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Two of Nine



You cannot put a great hope into a small Soul2    

Smallest newspaper in the world and the only 5 page one.

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Packet 2 of Pouch 9

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This paper is not entered as 2nd class mail. It's a first class newspaper.

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Published at Fort Oliver
Four Times a Year
But sometimes they don't have them.
Darned if I am going to the trouble of mailing it for nothing
10 Years ................... $10.00
100 Years                 $100.00
This offer expires when I do

Pack Rat
Asbestos editions will be forwarded
in case you don't make it.

Published by
H A R R Y   O L I V E R
1888 — 1999

Fort Commander
Lamp Lighter

Pack Rat


    Something made out of nothing is nothing.

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    Never lie unless it is absolutely convenient.

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    It is usual to associate age with years only because so many of us somewhere along in what is called middle age stop trying.—Henry Ford



Pack Rat


    A woman in New York City who grows cactus as a hobby subscribed to the Palm Springs Desert Sun. Whenever the paper's weather report forecasts rain, she waters her cactus.

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Liminatin' Lem

    There's nothing like hard work—and would not it be terrible if there were.—Say Lem.
    Lem was asked if he liked music, his brief answer was, "well of all the noises, I think music is the least disagreeable."


    How to be a happy Editor—heres how—first you start your own paper—avoid lofty ideals—don't even have a fixed date of publication—and make sure your "over-head" is only your own keep and (maybe some pet food). This I did and I am the whole staff of this paper—so have the say about what I print.
    I have just gotten some more proof we old timers were the 'really's' in most everthing by reading a 'AP' story in the Riverside Enterprise . . . "Theory Wrong . Bull-Whip Myth Finally Cracked' . . . this story tells me that my old friend "Wiffletree"—(See page 3), and his whippersnappering had been abusting the sound barrier for over 60 years before them flyers.
    I am using his story "Wiffletree Carries the Mail" again . . . I have used it in this paper years ago, and in about 4 of my daily columns, 2 times on the air . . . it is in 2 of my books and Bennett Cerf use it in his column in "This Week" . . . all this without the 'sound barrier' faze.
    So I give you the story again, and because I was "up-on-my-toes" I bill myself for the price of a fifth of whiskey, . . . sipping which I think back to the "Don Q", days I was with Dug Fairbanks, Sr. as he worked days and days with that World famed athlete from Australia "Snowey Baker" . . . whippersnapping all over the United Artist Studio Lot.
    These were wild times . . . I remember one time my buttock was a bit late getting through a door . . . and to think, it was a "Sonic Boom" . . . the seat-of-my-pants used as a zone to break-the-sound-barrier. . . . "Gee", to think, today of the distinction, glory and fame I should of had.

Just call me old-faster-than-sound-Oliver.


The smallest newspaper not to be rubbed out—


    News-stands will sell it for "Only One Lousy Thin Dime"—but only the many stands that have sold it the last 'Eleven Years',—no new placing.
    The Subscription price will be $1.00 a Year. You people who are paid-up will get it at old price—50c, but you that are 3 or 4 behind—you go in to the—"ash can"—about 1400 of you,—stamps cost too much—I can't wait to find out if you have moved—are in jail or dead,—So if you don't get anymore "free" copies don't blame me, blame SUMMERFIELD.

As Mason sez to Dixon—Here's where I draw the line!

Post Office CatCat

Coffee Grinder Same Old Grind

    Why do we say the same old grind? We can make it the same, and again we can glorify it, add to it, I oft times roast my coffee, cool it, grind it, and then brew it thus having the fragrance twice.—I find most things in life are that way.

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Old Time Stage Drivers
    This packet was to be "The Old Age" packet but along came a "Centennial", Butterfield Overland Mail Centennial, so I have been scurrying around for Stage Coach stuff.

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    L.S. (Tex) Crosse an old timer (way back in packet 4 of pouch 3), "Well", Tex told me that in the old days the roads on Nevada were longer in the wet season . . . and would shrink in the dry season . . . saving as much as ten miles in sixty.
    That is as I printed it. Today I wish to add why, . . . you see in the Spring they skirted the marshs and by midsummer they could drive through them.

