Friday, July 30, 2010

CIRCUS LEMONADE; by Myrtle Jamison Trachsel; part 3; 1929

"Wait!" commanded the lemonade man. "The fire's out now and this boy hasn't had his lemonade."

He poured what was left into the big dipper and handed it to Jimmie. A crowd of circus people had gathered. Said the lemonade man, "There isn't a bit of water around this berg, and I don't know that I would have thought to use the lemonade if this boy hadn't dumped his glass on it the moment he saw the fire."

"Here, son," said the balloon man, "have a balloon. Have two of them."

The side-show man caught Jimmie's arm. "Come see the thinnest man on earth. Won't cost you a cent."

Jimmie went with him, his balloons in one hand and his lemonade in the other grimy fist.

"Here have some peanuts to take along with you," said the peanut man, as he stuffed a sack of nuts into each of Jimmie's pockets.

When he came out of the side show he found the elephant trainer waiting for him. The man was very much excited. "I don't think you know how bad it would have been to have fire break out in the hay at the elephants' feet. We have them chained but they could get away if they wanted to, and they certainly would have broken away if they had seen that fire. Come on in and see them."

Jimmie went gladly. There were only three elephants and they were not very large, but Jimmie thought them very fine indeed. When he had seen all the animals it was time for the elephants to go in and preform. Jimmie rode one of them in. It was very exciting, sitting up so high and feeling the great beast lumber along. Afterwards Jimmie saw the rest of the acts. He was sure it was the most wonderful circus in the world.

When it was all over he ran all the way back to town for fear his father would be waiting for him.

"Why, Jimmie, where have you been? I heard about the circus and came back almost at once. I wanted you to see the circus."

"Oh, I saw it."

"How could you when you had only a nickel?"

"Well, I bought circus lemonade with my nickel and they gave me the rest. Don't you see?"

His father did not see, but he understood well enough when he had heard the whole story. He said, proudly, "I see I have a boy who can use his head as well as his arms and legs."

Jimmie was not listening. He was thinking of the wonderful afternoon.

"It was very good," he murmured.

"What was?--the circus?"

"Yes, and the circus lemonade."

Monday, July 26, 2010

CIRCUS LEMONADE; by Myrtle Jamison Trachsel; part 2; 1929

No, that would not do. Jimmie went back to the entrance of the big tent. Perhaps if he stood there long enough the wind would blow the flap again and he would get a better view of the elephant. Then he heard someone crying, "Pink lemonade! Right this way for your circus lemonade. Al-l-l you can drink for a nickel!"

Jimmie looked at the great bowls of pink lemonade beside him.

"Try a little, son? Ice cold. Only a nickel a glass."

Jimmie hesitated a bit and then put his nickel down on the lemonade counter. He was very warm. The first sip made him feel better. He would drink it very slowly and not mind missing the circus--at least not very much.

A couple of young men hurried to the big tent. One stopped to throw away his cigarette. When Jimmie looked down he saw a thin finger of smoke in the hay that had been kicked out of the tent by the elephants. The hay blazed.

"Look!" cried Jimmie. "Fire!"

Even as he cried out he dashed his lemonade onto the flame. The fire died down for a second and then leaped again, racing along the bit of hay to the edge of the tent. The man behind the counter threw a dipper full of lemonade at the flame and missed it. He leaped over the counter, caught up one of the huge glass jars and poured the contents over the fire. The blaze died down, and others hurrying up, stamped it out. But a thin tongue of flame had escaped to one side. It sprang up and caught the flap of the tent on fire. Someone grabbed up the other jar of lemonade and poured most of it on the tent flap and the hay beneath.

Friday, July 23, 2010

CIRCUS LEMONADE; by Myrtle Jamison Trachsel; part 1; 1929

Jimmie did not know about the circus when he asked his father if he might wait for him at the court-house square. His father did not know about the circus when he gave Jimmie a nickel to buy a sack of popcorn, and told him to amuse himself until five o'clock.

