The Charlotte News

Sunday, October 23, 1938


Site Ed. Note: Since it's football season, we can't desist from remarking on a game played yesterday, October 22, 2005, in Pulpit Hill, N.C., home of the Spartans. The Spartans won the affair against the Wahoos of upstate Virginia, 7 to 5.

Now, we've followed the Spartans a good while, in fact probably longer than most of you have even been breathing the fine air. But we had to search our memory banks through more presidential administrations than most of you have years to your credit in order to locate a score by either the Spartans or one of their opponents of five points, or even two or four, in a kick-a-poo punchball contest--though baseball, volleyball and soccer, bagattiway, that is le jeu de la crosse, too, we are sure, probably register a plentiful lot of them, in fact even may have been in a couple of jump-up-and-throw-at-net-an'-yahoo games back there, if memory to the four corners of yer globe is any attestation.

But, through a careful process of descrying the memories we possess, we finally thought of one, in kick-a-poo, that is. It was the last time it happened. Now we trust that it is no omen, but for those of you who are squeamish about superstition, you should avert your eyes from this cruel fact, or go stand under a ladder somewhere. For it was on the afternoon, and a warm one it was, too, lads and lassies--like as not we thought we would die out on Fetzer Field there--October 19, 1911. (That Fetzer, incidentally, not a hat, is about where they parked their cars in the dirt back in those hippie days of the 1970's, until they built the new library over it a couple of years ago. No, maybe that was a little longer than that.) Anyway, to put that in some perspective for you, that day was six months before the great ship H.M.S. Titanic sunk off the coast of Greenland. Willie Taft was our President, that scoundrel. Never did forgive old crook Harding for making him Chief Justice. His predecessor, Teddy Roosevelt, was a bit better, at least for a Republican. Now, we'll grant you that, while all those Republicans are a bit hazy, old W. J. Bryan left a little to be desired at times, though he was quite an orator. But his stands on making silver the standard basis for the monetary system sort of troubled some and, well, back in the sweltering summer of '25 when he argued out in Tennessee over the fate of John Thomas Scopes, the school teacher, old Darrow did make a bit of a monkey of him to be sure, proverbially speaking, that is. He was getting very old, however, by then. We felt a pang of sadness to be sure when we got the news that old Bryan was dead. He was a great one. So was Darrow. Anyway, regardless of all of that, we felt much the merrier when old Woodrow won us back the White House in '12, beating both Willie and Teddy at once. Huh. That showed those lilly-livers. Oh, me boys, did we ever celebrate that November night. (Since we had just lost to Georgetown 37 to 10, we had to find something to celebrate, after all.)

Well, anyway, that game in 1911, six months before the Titanic hit the watery bottom, was a real nail-biter for us. We beat Davidson in Charlotte 5 to naught. That same year, when we finished 6-1-1, proud to say, we beat the U.S.S. Franklin 12-zip, the whole danged ship; we do confess, however, that we had the advantage of the home field. Those boys might well have beaten the tar from us had we been forced to play them on decks. Could have been a little slippery.

Now for all you who don't remember those days, there were several five point games in that time, back before '11. The closest one to this 7 to 5 one yesterday was 5 to 6, a loss, we must report, to Kentucky on Halloween, 1903. We remember that one, too, pretty well, now that we mention it. We came dressed as a ghost. Had our brand new Model T with us. First time we came to Pulpit Hill other than by horse, you know. Must say, the ah-oo-ga really drew the eyes of the ladies. We had us some new moustache wax and that made us look nice and sharp. We were feeling mighty good that day, waving at everyone along Franklin, as they waved their parasols back at us. Only, when we got to the field where we had thought the game was to be, back there in the pines, danged if they didn't tell us it was in Greensboro. So we had to turn around, go back the way we came. Missed the whole first half, as the road wasn't so good in those days. Lots of slow Saturday wagons complicating matters even worse--fall harvest, you know.