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    The Old Plank Road in The Sand Dunes.
    In the last packet Volle Tripp and I asked that "The Old Plank Road between Yuma and Holtville be preserved (in part) for posterity.
    I am glad ot report that our good Congressman Hon. D. S. Saund went to bat on this, and has a promise from Newton B. Drury, Chief of the Division of Beaches and Parks for California. That such a land-mark is sure to be ours in the near future.

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    "Algodones", these fascinating sand dunes 25 miles West of Yuma, Arizona, lie one half in the Unites States and half in Mexico, 75 miles long and from 18 to 24 miles wide. This sea of sand dunes (some three hundred feet high) played their part in the Overland Mail Stage Coach Days . .. As when you bought a ticket in the East or West your ticket read that you would have a seat in the Coach all but for 30 miles when you must ride a horse or mule over the Algodones coming into California from the East.

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    I can well remember my last trip on a six-horse Stage, it was back in 1909, I was cutting across Montana, from Missoulla on the N.P. RR to Kalispell on the G.N. RR, . . . to through the Flathead Indian Reservation. . . . We went to Dixon on the N.P., from Dixon to Polson by Six-Horst Stage, then from Polson to Kalispell by Steam Boat through Flathead Lake.
    It was a happy trip, only two disappointments, at Dixon there were hundreds os RR stock-cars being loaded with thousands of Buffalo, . . . this made me mad. Also Flathead Indians do not have flatheads . . . some Chinaman must have given them that name.


The nicest thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time3    


    B. A. Botkin has given us another book,—His books, "A Treasury of American Folklore"—(1944). "A Treasury of Western Folklore"—(1951). And his new book "A Treasury of American Anecdotes"—(This Year). Random House, New York.
    This book also gives you one of my stories—I print some others and I reprint my story "The Belled Burro"—These massive books will grace your city library shelves for the next 200,300 Or maybe 400 years, . . . from just simple Desert Rat me . . . for your Great, Great, Grand-Kids and their kids.
    Bib Books of—Sly, Salty, Shaggy Stories of Heroes & Hellions, Beguilers & Buffoons, — Spellbinders & Scapegoats, Desert-Rats & Critters.

The Belled Burro

Prospector Burros


    A prospector over at Quartzsite, Arizona, that's spent twenty-six years out here in the desert, six years huntin' gold, and twenty years huntin' his three dad-burned burros, told me this story today.
    "Years ago," said he, "I put a bell on Sappho, my pet burro, and turned her loose to feed nights with Frankey and Johnny, a pesky pair of blues, the bell so's I can locate them in the mornin' they stayin' together. Well, lots of times I couldn't hear that bell and after spendin' most a day lookin' for 'em would find their tracks close by. I thought maybe I might be gettin' deaf, till one day after trampin' for miles, I found out how them pesky burros had been a 'trickin' me these years. I returned to camp and looked down into a canyon close by; there was Sappho, her head motionless over a large rock, and Frankey and Johnny bringin' every other mouthful of grass over to her rock, so's she wouldn't move her head and ring that tell-tale bell.

    Editors Note—This from an old book printed in 1830, retelling American Anecdotes, of a much earlier date, is much the same story our western Indians know so well. A western writer of today would have told it in eight lines, and with fancy "chromium", not lace.


Indian     Sirs William Jones, who was superintendent of Indian affair in America previous to the Revolution, received several suits of clothes from England richly laced, when Hendrick, king of one of the five nations of Mohawks was present. The Indian Chief admired them much, but said nothing at the time. In a few days the Chief called on Sir William, and told him he had a particular dream. When Sir William inquired what it was, he told him that he had dreamed that he gave him one of those fine suits which he had received from over the big water.
    Sir William took the hint and presented the Chief with one of the richest suits, and Chief Hendrick much pleased with his generosity, retired. A short time after, Sir William, happening to be in company with Indian chief, told him that he also had had a dream. Hendrick, being very solicitious to know what it was, Sir William informed him that he dreamed he had made him a present of a particular tract of land of about 5,000 acres. The land was the most valuable on the Mohawk River; however Hendrick immediately presented it, with this shrewd remark, "Now, Sir William, I will never dream with you again. You dream too hard for me". The tract thus obtained is still called Sir William's Dreaming Land.

Point of View
By Sterling A. Brown

    A student of sociology visited an old woman's cabin in the Black Belt. The cabine was ramshackly; boards were off the sides and at night the stars could be seen through the opening in the roof. The student asked the old woman, "Does it leak in here?" The old woman looked long at the questioner, took her pipe out of her mouth and spat. "No, honey, it doan leak in here. When it rain,&8212;it rain in here, —and it leak outside.