Webster was a small place, but there were always people passing along the street by the court-house, and Jimmie thought it much more fun to watch them than to do the errands with his father. Today there seemed to be more people passing than ever before and they were all going in one direction. This seemed strange to Jimmie. There were people in automobiles and people on foot, all hurrying along.

Two boys passed and Jimmie heard one of them say, "I worked all week to get enough money to see the circus."

The circus! Jimmie had never seen a circus, for he lived far back in the Ozark hills of Arkansas, but he knew what a circus was. He jumped up, clutching the nickel in his hand, and went along with the crowd. Not until he came in sight of the big tent did he stop to think that a nickel was not a great deal of money. One could not see a circus for a nickel.

People were hurrying into the big tent. The flap whipped back in the wind and Jimmie caught sight of a large elephant. He knew what it was because he had looked at pictures of elephants and had thought and thought about them. His mother had told him about the trained elephants of the circus. How he did wish he could see them perform! But there was no use crying about it.

"Right this way, ladies and gents! See the fat lady. See the walking skeleton. The fattest woman on earth--the thinnest man."

A few people turned to the small tent and Jimmie went with them. The pictures of the fat lady and the thin gentleman were very interesting. Perhaps he could see them.

"Come one, come all! 'Twill cost you one thin dime, only--one thin dime or two round nickels."

Monday, July 19, 2010


When city people find themselves in a time of depression, they are certain to sound the cry, "Back to the Land." We hear it now, and there are serious proposals to work out plans for moving large numbers of unemployed out of industrial centers and locating them on farms.

That is not strange, for as the city man out of work looks forward he sees that the man on the land still has his job. It may not pay as much as it should, but it is a permanent job at any rate. And he also sees that the family on the land is at the very source of the food supply and more certain of enough to eat than any other family.

But the city man who never lived on the land does not understand this important fact--that to make a successful farmer you have to start with a capable man who loves the land, train him through many years, give him a wide range of experiences, and provide him with a helpmeet and family who likewise love the soil and to labor with it.

In the procession of those who set out from the city to the farm will be some who will find joy and a reasonable measure of success in farming. But there will be many more who will be foredoomed to failure from the beginning,--men much like this one: He used his savings to make part payment on a forty-acre farm. Before he put up house or barn, he stretched his credit to buy a tractor. That done, he had neither money, credit nor knowledge to do anything more. And so he retired from farming, right then and there,--and went back to the city for life.

The present agitation for a "back to the land" movement is not likely to mean much to farm folks, one way or another. If the stranger who comes into your community to try his hand at farming truly belongs on the land, you'll soon find it out, and you'll be glad that he came; if he doesn't, he'll soon find it out, and he'll be glad to go.

Friday, July 16, 2010


June is bride and groom month. Red roses and happy hearts belong to the spring-time. Thousands of beautiful brides and plain looking grooms will, this month, attempt the rather difficult and divine task of establishing their homes.

Marriage requires great loyalty to make of it a great success. It should never be undertaken in any other purpose than for a life task. A bystander watching a great artist paint said, "I would give my life to paint like that." The artist replied, "That is just what it has cost me."

Cheap ideals of marriage will always result in bankruptcy of the heart and home.

I do not know who wrote the following sentences, but they are the best that I have ever seen. I send them out to all brides and grooms, young and old, with my blessing.

1. Never both be angry at once.
2. Never taunt with a past mistake.
3. Never forget the happy hours of early love.
4. Never meet without a loving welcome.
5. Never talk at one another, either alone or in a crowd.
6. Never speak loudly to one another unless the house is on fire.
7. Let each one strive oftenest to yield to the wishes of the other.
8. Let self denial be the daily aim and practice of each.
9. Neglect the whole world besides rather than each other.
10. Never let the sun go down upon any anger or grievance.
11. Never allow a reasonable request to be made the second time.
12. Never make a remark at the expense of the other. It is meanness.
13. Never sigh for what might have been, and make the best of what is.
14. Never find fault unless it is certain that a fault has been committed, and
always speak lovingly.
15. Never part for the day without loving words to think of during the absence. Short words at morning make long days.
16. Never let any fault that you have committed go by until you have confessed it
and are forgiven.
17. Never forget that the nearest approach to a Heaven on earth is where two souls
rival each other in unselfishness.
18. Never be contented until you know that both are walking in the straight and
narrow road.
19. Never forget that marriage is ordained of God, and that His blessing alone can
make it what it ought to be.
20. Never let your human hopes stop short of the home eternal.

