Popularity Contest Results

new year's 1912

Above, 1912 New Year’s card from Chapter Seventeen of An Ostrich-Plumed Hat

You have been judging my posts, as always, for the past six months, picking and choosing whatever piques your interest. For several years, the focus here has been on travel, relying on extensive use of photographs. Well, 2020 certainly cut short this blogger’s boulevardier ways, so, instead, I have “gifted” you with my novel about the sensational 19teens’ tale of the doomed relationship of Hedda Burgemeister and Otto Koehler. More than thirty chapters of An Ostrich-Plumed Hat, and, Yes, She Shot Him Dead are now posted on this site.

an ostrich-plumed hat

The good news is that more of you have clicked on the Introduction and Chapter One than any other post since July. The flip side is less flattering; there was a steep drop off in readership by Chapter Two. Numerous chapters ranked in the top dozen of this biannual roundup, but, for the sake of variety and not to encourage skipping around in the book the way I read Moby Dick in high school – every fifth chapter (Did I miss much?), I am omitting them from the list. Am hoping for some more feedback from you, my beta readers, as this release continues.

Beyond that, you seem to still appreciate my efforts at populating Brackenridge Park with ghosts, railing about whatever in the world is happening to Alamo Plaza and spinning tales from vagabond times. And perhaps you are looking for miracles ahead in 2021.

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An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Thirty-Four

oh you beautiful doll

Above, Historic Sheet Music Collection, Library of Congress

an ostrich-plumed hat

Begin with Chapter One ~ Return to Chapter Thirty-Three

Former Governor Thomas Mitchell Campbell, August 1912

At Thomas’ invitation, Judge Ramsey loosens his tie and plops into the chair on the other side of the desk. His beard is stubbly and his eyes bloodshot.

“You were wise to steer clear of that steamroller in San Antonio, Tom. Toot-toot. Toot-toot. Toot-toot. That was the most intellectual sound Oscar Colquitt’s men in the convention hall could utter. The second Cullen Thomas requested recognition, pandemonium broke out. The band struck up ‘You Great Big, Beautiful Doll.’ Upset, Cullen tried shouting over the crowd, shaking his fist. ‘Is this a democratic convention or a mob drunk with power?’”

Thomas frowns. “Sounds more like drunks fueled by the brewers. Children with tin horns on Christmas morning probably demonstrate more maturity.”

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Where have all the chestnuts gone?

Above, chestnut in “our” backyard during 2019 stay in Naples, Italy

Not only was baby’s crib likely made of chestnut, but chances were, so was the old man’s coffin.

George Hepting, “Death of the American Chestnut” via Forest Pathology

“Chestnuts roasting on an open fire….” It’s one of the first seasonal songs that pops into my head this time of year. But why have we latched onto a song that is rooted around a tree many of us have never seen in the United States?

Continue reading “Where have all the chestnuts gone?”