By Carl Carmer

    On a Saturday night, filled with beer, Ob Hoag fell into bed beside his spouse. Soon his dreams were interrupted by a natural consequence of much drinking.
    Obeying long custom, he staggered out the back door to the corner of the house. A slight rain was falling in the drain pipe near which Ob took his stance gave out a gentle, sibilant sizzling sound which, in his befuddled state, he associated with the result of his own efforts.
    Thus he stood, one hand braced against the side of the house, waiting for the sound to cease. Minute after minute went by without interruption, and a feeling approaching awe swept over him. He was a phenoimenon! Realization of the fact was not to be coped with alone, and so finally in a great voice that aroused the slumbering neighbors, he bellowed, "Matilda! Matilda! Wake ye! I've sprung the eternal and everlasting leak!"

By Allan M. Trout
Courier-Journal — Louisville, Kentucky

    I once had a red-headed nephew by name of Stuart Conrad. He married a red-headed girl, and, in the coarse of events, their marriage was blessed with five red-headed children. Stuart was a tenant farmer in Hardin County, Kentucky.
    One day I drove down to his place. "How are you getting along, Stuart?" I asked.
    "Oh, god 'nuf, I guess", he drawled. "Leastwise, me an' Elvira, we kinda manage", He paused, and then went on. "But effen it warn't for the woodpeckers, feedin' the youn'uns mought be a problem."
    I looked my astonishment, but before I could question him, Stuart continued: "Ye see, them danged woodpeckers think everything that's got a red head is another woodpecker. So we jest set the young'uns out on the rail fence afore me an' Elvira go to the field . . .'n when we get back, them danged woodpeckers have fed' em' all day!"
From B. A. Botkin's American Anecdotes

Desert Rough Cuts

The ancient adobe Bradshaw Stage Station and Store. . . . just
just over 'Ghost Ridge' from Old Fort Oliver.

Wiffletree Carries The Mail

First read this letter about the cover picture

WiffletreeDear Harry:

    Twenty four years ago you and I built the "GOLD GULCH" at the San Diego Fair of 1934 you may not remember the event, but I've never forgotten it. I was a kid of 17 at the time and you gave me my first job as an artist. (I've never figured out whether to thank you or curse you . . . I've been stuck with cartooning ever since!) Anyway, I remember a character you had named Ol' Whiffletree, who wanted to drive stage. Put me in mind of him the other day when I came across the enclosed newspaper clipping. Thought you might be interested in the cartoon the clipping inspired. I know you won't be interested in the jet plane, but the old character could very well be Ol' Whiffletree . . . probably IS! Anyway, now we all know that the snap that the old bull whip makes is nothing more complex than the breaking of the sound barrier . . . and there just ain't nothin' new under the sun!
Roger Armstrong

Your editor suggests you start watching the signatures on cartoons in the future, For over 8 years Roger has ghosted the "Ella Cinders" comic strip, which carries another by-line. Shortly you will be seeing his signature on the "Napoleon" strip which he has started drawing recently.

SaguaroIt WAS Colonel Kashin who wanted to know how it was that old road that went from here right through Salton Sea long before on rockey knoll where it took thirteen men an' a team of mules to put it. It was to be a monument to the old Bradshaw stage roadth at went from here right through the Salton Sea long before she filled up with water in 1906.
            This is the thirteenth time this week I've had to tell how the old coach got back to the store. Col. Kashin was kind of the foreman on the job of draggin' that old hack to the peak of the knoll an' he asks me why the sudden change of location?
            It was Wiffletree that was responsible. Wiffletree, the old timer that knows all the old stage stations an' roads an' can tell you about the drivers that could snap the ashes from a cigar in your mouth with the silk of their twenty-foot whips.
            Well long ago he was a harness boy with hopes of drivin' a stage some day himself, and was growin' as fast as he could so's he can cash in on his ambition. Just as he got the lines of a six-horse team, the Santa Fe was put through an' the stagin' stopped.
            That kinda broke Wiffletree's heart, an' he's never been settled since, tryin' everything from ranchin' to sellin' Fords. Last January he come here an' I gave him a job because the kids liked him an' his fancy whipsnappin'.
            He discovered my museum and got to readin' those dime novels about Nick Carter, Buffalo Bill, and Jesse James that I been collectin' and are so hard to get now, since the youngsters got to readin' "True Confessions."
            One day he got kinda worked up over "The Hold-up Of The Overland Stage" and figured he'd of done better by the coach and passengers if he'd been at the reins. He wanted to work out his system before he told us about it, so he takes his whip with him and climbs up the knoll and into the driver's seat of the old stage and starts on his imaginary Overland trail, pretendin' he's the most darin' six-team driver of them all.
            He gets so excited crackin' his whip, and drivin' through imaginary bandit's horses, with his own imaginary team at a dead run, that he realeases the brakes so's the horses can make better time.