The practice of these maxims my not make every home happy, but it will go far to accomplish that perfect goal.

Monday, July 12, 2010

THE DIARY OF A DISTRACTED MOTHER; by Sally Sod Herself; part 5; 1927

THURSDAY. Well, Mary Anne, I surely opened my mouth and put my foot in it today. I can't help thinking how my brother used to say there Was no connection whatever between my tongue and my brain, that my tongue was fastened in the middle and wagged at both ends. Now I believe every word of it.

I wanted to go away this afternoon but my good man looked dubiously at the tire.

"It'll blow out before you can make a very long drive," he said. "You better wait another day. I'm going away with the truck and haven't time to change it."

After he was gone I went out and looked at the tire. It didn't look bad to me so I got ready and went anyway. Got all the way there and within a mile and a half of home when Bang--Chester surely knows tires. I drew up to the side of the road and began to debate with myself.

"Try to change it alone? Walk home and leave my four little ones in the car on a cement road? Wait for some one to come to help?

I didn't know what to do. A car drove up behind ours and stopped. I got out my very best smile and smiled it right in the face of my own husband. Yes, it was the very man I married. But worst of all...

"O, is it you?" I said. "I was just wishing some good-looking man would drive up and help me."

Now that was all wrong. He wirelessed me one look more eloquent than words.

"Pile yourselves into the truck," he answered, "and see if you can get home on these four tire. I have LOTS of time now. Only 5:30, all the chores to do, ten cows to milk, supper to eat and get to the milk meeting at 8:00 sharp.

FRIDAY. "Seeing as how" this was the day for the debate, I made up my mind I would go to see how my boy could perform. I took the car and drove to school. Got there a little early and had a chance to look around. I found it was the same old thing in the same old way. A large assembly room, one teacher in charge, paper wads, whispers, smiles, frowns, and snickers--but you remember how it was.

Then came the pep meeting. I had an awful time trying to keep myself under control. Songs--yells--songs--and then some--until I just wanted to yell myself. But, no, I mustn't forget my resolution. Pat me on the back, will you? I kept still. But when they gave that old time ONE-A-ZIP, A TWO-A-ZIP, A-THREE-A-ZIP-A-ZAM I just wanted to shriek.

A few words by the superintendent, the speakers were introduced and the debate was on. It was very interesting, of course. But at last the third speaker on the negative side was called--There stood Elery. He stood so long--Eternity it seemed. Would he never speak? Had he forgotten? Then: "Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen"...He gave me one quick glance and I looked down. I didn't want him to be excited on my account. So I decided not to look but to listen. My eyes burned. My throat was dry. With my whole body, mind and soul I said, "Please, Lord, don't let him forget a single word."

I wonder when I looked again. Once more he looked me in the eyes and I heard, "I thank you." What--Done so soon?

Next came the rebuttal. When Elery spoke again, I was calmed down so I could enjoy it. But, O, those few minutes of suspense before the judges handed in their decision. Then the chairman said:

"The decision is three to nothing in favor of (cough, cough, cough) three to one in favor of--the negative side.

Was that a Pep meeting before? Then what was this? Every one yelling, laughing, slapping each other on the back. The teachers couldn't keep order and didn't try.

It was over. I was only too glad to slip out the back way and home.


