The Charlotte News
Sunday, October 16, 1939
Site Ed. Note: This Sunday Cash would in his book-page column, "On Living Forever", lament the loss of Thomas Wolfe, as he had briefly mentioned on the afternoon following his morning death, September 15, in "A Tall Man Dies".
"Decline of the Male" may explain why in 1928 when Cash would walk ten miles each way to his fall job as editor of the fledgling newspaper in Shelby The Cleveland Press, he would also often begin a day by chopping some firewood, or at least so he said. Actually, there is something to it. Manual labor, they say, exercises the parts of the brain vesting vocabulary. Also strengthens the typing fingers. So, if you want to be a writer, go to chopping a cord or two. Or at least build some furniture, add to your house, or repair a few cars. It helps in many ways, besides just building vocabulary. As for spinach, we couldn't say. Never much ate the stuff ourselves.
"Without Comment" suggests perhaps the need at this rally staged at Columbus Circle in NYC of some sort of Cristobal, to foresee better what was to come--at least some Colón, perhaps, as enduement to what was a rather improvident suggestion. Ah, well, we can't all have a Christobal, can we?
The Mother Goose tale, "Bluebeard", may be read here. 'Tis a dastardly, dark thing though--yet with a happy ending for all save Bluebeard, and his former wives. Ah, well, couldn't be helped. Anyway, the thing started long ago, not, as 'twere, a mere few years ago, indeed even extending to royalty with Henry VIII and his Tower, not the dreadful doings, therefore, of only modernity. Which is not to say that there is any excuse for it in modernity. Indeed, even less. Moral: Want to chop up something, go buy a pig. Just don't get it drunk in the park first. In some locales, that would be deemed cruelty to animals. Just take it home, go chop, chop, you know, boil, broil, roast, barbecue or charcoal the little thing and get a little applesauce and collard greens on the side. Hmmm-hmmm. There you've a Sunday meal. But, as we've said before, you can have the feet. We had a nice neighbor from down New Orleans way once who used to enjoy providing us Sunday meals from her family's leftovers. It was Creole chow of the best variety. But the Sunday we got one nice big piggy hoof on the plate, we admit, we could not find any way to get the thing even so close as the fork. To the garbage with that, we went. We were later asked what we thought of it; we smiled,
In New York last week 45,000 people gathered in Columbus Circle to hear speeches in honor of Christopher Columbus. Among them were 15,000 Italo-Americans who had staged a parade through the streets in the scene.
Said Governor Lehman:
"Regardless of antecedents we are all Americans, cherishing the traditions of the older civilizations...--but never forgetting for a moment our exclusive allegiance to the United States. America can never tolerate divided loyalties. I am glad to speak to you because I know that we in spirit are actuated by a common ideal--undivided loyalty to America which no outside influence can ever weaken. We who love America should rededicate ourselves to a spirit of understanding, tolerance, good-will, patriotism and all embracing love for America."
If there was more than perfunctory applause for the Governor, the reporters failed to note it.
Then up got Salvatore A. Cotillo, justice of the Supreme Court of New York, to say:
I am glad it was Mussolini himself, more than any one man who intervened at the right moment and brought peace to the world. For that alone Mussolini deserves a place equal to that occupied by any world-renowned peacemaker!
The crowd went wild. And for many minutes the air rang with shouts of "Viva Mussolini!"
Afterwards got up a representative of the Mayor of New York, Fiorella LaGuardia, who has sometimes expressed dissent with the notion that Mussolini is a great and good man, to explain that the Mayor could not be present because he was confined to bed with a cold. And the crowd? At the mention of the Mayor's name, its cheers turned to uproarious boos and catcalls.
Decline of the Male
The combination of Indian Summer and harvest moon these last weeks has been dreadfully hard on the sedimentary class. The coincidence of the two is no accident by the design of Nature. The bright, dry days are for the in gathering of the harvest, for the accumulation of foodstuffs to last through the Winter ahead. And the nights--ah, the nights are for gaiety and rejoicing and feast.
In most of us in varying degree is an atavistic urge at this season of the year to be out of doors, to be doing physical labor, to be chopping a store of firewood, say, against the cold certain to come. And the loss of this direct contact with existence explains in part the decline of the masterfulness of the city male. The civilized fellow who brings home an oblong piece of paper-writing--"pay to the order of John Doe, $18.00"--isn't half the good provider and the visible mainstay of his family as the sweating husbandman who clumps into the house with an armful of good dry oak or who takes his two bales of cotton to the gin and comes home with sacks of flour and sugar and salt, a bolt of dress goods and the receipted bill from the time merchant. Food and clothing are satisfactions which flow directly from his and the earth's collaboration, and the relation is obvious. The city chap is an unheroic creature who does some vague something which the children know as "work," and the continuation of his pay check depends on the good will of a capricious tyrant spoken of as the "boss," not to mention the condition of "business."