            "Reader hold your breath", . . . this is it, the motion of 'Wiffletree's' hand, . . . only 30 or 40-feet per second, . . . eventually develops into a 1,400-feet-per-second velocity for the whip's tip. This is well over the sound barrier 1,100 feet per second.
End of commercial

            It was the greatest minute of his life. The stagecoach almost flew as it came down the hill and smashed into the store where it is now.
            The point of the wagon tongue knocked out the bung of the pickle barrel, which is a bull's eye if I ever seen one. As we picked Wiffletree out of the pool of brine, he muttered a'holidn' his chin, "Doggone, I'd a made it but for that last bullet."
            A fella has a right to think he's been shot when the mark is a'showin', so I didn't say nothin' about the clothesline that ketched him under the chin.



This page is dedicated to the World's Greatest Optimist--the DESERT PROSPECTOR

Harry Oliver's


Double Barreled Whale

    In the last packet I gave you many quotes from Rolfe Peterson UTAH'S humorist, . . . because he rates the title. The quotes are from his book "The Worst of Rolfe Peterson ($1.50 post paid—K.S.L. radio—Salt Lake City, Utah)".
    I now reprint a bit of Rolfe Peterson's 'The Comedian' To me he is a 'Lone Wolf' in the field of radio,—a 'Fred Allen' without a cast, with his own written wit and humor, his salty drollery, timed with the same skill Allen used.
    Read this, here it is, right off the tape.


Dear Pamela Cardiac:
    I am happily married woman now for 15 years, but lately my husband has been driving me to distraction. It started when we saw the movie "Moby Dick." It made a great impression on Alfred—that's my husband—and he went right out and bought a harpoon. He says it's a harmless hobby, but I'm sure hes's ging to kill somebody with it, waving it around all the time and yelling, "Thar she blows!" The other night while I was watching television he actually let go of it and knocked out our picture tube. I'm afraid I might be next. I'm scared to so much as spit after gargling, for fear he'll yell, "Thar she blows!" and harpoon me. What can I do? Signed, Landlubber.

Rolfe Peterson Signature

Dear Landlubber:
    This is probably just one of the many troublesome stages men pass through during middle age. I'm confident it will blow over&8212;pardon me—pass over. But if you do want to help speed up the process, you might be able to work a cure with the following plan: some night when he's asleep, yell "That she blows!" in his ear. Then before he's fully awake, cry: "Pull men, pull! the monster's turning on us!" The rock the bed violently and shout: "Look out for his tail! He's knocked a hole in the whaleboat!" Then empty a bucket of cold water over him. A pinch of salt stirred in beforehand will add to the realism. When he's fully awake, I'm sure he will have lost some of his enthusiasm for whaling. Meanwhile, be of good cheer, look on the bright side, and don't let him have a clear shot at you. Signed, Pamela Cardiac.


    As the defender of all Desert creatures it behooves me to come to the ade of this, (oft called Sea Serpent), the friendly 'Whale of the Great Salt Lake', for years seen by old timers, . . . (mostly on nights when there were two Moons), . . . reports are she has not been seen in the last seven weeks, . . . did Rolfe's character in his story above get her?, . . . You let me know.—H.O.


I wasn't born in a log cabin, the candidate said but my family moved into one as soon as they could afford it.

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Nicknames stick to people, and the most ridiculous are the most adhesive.

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The only way for a rich man to be healthy is by exercise and abstinence, to live as if he were poor.