Friday, July 9, 2010

THE DIARY OF A DISTRACTED MOTHER; by Sally Sod Herself; part 4; 1927

FRIDAY. Just my luck--every time. My cleaning. As my Big Bunch were at school and only my Little Kiddies, my good man and myself here, I thought I would stir up some pancakes for dinner. Then when we were ready to eat, in walked my brother-in-law. His wife was gone so I asked him to have dinner with us. Of course I felt a little foolish over pancakes at noon. Next my cousin, whom I had not seen in two years, dropped in bringing her two boys to spend the day with us.

Then to cap the climax, Aldrich's car broke down in front of the house. Of course there was nothing to do but ask them in. They were both cold and hungry. So I asked them to draw to and have some fodder. Well, Mary Anne, they did. I know I baked a bushel of pancakes. SAUSAGE, PANCAKES AND SYRUP. Get thee behind me, Satan, and don't show up around here again.

SATURDAY. Just another Saturday, Mary Anne. You'll soon get used to them. The boys' school suits to clean and press, shoes to polish, heads to wash and once again to see that every button is in place. One cake baked, six dozen fried-cakes, 10 loaves of bread. Not so bad. Not so bad.

SUNDAY.I never saw those girls of mine so eager to help to get just everything done--even the despised dusting. Dinner nearly ready, a rap at the door. Here were four schoolmates of the girls and how they laughed! They had been invited in as a surprise for me. Well, those fried-cakes saved the day.

MONDAY. O Mary Anne, what do you suppose? You can't guess. I am just too happy for words. When Elery got home from school today, he stood around acting a little guilty I thought.

"I made the team today," he said.
"Yes, I mean it." And he went to change his clothes. Just think Mary Anne, only fourteen and a Junior in High School and third speaker on the debating team. I had just finished my washing and was so tired when he made the grand announcement. But it took the tired out of my back, the ache out of my legs and the mist from my brain.

TUESDAY. Mary Anne, it seems strange, doesn't it? that boys will get to talking about cooking. I have always prided myself on the fact that I feed my family balanced rations, three times a day. But O, that Jimmie of mine! He said the boys got to betting on what they would have for supper.

"I told them," he said, "we would have 'just the same for supper tonight as we had last night.'"

"Well you see we didn't." I answered. "We have carrots and cup cakes different."

"But I didn't tell 'em that when they asked me what we had. I said 'Flap jacks, slippery jacks, limberger, hamburger, eggs a la golden rod, pig-in-a-blanket, sauerkraut, a cold bottle and pop corn.'"

"Jimmie, what ever made you say such a thing?"

"Well, I like variety."

"And so do I when it doesn't vary from the truth."

"Shucks," he answered, " I like variety in various forms."

WEDNESDAY. Doesn't it seem awful? Just when you are trying to do your very best something happens that shows how you stand. Tonight when I tucked my lambies into bed I kissed them and heard their, "Now I lay me down to sleep..." Then I added, God bless Pa and Ma and us children and make us all good." But that Junior--What did he say? Just listen to this:

"God bless Pa and Ma and make 'em good. The rest of us are good enough--Amen--Thanks--Good-night--Blow--out--the lamp. I'm a big boy now 'n' not afraid in the dark."

Monday, July 5, 2010

THE DIARY OF A DISTRACTED MOTHER; by Sally Sod Herself; part 3; 1927

SUNDAY. Dear Diary, I think I shall call you Mary Anne so you will seem a little more human. Nothing much to say. Sunday peace and quiet--just as I like to have them.

MONDAY. A glorious day. And O, how I hated to defile it with work. But of course that was the case. At supper time I always get the report of all the wrong-doing of my children.

"Say, Ma," Jimmie said, "Leora was late."

"I was not."

"You were and you know it. Twenty minutes."

"I was not. I got in just after the last bell rang. So there."

"Well, you were late. Why, we were singing."

"Yes and it was the first song, too, because it was America."

"Yes," said Louise, "that's right. Because I looked around when Leora came in and we had only just got to the sweet land of Liberty."


What, O, what, ever possessed me to try a new recipe when I was expecting company--when I had other true and tried old ones? Never again. That recipe looked so good I could just taste it. And I tried so hard and it looked so nice until it was cut and then--Well, I've had failures with cakes before. But today--That was my masterpiece of them all. From now on my motto shall be old recipes for my friends and new ones for my own beloved family.

