The Charlotte News

Wednesday, October 12, 1938


Site Ed. Note: "Land, Ho!" me boys. Cipangu!

Wait, check the map and sextant again. That doesn't look quite right. Vinland? Markland? Oh, what the heck.

San Salvador!

In a poetic mood today, Cash celebrated both Columbus Day and Casey Jones. Little did he know that a man bearing the same name as his father would in 1963 re-record the old ballad, on an album named "Blood, Sweat and Tears".

So, carry on, Mr. Cash, carry on.

For, on the other side, it didn't say nothin'...

No Trespassing

An increase in the tax that the city may levy for parks and recreation from a maximum of two cents in five, or, roughly, from $20,000 to $50,000, in all probability would be more than ample. If the tendencies of our present City Administration are known, and after two terms they should be, there is little likelihood of its budgeting anything like $50,000 for recreation. But why limit by State legislation the exercise of a strictly local prerogative?

Parks and playgrounds are as central to the well-being of any thickly-settled community as--well its garbage removal. Maybe not quite, but you get the idea. They are as necessary within reason. And any Mecklenburg delegation to the Legislature--three House members and a Senator elected usually without mention of local issues--has its blindness superimposing its notions and convictions, especially without notice to the people back home and with the wholly indifferent consent of the gentlemen from Pasquotank, Surry, et al., on the function of the City Council. To do so is government by indirection, and while the people may sometimes approve of what is done, they cannot approve the method of doing it.

Mecklenburg's representation in the 1939 Legislature would do itself proud and help to eliminate capricious government by eschewing interference with strictly local issues and limiting itself to matters of state scope and matters which required legislative enactment.

The Next Step

A political meeting at Windhoek, British Southwest Africa, Friday presented the administrator of the territory with a demand for a plebiscite as to whether or not it should be restored to Germany or remain under British rule.

And of course Mr. Chamberlain will hasten to give orders that the request be complied with. For Mr. Chamberlain is by his own statement a man of principles, the principles being (1) that "minorities are entitled to the right of self-determination," (2) that war must be avoided at all costs, since it is certain to destroy "all that is fine in civilization," and (3) that it is necessary to give Adolf Hitler what he asks in order to prevent that war.

These Germans, 6,000 of them, are certainly a minority in South Africa, though most of the rest of the population is made up of their Dutch cousins, the Boers, grabbed off by England in 1902 and liking England not a bit to this day. Nor is there much doubt that Adolf Hitler wants Southwest Africa. He himself has often candidly confessed as much. Moreover, nearly all these Germans and many of the Boers are ardent Nazis, and of course it is a cardinal Nazi principle that no Nazi must ever present a demand or do anything else save on the command of Der Furious.

The prospect, indeed, might be a little disconcerting to a less determined man than Mr. Bumble. The Indians--among the oldest of Americans--would certainly like to have a plebiscite in India. So would the Arabs in Palestine, and so, too, no doubt, the Malays about Singapore. Furthermore, we make bold to believe that Adolf Hitler wants them to have 'em. And--ah, now, that leads straight toward the destruction of the British Empire? Of course. Nevertheless, we express the confident faith that Mr. Bumble is a man of principle, will not flinch in his clear course. After all, what is Czechoslovakia or the British Empire as against "the right of minorities to self-determination" or as against avoiding of a war which would certainly destroy "everything fine in civilization"?

Land, Ho!

It was at two o'clock in the morning that twelfth of October 446 years ago when the Santa Maria, drawing 100 tons, hove to and Cristobal Colon, "Admiral of the Ocean," stood on the high poop of the little old ship peering through the murk of the false dawn at the shadow on the sky that at last was certainly land and not a cloud or a dream. Afterward the day came slowly up, fair and calm, over the new-found sea which was to be called the Caribbean, a sea as blue and white to look upon as the ancient "wine-dark sea" upon which long ago, at the age of 14, Christobal had first gone sailing. And there before him, before the motley crew of ex-convicts and "broken men" crowding wide-eyed and silent to the rails of all the three little ships, it lay--a land that no man of European race had ever looked upon before.