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A Queen, A Prince
and A Desert Rat

    Many folks have achieved fame by their choice of pet companions, . . . I have just buried my old desert tortoise "Hop_along Push'adee", he was the biggest I have known in these parts, . . . for 8 or 9 years, . . . maybe 10 . . . I gathered food for him . . . you can't feed as amiable a critter as he, . . . for years without having a genuine affection for him.
    I will not tire you with our story because it lacks color, as I think of it there was not much contrast in our relationship, . . . as our speed was about the same. (I did get him a spot (page 638) in "A Treasury of Western Folklore"—by B. A. Botkin—1951. Here he will rest for a hundred years or so).
    Because our story is not big I tell you of two pet stories you should read.
    Here in our West, Lola Montez . . . Queen of the 'Mother Lode' and her pet bear, did have contrast, Lola (her voice was ever soft, gentle and low.) her life at Grass Valley in the Roaring Fifties, today is both history and legend.
    And for contrast our John Barrymore and his pet Buzzard, . . . Gene Fowler . . . in his chapter . . . 'The Ungrateful Maloney' of his book "Good Night, Sweet Prince", tells of John's affection for this Vulture.
    Since Aesop's time (550 BC) critters have helped folks gain fame, for just having them for pets.
    I guess there will be Buzzards, Bears and Tortoises for all time, but this years crop of Lola Montez's and John Barrymore's is on a par with the Whooping Cranes.

Harry Oliver's
on Wax

    John Norman's Desert Records proudly announces the debut on disc of the old Desert Rat himself in a collection of great stories from The Desert Rat Scrap Book.
    For the first time you can hear Harry Oliver spin the most famous of his tales. In high-fidelity sound, recorded on-the-scene at Old Fort oliver, are stories of the Singing Sands, Madame Bellows, the Cold Nose Caper, Dick Wick Hall's exploding mine, Music and Booze, Haywire Weather and many others.
    Order your copy of this 12-inch long-playing record today. It's yours for only $4.98. Send check or money order to:

P.O. Box 1304


How not to fill a Scrap Book

    Perpetual notion is not as dizzy as perpetual motion . . . This I told my pet Crow . . . he didn't savvy and looked at me as if he knew I was only word 'doodling.'
    Do you ever just put words down and then try to make the go to work?
    I am back (I had a beer) and I have a job for those 9 words, . . . Perpetual notion is not as hard to swat as a fly in perpetual motion, providing the notion of the fly is to sit on the rim of my glass of beer.
    "You have split your beer." Says my Crow . . . "And your doodling is not half as good as the stuff I can find . . . just remember this is a 'scrap book, and lots of scribblers do not doodle. They make the words fit the idea, not the idea fit the words.
    If this is not printed you will know that Crow found better stuff.

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    Cats as a class, have never got over the snootiness caused by the fact that in Ancient Egypt they were worshipped as Gods. This makes them prone to set themselves up as critics and censors of the frail and erring human beings whose lot they share.
—P. G. Wodehouse

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All you readers should be warned, that paying close attention to what you read in this paper will not benefit you in the slightest.


Yermo, California

13 Miles East of Barstow

Calico in the 1880's was the largest silver mining Camp in the southwest. Almost obliterated by time, it is now being restored by Knott's Berry Farm. An ideal outing for the rockhound, and camping groups.


