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”

An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Twenty-Six

san antonio song
an ostrich-plumed hat

Begin with Chapter One ~ Return to Chapter Twenty-Five

Emma Bentzen Koehler, April 1912

“I do so love the spring season in San Antonio,” says Sophie Wahrmund. “This dedication of the Hermann Sons Home is as elegant as any of the parties we’ve enjoyed throughout Fiesta.”

san antonio song cowgirl postcard

Otto tucks his thumbs under his lapels. “This is particularly welcome after the Chamber of Commerce’s silly shenanigans at the Saint Anthony Hotel. They handed everyone horns and cowbells and made us parade down the street like fools singing…”

The Colonel bounces as though astride a horse as he launches into song. “She hopped up on a pony and ran away with Tony. If you see her just let me know…”

Otto joins in harmonizing the last line of the popular ditty, “And I’ll meet you in San An-to-ni, San An-to-ni-o.”

Continue reading “An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Twenty-Six”

An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Thirteen

the immortal alamo

Begin with Chapter One ~ Return to Chapter Twelve

Andrew Stevens, November 1911

“Honey from Solms Apiary. The finest in the country, Andy. This nectar comes not from some common native American bee.” 

The Colonel has been waxing eloquent over a jar of honey for the past five minutes. Andy knits his eyebrows together and keeps his lips sealed tightly. Struggling, mightily struggling, to stifle the yawn rising from deep in his throat.

“The Carnacian bees that made this honey were imported to New Braunfels from high in the Alps. The Solms Apiary has sixty-two colonies of these bees, and the queens are prolific layers.”

Running later than normal, Mr. K steps briskly into his office. “Queens? Queen Emma held me prisoner in the kitchen this morning. Blocked my escape route with her chair and locked the wheels until she had no more words to unleash on me. I knew it was risky taking her to the Busches’ gilded celebration. Seems I neglected to mark our recent anniversary with tributes befitting royalty, and she wants to ensure I never make such a blunder again. How the Sultan can bear a whole harem of wives is beyond me. 

Continue reading “An Ostrich-Plumed Hat: Chapter Thirteen”