What was it? Cipangu, that fabulous realm which old Marco Polo had described, which we know today as Japan, and for which Cristobal had primarily come looking, by the western way? That Vinland or Markland that he had perhaps heard coupled with the names of Leif Ericson and Thorfinn Karisefne in the harbors of Iceland when he had voyaged there as a boy? The fabled island of Brazil or the mysterious Isle of the Seven Cities, which far-drifting sailors sometimes reported seeing rising up out of the sea? It was in fact the sand spit which we know today as Watling Island. But he himself decided that it was one of the Spice Islands. And so with the red and gold banners of the houses of Castile and Leon streaming beside the green cross which he had adopted as the banner of the "Admiral of the Ocean," he landed with his men, and when they all had "given thanks to God, kneeling upon the shore, and kissed the ground with tears of joy, for the great mercy received," he christened the country San Salvador and formally proclaimed it a part of Spain.

In that fashion came America to birth.

Site Ed. Note: Anyhow, we asked him what his name was and how come he didn't drive a truck, and he said his name was Colon, and we just said, "Sounds sort of spicy, Admiral, don't get stuck in the muck."

Boss John Plays Punch

Say what you please about Boss John Lewis, he is not the unhumorous man he is sometimes made out to be. His humor, indeed, does seem to run a little to the sardonic and even the sadistic side, but that he has it no doubt remains. For look at the dreadful spot in which he has got poor Bill Green.

All along critics have been saying that there was no real reason that the AFL and the CIO should not compose their differences save only the personal pigheadedness and ambition of Boss John Lewis and Boss Bill Green. And that these two all by themselves stood to wreck the labor movement in the United States, and to cause the general public no end of trouble and loss. We ourselves have said it many times. And Dorothy Thompson was saying it on this page yesterday. And so now up steps Boss John to say, with a perfectly solemn face, that if Bill will quit as head of the AFL, he'll quit as head of the CIO.

But Boss John must be chuckling cruelly in his soul. For what he has proposed contains this innocent little joker. Boss John himself is not paid the $15,000 a year he draws by the CIO but by the United Mine Workers of America, and so he can quit as president of the CIO without losing a penny of income. But Boss Green--a ca' canny Scotchman if ever there was one--is paid the $25,000 a year he draws by the AFL, and if he resigns as its President, oh, ouch, ouch, ouch, there goes that lovely fat salary, lock, stock, barrel, hoof, horns, and tail!

Rounder Jones

Out in Cayce, Ky., Sunday they unveiled a monument to the town's most celebrated son--that "Casey" Jones who sent the Illinois Central's crack train, "The Cannon Ball," roaring into a freight train at Vaughn, Miss., on April 30, 1900, and so came to immortal fame in the American ballad.

Casey, like Steamboat Bill and Jim Bludsoe ("I'll hold her noggin ag'in the bank till every galoot 's ashore!") and Buffalo Bill, is a hero of an order that exists no more. The old hell-burning sidewheelers move along sedately on the Mississippi now, and their kind is on its way to extinction. The West is gone, too. And if the trains are still with us, there is a difference. In those old days, they were romance and adventure and high craving. They came sweeping in--the embodiment of force without parallel in the experience of most, then--out of what was for all small boys and most grown-ups the Unknown, and went sweeping back into the Unknown again. At night you heard their great tread coming into town, most wonderfully window-shaking and clear in the vast quiet that was the nighttime in Southern towns then, and their whistling grief as they fled away through the hills. And it was all like a pageant of all the great cities, the strange and far places, of the earth, and the tale of man's passage out of mystery into light and back into mystery again.

And the men who drove them were like those men of the air we knew yesterday. Daredevils to the last jack, exulting in power and danger, and ready and eager to risk their necks by hurling their trains over crazy tracks under the last possible ounce of steam, that a schedule, four hours late, might yet somehow be made, or that a record might be set.

But it is all changed now. The trains are still with us, beautiful to hear and see now as always, yet, in the great din of modernity, in the swirl of power all around us, we hardly ever hear or see them anymore. And the men who drive them are matter-of-fact, safe-and-sane experts in machines--stout, useful fellows, all of them, but no more like Casey Jones than they are like the heroes of Homer's Iliad.

Jones says, "Fireman, don't you fret,
Keep knockin' at the fire door, don't give up yet;
I'm goin' to run her till she leaves the rail
Or make it on time with the South-bound mail!"

--Wallace Saunders, 1900 (a day before the birth of W. J. Cash)


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