An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Sixty-Two

Above, Gathering the Dead in Vera Cruz, Grantham Bain Collection, Library of Congress

an ostrich-plumed hat

Begin with Chapter One ~ Return to Chapter Sixty-One

Andrew Stevens, April 1914

“Failure to fire a twenty-one-gun salute to the American flag?” fumes Mr. K. “After all the damage to property owned by American interests in Mexico? After all the seized assets?”

The Colonel interrupts. “After the continuous transgressions all along the border from Brownsville to El Paso? Governor Colquitt has begged and begged Washington to let him take action. Secretary Bryan kept telling him to turn the other cheek.”

Mr. K strides back and forth, back and forth. “Now President Wilson,” is using the flimsy excuse of the Tampico incident, tantamount to nothing, to invade Vera Cruz. The seven seized sailors were released as soon as the Mexican commander realized the error of his subordinates. He sent a formal written apology to Admiral Mayo. But the war-hungry admiral demanded the American flag be raised and a twenty-one-gun salute.”

Continue reading “An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Sixty-Two”

An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Forty-Eight

1913 royal wedding

Royal Wedding of Victoria Louise and Ernest Augustus, postcard from One Last Dance

an ostrich-plumed hat

Begin with Chapter One ~ Return to Chapter Forty-Seven

Andrew Stevens, July 1913

“Just hold your horses a minute, Otto,” pleads Sheriff Tobin.

“Hold my horses? Hold my horses?” Mr. K’s head appears poised to explode. “Your men seized 3,600 quarts of beer yesterday.”

“It’s not like we confiscated it from the brewery, Otto,” explains the sheriff. “That was beer you already sold.”

“Probably on account,” grouses Mr. K.

“Otto, you have to understand the pressure I’m under to enforce that damn new law the governor signed.”

John comes to Sheriff Tobin’s defense. “The first week of the 9:30 closing law barely made a dent in our sales, Otto. We’re capping 200,000 bottles of Pearl a day.”

Continue reading “An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Forty-Eight”

An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Forty-Four

east commerce street

Above, the intersection of Navarro and East Commerce Streets. John Stevens’ office building is mid-block on the left side of the street.

an ostrich-plumed hat

Begin with Chapter One ~ Return to Chapter Forty-Three

Andrew Stevens, March 1913

“Thought the prophecies of the Book of Revelation were coming true last night!” John hangs his hat and umbrella on the stand just inside the door of Mr. K’s office.

“My best hens,” responds Mr. K, “never laid an egg as large as those hailstones plummeting down from the heavens. Half the slate tiles from my roof lie splintered on the ground. Both greenhouses shattered. All their contents destroyed.”

“Your financial loss must be enormous,” remarks Andy. “I am so sorry, sir.”

“Approximately 5,000 dollars. But my mourning is not monetary. Insurance will replace the roof and the glass. But those rare specimens of orchids I collected and cultivated? Irreplaceable.”

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