THURSDAY. O Mary Ann, I'm in Dutch again. Why can't I calm down and be a dignified old married woman as a mother of ten children should be? I knew Louise was angry when I saw her come stamping down the road from school today. The first I heard from her was:

"Say, Ma, you made a fool out of me."

"How come?"

"Today Teacher asked if any one could give a Mother Goose jingle 'n' I raised my hand 'n' she called on me. So I got up and gave Old Mother Hubbard 'n' she laughed. So did all the rest of them. 'N' Mr. Riley...If you could have heard him...He just roared 'n' roared."

And then I remembered--that piece of foolishness I had said to her. But surely I hadn't meant any harm to my own children. One day when we were having a ton of fun I spoke that piece for them--with variations, of course. But I'll never be able to explain it to Louise. I said it this way:

"Old Mother Hubbard,
She went to the closet
To get her poor girl a dress,
But when she got there
The closet was bare
So the poor girl had to wear her kimono."

But Mary Anne, I ask you--just stop and consider--I am chairman of the entertainment committee for the Parent-Teacher Association to be held next week and I have already asked Mr. Riley to speak to us. I said to him, "Give us something funny. Don't be too serious." That man is a clown. He can keep a roomful laughing with the least effort of any one I ever saw. Next Wednesday night if he dares to mention Mother Goose Rhymes--as I'm afraid he will--I know I shall just evaporate. I'll order him shot at sunrise or boiled in oil at dusk.

Therefore I do solemnly affirm that from now on henceforth and forever more I shall be a calm, dignified, solemn, stern, old woman as a mother of ten should be and never again shall be reckless in words and actions. Signed, sealed and sworn to before me, to take instant effect from now on to the day of my death.

Friday, July 2, 2010

THE DIARY OF A DISTRACTED MOTHER; by Sally Sod Herself; part 2; 1927

THURSDAY. Celia will soon be old enough to go to school. So I put up her lunch and let her go and visit today. The others told me she behaved very well. When she came home she put me to the test first.

"Ma," she asked, "do you know how to find least common pernominator?"

I know I had to find the least common denominator at school. But after all these years I had to stop to think and then she said:

"Bosh, Ma, you're just like the kids at school. They can't find it either."

"How did you like the teacher?" I asked.

"All right," she answered "only she doesn't know much. All she did was to ask questions and the kids had to know the answers."


"Sewing sewing over this blooming cloth
And many a crooked seam I'll rip
Ere you're a coat again."

With all due apologies to the author of "Sailing." I may not be long on rhyme and rhythm but I feel a great deal more like bursting into song tonight than I did this afternoon. Diary, you know I don't mind sewing on new cloth when I have a good pattern but O, this kind--when you rip up, cut down, clean, turn, dye, press and make over. Anyhow Marie has a new coat--"the very latest model, my dear." Now to set the bread as tomorrow is the big day.

SATURDAY. Well, Diary, what did you think of it? I certainly had my eyes opened. Yes, the club met here. Ten girls the ages of our Leora and Marguerita. Wasn't it awful? Cats. Cats. Every one of them. From the time they first arrived, all the absent ones were discussed. And not much was said in their favor either. I served lunch so I had to leave them for a time. But when I heard their sweet young voices raised in song I just had to stop and listen. Such songs--I heard my old favorites burlesqued almost beyond recognition. First they sang:

"My Bonnie leaned over the gas tank
The depths of its contents to see.
She lighted a match to assist her--
O, bring back my Bonnie to me."

Followed by:

"Just behind the battle, Mother
I am eating Irish stew.
I ate the meat all up, dear Mother
And left the bones for you."

Next they sang Marching Through Georgia. But did they march from Atlanta to the sea? No. They danced the Charleston from Atlanta to the sea. When I asked who composed their songs, there was on big laugh. I must see these girls' mothers. If there is to be such a club it should be for some good instead of just foolishness.