On the way back home, the wheel fell off and went rolling on down the road ahead of us. Cotter pin fell out of the axle. But, we refastened her and went on back to Whynot, where we resided at the time. Got back around midnight. Got sidetracked on the way, though, out of Greensboro. Picked up a young lady in a white dress standing down by a railroad trestle there. All alone. Very wan young lady. Said she needed a ride just a ways on down the road. Still haven't figured it out. Drove down the winding horse trotter in the dark a ways, about fifteen, twenty miles. Took about an hour. Got carried away in talking about the old Spartans' history to her, the season of '92, you know, and all of the old games in Pulpit Hill and the good old times when Grover Cleveland was President and what not. Suddenly, it occurred to us that she hadn't said much of anything in a good while. Sort of figured she had maybe dozed on off somewhere around Climax. Well, the truth of the matter is that we just can't tell you what happened. Looked over and danged if she hadn't vanished into thin air. Now, we've probably told some boring tales in our time and put some folks fast asleep, to which some of you might be able to attest. But never had we seen one just up and disappear like that--poof, gone completely. Let alone in a moving automobile, moving along at a pretty good clip no less, at least for those days, 15 to 20 miles an hour, as we've said. We thought of turning back, making sure she hadn't fallen out somewhere back there, maybe around Pleasant Garden, or somewhere. But upon checking the doors, they seemed secure, and it was a little spooky, it being Halloween and all. And the lady did look a little ghostly, we admit. So we just put it out of our mind and drove on home.

But that wasn't half so bad of course as when the thing flipped on its side one afternoon about a year later while travelling to Saxapahaw. We will relate that one later, but suffice it to say for now that we were able to hop out and flip her back over. That was down around Cumnock, if memory serves. Those T's were agile, you know. You remember all that. Anyhow, finished the season 6-3, not bad, not bad, me boys.

Then, there was also the contest back when Billy McKinley was President. He wasn't too bad of a fellow. Can't talk ill of someone who had a premature demise like that, you know, and to an anarchist no less. Anyway, in that year, nearly to rival that score of yesterday, as far as the Wahoos go, the final was 6 to 2, November 24, '98--9-0 that year. Felt pretty good. Pretty danged good. Had a good turkey that year even if there was a danged Republican in the White House.

Now back in '97, when we were 7-3, there was a humdinger of a game though, 0 to 4 against Virginia Polytechnic, October 30. Got caught twice back in the end zone that day. Don't know what happened. Seems it may have been raining intermittently, now that the recollection is clearing somewhat.

Well, there's one more that deserves mention, against Trinity, of course. That one was 4 to 6, in '93 and another of the same score against them in '91. Bad couple of years there, lots of end zoning, 3-4 in '93 and 0-2 in '91, as we forfeited the opener to the Deaconate boys that year. Took a wrong turn and wound up in Lizzard Lick, or was that the time we wound up in Kipling? Anyway, wherever it was, the wagon broke down. Didn't have a spare wheel. It being Saturday, the blacksmith was home, name o' Cartwright, and, well, we almost didn't make it back for Monday classes, and we had a stern old professor in the Greeks who'd probably have flunked us all. Caught a ride though from a fellow, nice fellow, from up north. Said he was going by wagon out to the west and going to make his fortune making thinking machines. Seem to remember his name was Gates. Anyhow, he was funny.

Well, that's about all the five-pointers that we can recall offhand just now. Congratulations to the Spartans on yesterday's win. The Wahoos had been heavily favored. It was a defensive masterpiece, to be appreciated the more for the fact that two weeks aforehand the Spartans had broken a defensive record out in the state of Kentucky, near France--but we won't get into that as it is dim history now and we've forgotten it.

Whatever the case may be, perhaps, our Cristobal is working some magic, and will continue to do so.

We look forward to the celebration on Franklin at the end of the season.

If not there, perhaps then on board the U.S.S. Franklin.

Until then, one last thought and piece of advice: When the clock has run out and the piggy is rolling free, and in the hands of no one in particular save that of the wild breeze and its minstrelsy, stop kicking the poo. Next time, it could cost the whole game, otherwise well-won.