Copyright 1968 by N. V Chirstensen

    On the outskirts of Lordsburg, a little tumbleweed grew just outside the fence that kept cattle from getting on the great concrete highway. It was early spring and the winds still howled and swept away many a big, old tumbleweed—away on the trip they had been preparing for over a year. The little tumbleweed still had the protection of its mother who had the presence of mind to grow close to a mammouth bolder. But the day came at last when the old mother had to go. It was a cold night and the mountain wind came from the pass with sleet and rain and it cried, "come on oldtimer, it's time to go galavantin'. After all, what do they call you all tumbleweeds for efen you all don't tumble?" And though the old mother weed hated to leave her pretty little green offspring she had a hankerin' to dance and tumble across the plains and there was always the chance that she might get to tumble through some town and see the sights. So now she knew this was it and she said to the little one as she nodded in the wind, "You'll be all right honey pot. Just you grow up to be the biggest and finest tumbleweed in this here state and then if you're real good, you might even get to tumble as far as the Gulf of Mexico where you can float in the nice warm water.
    The little tumbleweed felt very lonely and cried for now without the warming shelter of its mother it was dreadfully cold but soon the old wind became an appreciated cool breeze and then in summer it stood tall and round and many a steer looked longingly at its lovely greenery from the other side of the fence.
    Then came another winter with frost at night and screaming winds, but though the wind tugged and turned the handsome green into a coat of drab brown, the son hung on and remembered what his mother had said about being good and answered the mountain winds' urging with "I'm not ready Mr. Wind. I'm waiting for some special occasion where I can do some good. You let me know old wind." And the mountain wind moaned, "I sure will, son!"
    At Christmas time he saw many a fine car with Eastern license plates speed by—rich folks going to California for the winter. But though he nodded in the gusty wind none paid him the slightest attention. Now it was really lonesome for all his neighbors had long ago departed. The big old boulder helped him stay on and finally on Christmas eve when it was extremely cold and sleety old man mountain wind screamed, "Well, you asked for it. There's a big black auto coming through the pass with four big shots from the Chicago underworld in it. They're on their way ot Los Angeles to rub out a nice young lady who just happens to know too much about what they did to her mother. Now you be ready to let go when I blow the next gust. I'll blow you right down the highway and you'll scare the livin' bejabbers out ot them city slickers. With your wonderful figure you'll look like the biggest rock in their headlights.
    In the big car sat Scar Puss Pete beside his lawyer. In the front seat sat a bodyguard and driver, both trigger men. A machine gun lay at their feet and all of them had automatics under their arms. Inside it was nice and warm and a little bar before those in the back seat kept them cheerful as they planned their next murder. The radio brought Christmas music.
    "Should have stayed in Lordsburg," said Scar Puss Pete's mouthpiece. Too dangerous to drive tonight. Look at that sleet on the windshield. And it's piling up on the road. We'll never make it—"
    "Shut up," said Scar Puss Pete, "nuttin' can stop me if I wants to travel. Remember me? I ain't 'fraid of nuttin'. An' shut off dat lousy music." The car swished through the sleet that lay now quite deep on the highway. The powerful car rode easily through the storm, its windshield wiper busily pushing away gobs of snow.
    The giant tumbleweed was on his way coming down the road toward the oncoming limousine. "Gee this is great!" he said. "There's the headlights now. Thanks, Mr. Wind. Keep me right down the middle now. I bet I look like a real big rock to those slickers. They'll stop and not hit me, won't they?"
    "They'll stop and they won't hit you boy. Enjoy yourself," the mountain wind shrieked with laughter.
    Scar Puss Pete saw the great "rock" rolling right down the highway toward his car. "Hey, stop the car," he yelled.
    "I can't," cried the chauffer. "Too slippery. We'll skid off the shoulder into that canyon."
    "We should have stayed in Lordsburg," said the mouthpiece.
    "You shouldn't stayed in Chicago," yelled Scar Puss Pete. "Get over! Miss it! That rock'll kill us all—
    They all held their breath as the driver edged over but still going faxt and they saw the great "rock" roll past. But Sar Puss Pete yelled. "Hey, that was no rock. No rock could roll on a level road. Get back on the road. Where the-th'—hey where ya goin'?"
    But the car was now out of control and an instant later the car struck the same boulder that had sheltered the tumbleweed, when it was a pretty little green sprout cozily nestled beside its mother.
    The car doors sprung open and Scar Puss Pete and his mouthpiece landed in snow drifts where they dreamed of a green Christmas in Hollywood. The driver and bodyguard lay unconscious in the front seat.
    A patrolling stage trooper stopped his car and got out to look over the scene. He picked up a bottle of Hennesy that had miraculously fallen in a drift of snow. Between swigs of the warming Christmas cheer he disarmed all the men and threw the guns into his car whence came the radio's sweet strains of "Holy Night."
    He then handcuffed them in pairs and radioed headquarters for an ambulance. "Yeah, musta been drunker'n hootowls, Yeah, swell big limousine, Illinois license 05650.—What?—Holy Smoke!—Scar Puss Pete?—Reward?—Well, suh, and a Merry Christmas to you too."
    The tumbleweed heard the crash and asked the wind, "Was I good?"
    The mountain wind laughed in wild shrieks. "You sure were, son, and now as a reward I'm going to blow you right through Lordsburg where you'll see all the Christmas decorations and happy people. Merry Christmas, son!"
    "Merry Christmas dear old mountain wind," said the tumbleweed as he tumbled gayly along.



