The Charlotte News

Tuesday, July 25, 1938


Site Ed. Note: "Investment in Charlotte" gives us pause again to ask the question why, as reported by history, the young John F. Kennedy came south to Charlotte, of all places, between 1939 and 1941, for his health. We ask the question innocently, from the standpoint of admiration for the late President, not as part of the coterie of revisionists bent on destroying any facet of his memory they reckon they might can to sell something, recognizing in the process that he was, as are the rest of us presumably, mortal; but rather asking the question instead for another reason, one which suggests in its premises, if taken as true, an assumption of both honor and reason behind these visits to Charlotte.

Anyway, as we have before suggested, we suspect that it was not so much for his health. Anyone who has ever experienced the boiling humidity of a typical Charlotte summer day, or the chill of a winter's, could undoubtedly and uncheerfully attest that the nearby town of Boiling Springs did not acquire its name from any hot springs health spa.


"We Grow Archaic" reminds us that we probably grow even more distant from such archaism as that suggested curmudgeonly by the editorial. We are reminded of that old song, itself now practically archaic, which goes, "It doesn't pay to be too hip..."

Ourselves, when we were but little tykes, vaguely understood that there were these old black kettles and that the pots would often call them by their shade without bothering to look in the mirror. It wasn't because our mama had any as utensils. But rather: For one, there was a heavy replica with a bronzed lid which sat on our hearth, a source of olde curiosity to our young eyes; second, we viewed the real McCoys by the hearths while touring on occasion the old colonials of the South. And that in a time, when as the aforementioned song suggested, the phrase took on a whole new connotation, one which we chose to ignore, hip derivation of which unknown and unfathomable probably, except perhaps that when indulged it produces, in the eyes of the third person observer anyway, a kind of judgment capacity similar to that either, depending on the progress of the cooking time, of a far too frenetic or all too complacent child bubbling over--a child of about age seven, and one possessed of a thought jangle which resembles something of a stew within the bubbler.

And once, we note, conventional wisdom had it that Vietnam and Laos were considered the keystones to the Communist sphere of influence in Southeast Asia and that Southeast Asia was a key stepping stone to control of the broader Pacific rim thus thought to afford a repeat performance of that attempted by the Japanese leading on, in concert with their empire kings of western Europe, to World War II.

In any event, Man gave names to all the animals, in the beginning, long time ago. There was one submachine with a glass hull and its Bull-cane which disappeared in the sand near a tree by a Lake...

Bright Morning

The morning came up fair and brave. Falling through the air washed clean by the long rains, the sunlight was no longer the deep yellow of high Summer but the pale gold of early Spring. And in that clear light, the trees, grown bright green again, buildings, spires, all outlines, stood up with eerie distinctness. Wisps of cirrus clouds floated under the vault of the sky, arching very high now in pale blue with the far lift of immensity. Birds sang again their old surprise and relief that the great wolves of the heavens had not, after all, really eaten up our lord, the sun.

Pot and the Kettle

Governor George Earle's call on the Pennsylvania Legislature to take the investigation of charges against himself and his administration out of the hands of a "judicial dictatorship" hath a most curious ring about it. After all, the Governor and thirteen of his associates are charged with "conspiracy to cheat and defraud the commonwealth, blackmail, and extortion"--all high crimes. And if the courts aren't the proper place to try charges of high crimes, we don't know when they ceased to be. Moreover, the Legislature of Pennsylvania is dominated by Governor Earle's own henchmen. And that being so, it seems more than probable that, as in the case of Huey Long in Louisiana, the body would never really get around to drawing impeachment charges against the Governor, and that, if by some miracle it did, the outcome would be simply another whitewash.

And yet--and yet--we aren't perfectly sure that the Governor himself may not have some ground for his claims, too. We wouldn't go so far as to say that we believe outright that he is correct when he declares that the courts are in the hands of Republicans and anti-New Dealers primarily interested in discrediting him. But we can't go so far as to say that we are positive it isn't true, either.

The whole spectacle is most discomforting and alarming for friends of decent government. Here is an entire state in which, as in Louisiana and New Jersey, one can no longer feel perfect confidence in the integrity of any branch of the government. And, incidentally, it is to be observed that the state calls itself the Keystone State...

We Grow Archaic

We put a caption on an editorial, "Pot and the Kettle," and suddenly hauled up to wonder if the newer generation would understand the old stock phrase. When we were very young, and for a thousand years before, that thing summed up something in crisp and graphic fashion. For in those innocent days, pots and kettles were by definition iron contraptions, which were always and incurably black. There may have been a few tin pots and kettles around for novelties, but everybody understood what you meant pronto. But now, lookit. The modern kitchen with its enamel and chromium plate and bright colors, looks like the inside of a Nuremberg toy shop. And even the pots and kettles you buy at the dime stores are bright and shining things that might almost double for silver. Maybe there are kids about who still understand the old black pot-and-kettle metaphor, but there must be hundreds in Charlotte who have never seen such utensils.

