An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Ninety-Five

Andrew Stevens, March 1918

“The anti-German sentiment is so strong,” grumbles the Colonel, “the Loyalty Laws have taken away the older generation’s right to talk on the street. In Fredericksburg, Boerne, New Braunfels, most of the Texas Hill Country, if men are prohibited from expressing themselves in German, they have no vocabulary at their command. As you know, Andy, many of the inhabitants never have learned a word of English.”

“The last time I walked down Main Street in Boerne, Colonel, German was all I heard.”

“And the Anti-Saloon League, constantly pumping out propaganda that the breweries are all part of an enormous German conspiracy to take over the United States. I felt I had no choice but to make this commitment on the floor of the Texas House of Representatives yesterday: ‘The breweries of Texas stand ready to close as a patriotic measure, when, in the opinion of the President of the nation, such a course is desired for winning the war.’ It generated much applause, but I certainly am glad Otto was not alive to hear it.”

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An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Eighty-Eight

Above, 1917 advertisement for La Perla that appeared in the San Antonio Light

an ostrich-plumed hat

Begin with Chapter One ~ Return to Chapter Eighty-Seven

Andrew Stevens, August 1917

“Andy,” says the Colonel, “be on your guard in the coming days and weeks. I’m not asking you to break any laws, but I have wind that there are some pesky State Senators planning on trying to serve me with a subpoena. I would prefer that effort fail.”

“Yes, sir. I will reveal your whereabouts to no one and decline to admit anyone without an appointment.”

“Thank you, Andy. And whenever you call for my automobile, perhaps it’s best if the boy brings it around to the back door.”

“Well, well, Colonel,” bellows John as he strides into the office. He places his hand on the Colonel’s forehead. “No fever that I can detect. Yet you are here, and the House is still in session for another day or two.”

“One can never be too careful with one’s health. I thought it best if I were not present to vote on the question of passing the impeachment matter up to the Senate. Where? What? From whom? The continuing peppering of Governor Ferguson with questions about the origins of his $156,000 loan were striking closer to home than I desired.”

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An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Eighty-Four

Picnickers with Pearl Beer in Koehler Park, Collection of Mr. and Mrs. R. San Miguel, UTSA Libraries Special Collections

an ostrich-plumed hat

Begin with Chapter One ~ Return to Chapter Eighty-Three

Emma Bentzen Koehler, December 1915

“Otto’s revenge, this is. I never thought of myself as the vengeful type, but, I must confess, this is the best Christmas present I have ever given or received.”

“Ah, Emma,” says Judge Newton, “I believe it was best expressed in Beowulf: ‘It is always better to avenge dear ones than to indulge in mourning.’”

“Maybe, Gallie, that is indeed why this feels so good.”

“Aunt Emma,” says Corwin Priest, “eleven acres along the river is a Christmas gift for all of San Antonio. Otto Koehler Park. Uncle Otto must be kicking his heels together up above us. Is it true that part of that land might be haunted?”

Continue reading “An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Eighty-Four”