More Note: We apologize for the above. This old sea-salt--who says his name is Rameses II, King of all the Kenanites down by the Red Sea--comes by every now and then, mumbling about this and that, and asks to contribute and so we feel obliged. The things up with which we must put.

We re-print below the letter to the editor of this date offering praise to the editorial page. Indeed, Dowd and Cash and their support staff did a most remarkable job on limited material resources to make The News one of the finest editorial pages consistently produced in any community at any time, especially important to this crucial time in twentieth century history. So, having read through now about 2,500 of these editorials, about half of the ones produced during Cash's tenure as associate editor, we unreservedly join in the letter writer's praise for the journal. Our only questions being how the writer read the News and played tennis in the afternoon day sun all at the same time and whether he was wearing a wiggy hat. We shall have to consider that some and get back to you.

Endeavor we shall, come December, 2005, provided the hurricanes don't scuttle our boat on the high waves away out here, somewhere off the coast of Bermuda when last we looked at our compass, that is before the salt got to it, to put more of the fiftieth anniversary issue online, from early December, 1938, some of which is contained within the sixtieth anniversary edition which we put online a few years ago back when we were in port for awhile. (We always go to port at Christmas time. That way, we don't forget to remember to forget what dry land looks like.)

So, at any rate, now you know where the hot dogs are.

Hot Dog! The Editors Get A Special Compliment!

Dear Sir:

May we take this opportunity to congratulate your company upon its forthcoming fiftieth anniversary?

It seems that about everything has been said concerning the bigness of The News--worthiness of its stories, its staunch big-brothering of laudable enterprises and its constant battle for the underdog. All of which is true and more! It would seem indeed that everything HAS been said.

But hold! What about those intensely readable and well-written editorials that appear on your editorial page day after day and to which one instinctively turns? Aye, turns to them both as a stimulant and as relaxation after a tired and often irritating day spent among the city's courts--tennis or otherwise. Editorials that are never dry, however pungent they may be; and essays in prose, which, in other newspapers, would be content to point a ponderous moral without that saving dig of sly humor which so often takes away the shock of self-comparison.

Indeed! We congratulate you.


Robt. F. Moseley.


Further Note: Judging by that which follows, perhaps we are not doing all that badly, considering the dramatically increased number of motor vehicles on the highways and the increased speed of them, at least by average per mile, in fuel consumption compared to 67 years ago. Twelve miles per gallon average. No wonder the hurricanes were stirring angrily then, too.

Present gasoline consumption in the United States is 133 billion gallons per year, thirty times that in 1938--whoops, correct our read on that, 333 times. Maybe not so hot at that. It accounts presently for two-thirds of our oil consumption. California consumes 15.5 billion a year, slightly ahead of the next most consuming country behind the U.S., Japan. Then comes China at thirteen billion, Canada at 10 billion and Germany at 9.5 billion gallons per year. Most significantly, the U.S. emits more than 15 tons of carbon per person into the atmosphere each year, far more than any other country per capita. Only Canada, Saudi Arabia, and Australia rival us for that level of emission. Of the 138 countries around the globe, Eritrea is least consumptive of gas, a little over six million gallons per year. We're heading our boat there, as soon as we find its location on the map here. Of course, as the waters rise and warm with the steady melting of Santa's last refuge, not only will Santa come to town with a Bahamian suntan, driving a surrey pulled by oxen, but Eritrea no doubt will be flooding also, as our carbonized atmospheric warming unfortunately knows no boundaries as we twirl around daily in its midst. No place to which to run. Car won't take us there, anyway. Might need the Shuttle. And, while stocked with plenty of deck chairs, it doesn't come equipped with lifeboats, at least so they say. Saving grace may be Nature's cruelty itself, as the post-Katrina loss of refinery capacity may send costs of crude to $100 per barrel by 2007, some analysts predict. Meanwhile...

Hold On, Everybody!