Old Goldfield     GOLDFIELD, Nev.—A little whirlwind of dust whipped through the quiet street and in the distance you could hear a dog barking.
    The Old Timer spoke and his gaze went beyond the unpainted stone building on the orner and the "1903" on its facade. As he talked the gold rush came back and Goldfield was booming again.
    "Oh, it's quiet here now," he muttered through his white beard and mustache. "I guess you'd almost call it a ghost town.
    It's QUIET, sure. But it weren't always so.
    "Son, you should have been here in 1903, when they found gold. And you should have been here in 1906 for the Gans-Nelson fight.
    "Exciting? I tell you it was exciting. The gold went through so fast they couldn't keep the bank open enough. Why, they say 105 million dollars in bullion went out of this town.
    "And I guess there was just about that much bet on that fight, too—a real champeenship lightweight fight. Tex Rickard, he promoted that fight.
    "THE CAN'T SAY that over in Tonopah there. Even if some folks say you can shop better in Tonopah now.
    "There wasn't any Tonopah shopping then. We got old Joe Gans, the champ himself here. And Battlin' Nelson, the Durable Dane . . . he was here. And we got a crowd, too; 15,000 maybe.
    "They came all the way from San Francisco in private pullman cars. Even old Teddy Roosevelt's son was there at ringside.
    "Well, Gans he was fast and tricky and had a real punch. Some say he was broke, too, and that made a difference. Nelson? He was popular and tough; he'd been claiming the title for most a year when he finally got into the ring.
    "IT WAS A FIGHT, that was. I remember the day . . . Sept. 3 back in 1906. I bought me a new stick-pin just for the fight, brought all the way from San Francisco on the special train.
    "It was a grand day. Bands. Dancing. The saloons—you know, I counted and we had 55 of 'em—was jammed. The sheriff he got 25 pickpockets that day. I lost that stick-pin to one of them.
    "And there WAS a fight. Some of he old-timers they got mad when tose two came out wearing gloves instead of real bare-knuckle fighting. But I didn't mind, See this photograph? You can see they was real boxers.
    'IT WENT ON for 42 rounds. In the 32nd round, Gans he broke his hand but he didn't quit. They kept it up and finally Nelson he knocked Gans down.
    "It was a low blow. I seen it. Most everyone seen it. Some of the boys was for riding him out of town on a rail but instead they gave the fight to Gans.
    "Oh, we had a time we did. They say the gate was $69,714 but I wouldn't know. There was a crowd, though, I can tell you.
    "THAT WAS GOLDFIELD, son. Some of us we went out this spring and put a little stone memorial to that fight. You kinda hate to see those memories fade out.
    "It was a real town, Goldfield. A mining town, maybe the greatest mining camp of all.
    "They ain't never had that in Tonopah!"


    This being the thirty-fourth packet of this Scrap Book I am making it . . . The Old Age edition and I give a look to what the Old Philosophers in the back room have to say . . . they are in the back room in the book-shelves, . . . near my bed . . . the bed that should have an asbestos bed-spread on it, as, you see, I read in bed as I smoke my pipe. I wonder how many of those old philosophers smoked in bed? . . . Just the one's that died young I guess.
    Below I give you a brilliant array of what some of the great have put in writing, . . . about the fun of being old. You know if you spend 15 or 20 years reading these old 'thinkers'‘’ it gives a little more than you can get in "Beer-Joint" sitting.
    Of course your editor can absorb considerable "Joint-Sitting" but there is no market for it, and so many talk at one time things get mixed up.

Every one desires to live long, but no one would be old.—Swift

•   •   •

Childhood itself is scrcely more lovely than a cheerful, kindly, sunshiny old age.—L. M. Child

•   •   •

While one finds company in himself and his pursuits, he cannot feel old, no matter what his years may be.—A. B. Alcott

•   •   •

    It is often teh case with fine natures, that when the fire of the spirit dies out with increasing age the power of intellect is unaltered or increased, and an originally educated judgment grows broader and gentler as the river of life widens out to the everlasting sea.—Gatty

•   •   •

How many fancy they have experience simply because they have grown old.—Stainislas

•   •   •

Old men's eyes are like old men's memories, they are strongest for things a long way off.—George Elliot