In the aggregate it is the farmer, of course, the first-line force in the struggle to survive, whose lot is the most enviable. The price he must pay for his independence and his sufficiency is all too frequently the [indiscernible word] poverty, compounded with solitude. But he has his consolation. He is the unquestioned benefactor of his household, whose labor alone stands between him and his and want. And he has, too, a warmer contact with this Indian Summer and this harvest moon, and afterward he may rest a spell.
Enjoying Ill Health
To the Confederate patriots who have been so terribly, terribly hurt by Franklin D. Roosevelt's designation of our mythical province as Economic Problem No. 1, we recommend the report of the Duke University medical symposium on pellagra, anemia, malaria--and a fancy disease called amebiasis.
At Duke, great institution financed by a fortune in tobacco from Southern clay, the doctors reveal that poverty accounts for two of the chief maladies which have long plagued the South. Pellagra and anemia spring from lack of milk, lean meat, green stuffs. And malaria springs from mosquitoes--or, you might say, from poor housing with no screens on the windows. Amebiasis comes from one-cell animal organisms and causes dysentery--another diet problem.
A prescription: Dr. George Hoyt Whipple, one of the world's leading authorities on pernicious anemia, cites liver, kidney and other meat products as the best promoters of hemoglobin and red cells. Dr. Roosevelt has cited the South's inability to afford these succulent and nourishing dishes. But with one voice, almost, the prideful Southerners have shouted back, "Taint so! It's only our poor people who don't have enough to get along on!"
At Elmendorf, Texas a certain John Ball kept a tavern. Five women worked for him at different times. One by one they disappeared. Three weeks ago the police went to question him, whereupon he put a pistol to his head and blew out his brains. Since then, the dismembered bodies of two of the missing women have been dug up from shallow graves in the sands of the countryside, and the police confidently expect to find the other three so disposed of. A Negro servant of Ball's has confessed that the innkeeper forced him to help cut up the body of one victim and dig the grave.
All of which immediately puts you in mind of Bluebeard, whose gruesome story fills the story books of our childhood. As we know that story, it comes to us from Charles Perrault's Histoire et Contes du Tems Passe, published in the seventeenth century. But, as the title of that book suggests, it is far older, and belongs in fact to the common stock of folklore throughout Europe. The Brothers Grimm tell it in "The Feather Bird," in "Household Tales." In France, it is most often associated with Gilles de Rais, a celebrated murderer in the twelfth century. But sometimes it is carried back to Comorre the Cursed, a Breton chief of the sixth century.
In all these old tales, at which people through the centuries have sat shuddering while they were told by the Winter fire, there is undoubtedly the element of memory of precisely such crimes as those of Ball, the Texas innkeeper. Occasionally, somebody attempts to lay this sort of thing to "modern degeneracy," but in fact it is plainly as old as the race.
Open Letter to a Lady*
We promised a lady we'd write a piece about the Needlework Guild's drive for members. That was a week ago, and the drive is over.
Plain truth is, we forgot. And since forgetfulness is a chronic human failing, it may very well be that a number of people likewise forgot to join, and that this belated reminder will serve to bring them into the fold with two new garments or money for shoes (which must be fitted) on Ingathering Day, Oct. 26. If it works out that way, ma'am, may we obtain forgiveness?
Just Before the Battle*
The armistice between Business and the Administration, symbolized on the President's part by his press conference in which he had kind things to say about several utility companies--of all people--would be more reassuring were a session of Congress not coming on. At the moment, we can't think of a single thing the Administration is actively doing to business. Oh, taxes are sky-high, the Wagner Act is a source of irritation, the purges haven't been entirely forgotten, and the budget is in a terrible shape. Those are vexations, to be sure, but the country is getting more or less accustomed to them, and business, by George, is unmistakably perking up.
Can the peaceable interlude last? It is more than doubtful. As soon as Congress meets, the President will disclose his intentions toward business, and we know from six years experience that they are sure to be a little less than benign. Reorganization will be included, and that is bound to set Mr. Frank Gannett et al. to yowling furiously and calamitously. Then will come the budget message, which is virtually certain (a) to estimate a larger deficit than had been expected for the current year, and (b) to call for continued vast expenditures in the next year.
But in the meantime, all is quiet on the Washington front, Roosevelt is not so much the theme of bitter conversations, the stock market is going up and the football season is an exciting diversion.
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