All the automobiles and all the trucks in all of North Carolina, with all their long trips, their darting to and fro in traffic and their stopping and starting, ran up only 4,662,453,252 miles on the speedometer last fiscal year. Or so it is estimated by their gasoline consumption figured with an allowance of twelve miles to the gallon.

The statistic comes to us pridefully, as though the State Highway Department was impressed and not at all displeased with how many miles motor vehicles do travel. But shucks! Figures in billions no longer make the same old impact. "Bet a Million" Gates would have been a cautious man by today's standards.

You take the New Deal's daily Treasury report, now. There, millions are the lowest form of arithmetical life, and billions simple fractions. Why, the 4,662,453,252 miles that North Carolina vehicles ran up last year are less than twice as many as the 2,723,989,026 dollars that the New Deal has spent since last July 1. And anybody could run up 50 miles before breakfast most any morning, but we would like to see any considerable number of you get out and earn $50 in the same length of time.

Incidentally, the deficit for the current fiscal year has now cracked a billion.

Site Ed. Note: For the previous piece on this rather stupid set of humanity, see "Masochistic Mob", October 19. Guess, baseball being over, they had to go and do something.

A Stout Sheriff

In Cobb County, Ga., a white man and a white woman were killed by a Negro, and immediately the lynching spirit went on the rampage. Mobs scoured the territory, apparently bent on a victim--any victim. They came upon a Negro schoolhouse and burned it, which, as we have said before, was a little silly of them, seeing that they'll have to help pay taxes to replace it. And then--

Then Judge Hawkins, of the Cobb County Superior Court, asked Sheriff E. M. Legg to see if he couldn't find out who they were and arrest them. Whereupon, a most remarkable thing happened. By all the rules usually observed by Georgia sheriffs, Sheriff Legg should have carefully blind-folded himself and gone out into the country and ask a deaf, dumb, and blind man if he knew who the mobsters were, and come back to report sorrowfully to the judge that it just wasn't possible to find out anything. But Sheriff Legg didn't do that. Sheriff Legg set himself vigorously to work gathering names and evidence, and proceeded presently to clap a dozen men in jail on charges of "malicious mischief." And the sheriff is expecting, he says, to land a good many more men there before he's through.

These mobsters will have to be tried by a jury, and so it may be that they'll escape scot-free in the end. But all the same, Sheriff Legg is a man to take off your hat to. He is one sheriff in Georgia who has honest courage and respect for his oath of office.

Charity for the Year

An unfortunate concomitant of having delegated all charity to agencies staffed by career social workers is the loss of direct contact with the needy. This makes it easier on the self-sufficient citizen, to be sure, who can comfortably put out of mind what is out of sight, but it makes it harder to raise money. The solicitation once a year of the Community Chest cannot approach the old-time repeated personal appeal and poignancy, in effectiveness and, having been granted, in satisfaction.

Perhaps it is the function of an editorial writer to attempt vicariously to supply this lost touch, to describe with misty eyes the helplessness of little children, to indite a moving, earnest plea for succor to the ill, the hungry and that class of our people which has never had a chance. If so, we shall fail the assignment. It is not our style, and, besides, it can be done more to the tearful taste elsewhere.

The chief point in favor of organized charity is the very antithesis of playing upon the emotions. Assistance is given only where, as far as can be told, it will do good instead of harm. The community's charity needs are defined in the aggregate, not independently or intermittently, and the community's ability to supply these needs is appraised, and then, after the most rigorous elimination and revision by men and women who know the value of a dollar, the people of the community are asked to contribute.

No sob stuff, you see, but merely a job that has to be done and is done with a minimum of lachrymose display. But a tremendously important job, nonetheless, and one that cannot be shirked. This year it will require unusual generosity, more than ever before, but the alternative--well, there you would run into tears, real tears.