•   •   •

When men grow virtuous in their old age, they are merely making a sacrifice to God of the devil's leavings.—Swift

•   •   •

    Like a morning dream, life becomes more and more bright the longer we live, and the reason of everything appears more clear. What has puzzled us before seems less mysterious, and the crooked paths look straighter as we approach the end.—Richter

    Nice words but here is a bad boy to spoil them all . . . and his words will be remembered for all time.
    "Youth" said Bernard Shaw, "Is a wonderful thing. What a crime to waste it on children".
tantalizing I say

Harry in Bed


    A home without a cat and a well-petted and properly revered cat, may be a perfect home, perhaps, but how can it prove its title?—Mark Twain



    You sneeze, not me, says, Dry Camp Blackie.
    The good Doctor told me I was allergic to cats . . . I got me five more cats and when we all got to smelling alike none of sneezed.

hr short center

    Danger from atom and H-Bomb assumes its relative importance when a stinging little bug gets under your collar and, despite your frantic efforts, manages to crawl to your back and continue his biting.
The Date Palm—Indio


As the social worker was passing his cell, she asked the prisoner, "Was it your love of drink that brought you here?"
"No, ma'am," he replied. 'You can't get nothin' in here."

hr short center

    Greenfield Lawrel tells of the old prospector who made a big strike in the Cosos in '95. He got rich overnight anf for 65 years his relatives hung on him like a swarm of bats. He kept promising them that "there would be a little for everyone in my will." He wasn't kidding. He left all his money to the government.




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corner stones await next copy

    George Ringwald, Star Desert reporter for The Riverside Enterprise has just written an almost book-length story about me for the Daily Enterprise, . . . five two page installments—more space then a candidate for President of the U.S.A. could get down here in the desert when it's 120 in the shade.
    George Ringwald is a wonderful writer and has a great wit.
    George says, . . . Olive is a healthy interesting colorful phony.
    Oliver has had the happiest, busiest goddamn life anybody ever had, . . . simple, because he drinks only American Whisky and Western Beer.
    Quotes me as saying "Nothing is as horrible or terrible as they tell you, People wreck themselves with worry when they should just take another beer and forget it.
    Adding that I think everything I do is as normal as hell.
    I hope you read George's story, . . . others did, . . . and I think they liked it, . . . for I have been asked to Lead Parades, Visit Fairs, and to attend some Funerals since.

ONE YEAR, $2.00         Three Years, $6.50
Grubstaker: The late Scotty Allen


Stories of Pioneers and Old Trails

Pony Express

Herb S. Hamlin, Editor
Address All Mail to

P. O. Box 326

Published Monthly at
SONORA (Tuolumne County) CAL.
(Founded by real Sonorans—1848)

Knott's Ghost Town

"OLIVER rides again"         5    

Words & Sketch by Margo Gerke

    Like Johnny Appleseed, the old Desert Rat rides out on a new crusade—or maybe lots of miscellaneous old crusades bunched like modern charities into one big push. Without diluting his separate identities as Don Quixote, Baron Muchausen and a sort of Dr. Doolittle of the desert, Johnny Appleseed Oliver calls this current drive his "Keep the Desert Beautiful" crusade.
    The Tall in the Saddle, he's out again posting signs ("each sign is better than a thousand cusswords") and scolding behind a smile those sheep who eat wildflowers, those tourists who trample desert beauty, and those beer cans and Kleenexes which allow themselves to be tossed undecoratively amid verbena and flowering primrose.
    Johnny Appleseed carried a knapsack of seeds, but Oliver says this is unnecessary gear on the desert, where each wildflower plante bears thousands of seeds for the wind to sow in the sands for another spring—if the flowers are left undisturbed.
    The Fort Oliver troops—a motley assortment of talking cats, crows, pack rats and other desert animals commandeerd by beribboned Whiskers the Dog—are armed like giggers, each with a stick pin on the end, for impaling paper trash and beer cans.
    Even Oliver doesn't know how many troops this army numbers.
    "I don't," he says, stroking his goatee under a smile, "have a gigger_counter".

Wild West Flowers

Dick Oakes

All text was hand-entered (no OCR scans) by Dick Oakes who did the layout, markup and graphics reproduction (all of Harry's misspellings retained). The contents remain the property of Bill Lincoln and his heirs.