphan.  It is the skinflint who oppresses the workingman and compels him to work for starvation wages.”

                               He Quotes Scripture

     Henry Creutzberg rose and pointing his finger at Arlington Weaver, quoted the 5th verse of the 6th chapter of Ephesians:  “Servants be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling.”
      This made Patsy Berkenbaugh very angry, and he got back at Henry fiercely.
      “What kind of masters did Paul have in his eye when he wrote that?  Were they such as Frick, Carnegie, and Rockefeller?  If the poor could unite in religion, or no religion, there would be no ore prejudice for the shrewd skinflint to work on, and the laboring men would stand united and believe in the perfect brotherhood of man.”

                            Getting too Serious

      “Gentlemen,” admonished the Squire, “we are getting too serious this evening.  Let’s have some diversion, as Hugo calls it.  Mr. Reid, will you sing a song?”
      Business looked from a document he was reading.  “Sing, Squire, me sing?  Why, Squire, I never had time to learn a song.  Too busy, Squire, too busy.”
      “I’d sing a fine song, I larned from Shamus Garvey lasht week, but I’d have to open me mouth very wide to sing it, and I’m afeerd I’d dhrop me teeth.”

                           Can Keep it Shut

      “You can keep your mouth shut, Hugo,” said the Squire.  If it’s one of Shamus’ com-all ye’s we don’t want to hear it”.
      “I want my Selma poem spread on the record,” said John Chambers, “so that it may be printed in the Evening Times.”
      You’d better strike out the last stanza if you want it published in the Times.  Tiger, have the gramophone sound taps,” ordered the Squire.
                                                                                     William A. Garnett

(Courtesy of Mary Ellen Chambers)
Posted November 5, 2011


Feeble Minds