Just as, in all probability, not one Charlotte kid out of 25 has ever seen that curious creature, a goose. Who eats a goose now save a few exceedingly old-fashioned people? And who keeps a goose to lay eggs and furnish feathers for beds? And what do these modern kids make out of such phrases as "What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander," or "His goose was cooked?" Up in New York the other day, they showed a lot of kids who were perfectly familiar with the sight of lions, tigers, elephants, and zebras at the zoo, a strange animal they had never seen before. It was a cow. And now the very language itself is going to have to be remade.

Investment in Charlotte*

Today there begins a whirlwind campaign to raise in cash $100,000-plus for the proposed Charlotte Memorial Hospital. By now, surely, everybody understands the vital necessity of such a hospital from the standpoint of the practice of medicine. There is something else which, if not of commensurate importance, will have its appeal for a community in which the Mcs and the Macs take up 25 pages in the city directory. That is the high desirability of maintaining the dominant position of this city commercially.

Can anyone doubt that the Charlotte Eye, Ear & Throat Hospital, for example, has been a factor in the mercantile development of the city? Not one who has ever dropped in at that specialized institution on a Saturday or any afternoon and seen the unmistakable out-of-towners congregated there. For miles around they come, whole families, and having to make the trip, many of them put it to the secondary use of a shopping expedition. It probably is a fact that this one clinic could never have grown to anything like its present proportions on a practice confined largely to Charlotte.

And it probably is a fact that the city can never realize its potentialities as the established center of the Piedmont Carolinas unless it is prepared to offer the very accommodations and services which are expected of a center. A complete hospital, the last word in medical science, is one of those services. On that basis alone it is worth whole-hearted support.

Galapagos--World's End

The Galapagos Islands to which the Houston is speeding President Roosevelt lie on the equator some 600 miles west of the coast of Ecuador, to which country they belong. There are half a dozen big islands and numerous smaller ones, and altogether their area comes to about 2,000 miles. Despite their location they are not unduly hot, but the whole population is only about 500.

They are famous in the world, not for any beauty but for their curious fauna, which Charles Darwin first described a hundred years ago in the "Voyage of the Beagle." The place is the chief home of the giant tortoise. And though thousands of these have been killed for their shells, the sands and the paths to the water holes back in the hills still swarm with them very much as they did when Darwin looked upon the scene. There are two forms of giant lizards, neither of which is found elsewhere on earth, some of which grow to be six feet in length. And there are dozens of species of birds which are peculiar to the islands. There are some, indeed, which are peculiar to one or the other of the islands alone--a fact which is one of the standing riddles of biology.

The Maverick*

It sort of leaves us sad to hear that Maury Maverick has been licked by a fellow who ran on a platform which seems to have consisted of yelling "Red!" and will sit no more in Congress.

Maury is no Red, of course. He is simply the incarnation of what his family name has come to mean, a fellow who is strictly himself. In his career in the House, he often gave us a pain in the neck, for he was sadly addicted to going off half-cocked. But all the same we respected him, and so did everybody else. If his championship of the underdog sometimes took a dubious turn, yet nobody had any doubt that it was honest to the core, and was sure that he was not playing up to his constituency. He was one of the best protagonists of civil liberties the country has had, carrying his devotion to them to the point of defending the rights of the German-American Bund which he roundly hated.

In short, the man had real integrity and a bold and untrammeled spirit. And those qualities are rare enough in Congressmen.

Site Ed. Note: Of vets and other illusions...

By the way, upon another thought, we recollect that instead it had a brass hat.

We should report also, for completeness, that, mid-nineteenth century, there was a tinsmith in the little village of Salem, N.C. who maintained a large coffee pot as a sign outside the shop. (The pot was so big that it could have held fifty cups of coffee a day for probably forty days and forty nights and you would still be soaked to your knees in caffeine by the end of it.) Story goes that during Sherman's final tally through the piedmont region of the state, on his way to the last meeting of the war over by the Duke woods, some young Confederate straggler, trying to make his way home in one piece, took refuge in the pot so as not to be taken prisoner; (probably being as good a place as any to hide after a war). Anyway, some of the City Fathers, thinking the thing did not quite fit in to the colonial setting they sought to re-strike for the village, yet also realizing its traditional signficance, decided, sometime around 1960 or so, to move the thing a few blocks north, to a little grassy green at the edge of the place, just outside the recast village, to remain there as a little curiosity at which to be wondered by the whole of the entrants to it, we suppose.

And it all reminds us of another stock phrase, at least around our house, something to be avoided at all costs--the "horse-pistol".

Speaking of which, what's the latest line on Barbaro?


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