Declining France

The unhappiest country in the Western World today, save perhaps Czechoslovakia, is France. In front of her stands the new German colossus implacably demanding that she accept status as a second-rate power, submit to inferiority in the air and so leave her cities wide open to the fate that has come upon Spanish cities whenever the dictators shall decide to deal it out to them, and hand back the colonies she took away from the old German colossus when it undertook to destroy her twenty years ago. Behind her stands her supposed ally, Albion perfide, which has already jockeyed her into the position of standing alone on the Continent. And at home disaster and chaos hang suspended by a tiny thread. On the one hand, the Reds and the trade unionists systematically practice industrial and social sabotage. And on the other, the reactionary bankers and industrialists, imitating precisely those aristocrats in the ancien regime who precipitated the French Revolution, just as systematically practice sabotage--and at the same time make the Red doctrines spread like wildfire--by stubbornly refusing to give an inch.

She may survive, this Gaul, and sometime again raise her head. She has survived black days before. But the prospect is gloomy now, in all truth.

Site Ed. Note: For a map of China, marked as to the territory taken by the Japanese by 1944, see the note accompanying "Jap Threat", August 25, 1939.

Fall Of A Deserted City

On the face of it, the fall of Canton seems to testify conclusively to brilliant strategy on the part of the Japanese and the correctness of the modern tactics of the sudden blow by a small but highly mechanized and mobile army. For it does not appear probable that the Chinese intended to let the city go by default. It has been Chiang Kai-Shek's most important port of entry for arms. Moreover, its trade has been one of the great bulwarks of the Chinese economy, badly crippled by the loss of Shanghai and other northern ports. And the Chinese had large armies near the scene.

It is true, perhaps, that the small Southern Chinaman is not so warlike as the tall Northern Chinaman. But they have been among the best patriots to the republic.

Yet, if it is not probable that the Chinese deliberately abandoned Canton without a fight, it is possible. The city is located in the alluvial plain of the Pearl River some 80 miles from its mouth, and is most difficult to defend. Sooner or later, and far more certainly than Shanghai, it would have been bound to fall, and the presence of the Japanese in the neighborhood would probably have pretty well stopped the trans-shipment of arms, anyhow.

It is curious to read that the town's population, which is ordinarily about one million, had fallen to 50,000 when the Japanese came marching in. There once was another deserted town into which an army went marching--Moscow. And the fall of Moscow, apparently representing the triumph of Napoleon, actually represented the final triumph of the Fabian tactics--the tactics of forever retreating, and drawing the enemy farther and farther from his base. The Russians had it down pat.

All this is sheer speculation, of course, and yet-- The whole policy of Chiang Kai-Shek has its Fabian design, too. And whatever else, the fall of Canton means that the Japanese now have to attempt to operate at a distance of 3,500 miles from their home base, and at a distance of more than a thousand miles from Shanghai. More, they have to attempt to drive 700 miles into the interior of the Southern country. For Chiang's supplies are not cut off by the fall of Canton. He has been building a road, which is now complete or nearly so, from Yunnan, 700 miles northwest of Canton, and located only some hundred miles from the French Indo-China border, into Burma, lying northwest. Burma, of course, is British and arms can be fetched up the Irawaddy (the celebrated "Road to Mandalay") and thence overland to Yunnan. There is a little railroad from the French Indo-Chinese port of Haiphong to Yunnan which may be used for the same purpose.

Maybe Kai-Shek is, after all, a shrewd old fox. And if the Chinese spirit holds up, their cause may not be lost if Hankow falls next. For if you look at a map of the Chinese Republic, you'll see that the whole extent of the territory the Japanese will hold even then is no more than one bite in a dismayingly large apple. And every effort to take more bites will simply mean more and more armies and longer and longer and ever more perilous lines of communication.

Site Ed. Note: Once, somewhere in time, along about a third of the way through '33 it was, maybe, we plucked a message from a fortune cookie after a nice meal in a restaurant, maybe out in the San Francisco Bay, maybe in the South China Sea. We don't quite recall. Anyway, it read: "Pilgrim, enjoy your memories, for they are, after all, at the end of the day, all you have--and life is largely what you make of them."


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