It took considerable courage to go to the Tribes Hill rifle range with those coppers yesterday morning -- especially after all the things I've written about them. And I felt rather skittish right up to the point where I was given the honor of being the first to fire one of the new sub-machine guns. "Suppose this thing isn't percolating properly?" quizzes I of myself. But it burned away in good order and after I had put a little ventilation into the target I felt better. The entire test was a success, because they reasoned that if a dub like myself could handle one of those things and score a few deadly hits, then anybody could. All of which was as logical as it was candid.
Now to be serious for a moment -- and if the time comes when this new type of artillery is put into use then things will have reached a serious state. Don't ever let anybody tell you that the members of the Amsterdam police department can't shoot. Seeing is believing. And I saw. One of the things I saw was the damaging (or destruction) of a perfectly good hat owned by one of the force. He left it on an iron post some little distance from the place were we were standing. One of his pals -- and wotta pal -- being dared to use it as a target, put the first shot right through the band and the small post on which the lid had been placed.
Others did well with the machine guns, too, considering that it was the first time they had ever operated one. All in all, it was a demonstration in which the average citizen could find much of interest. Amsterdam has been very tardy in modernizing its police department equipment and the weapons now purchased do not complete the task. A definite plan is needed and there should be no let-up until we have absolute confidence that we are better equipped than any group of youngsters that may descend upon the town.
MONEY IN IT?
Why all this excitement about the Board of Education election when there is no money in the job? You've probably heard the question, too. The answer is that there is money in it for some people while others are unlucky enough to lose. That affair at the first ward voting in the Junior High School, for instance. It was in the midst of a quiet afternoon when one of the members of the election staff gasped:
"My pocketbook! It's gone!"
Sure enough it was -- and with a former chief of police right there in plain sight. They finally found a clue and got on the trail, with the result that the missing bag was returned after a voter had been chased to her home. She had innocently lifted it in the excitement attending the careful marking of X's.
STILL CUTTING DOWN
"It didn't happen on Main Street, but, on the second street up the hill off Guy Park and we are not sure whether it was on account of the first daylight saving evening or because the missus was home a few days last week, but, a certain columnist was observed diligently trimming the hedge. And was he hot?"
"Should anyone desire to get some pointers on how to trim a hedge with pruning shears, just get him, and his helpers and you will be surprised at the results."
That, friends, is the greater part of a communication submitted to another department of this paper and turned over to me for the purpose of pleading guilty or not guilty. The reason, you may guess, is that the victim of this yarn is your favorite columnist and there is no use in denying it -- it really happened. Why not? This is the time of the year when the Herbs are Breen....I mean green, and the book says they should be trimmed.
I infer from the above note that I was not using the correct implement and that also is probably true. I recall distinctly that the "um-pa, um-pa" of the bass horn in the house across the street stopped every now and then and it is possible that the player kept stopping because he was laughing at me and my little gang. I thought he was counting rests. Well, anyway, that's the result of living in a neighborhood where there is lots of music, but little harmony.
And now if you must know why I was working at the hedge. It was not the daylight saving time nor the orders of the missus. It was simply the necessity of further curtailment. I had cut down on everything except the hedge and now that this has been done there is nothing left but the satisfaction and a couple of great big blisters.
OUT OF STYLE
Soap box orators have been rather scarce around here since the days when this form of political rally went out of style. In fact they have been so scarce that it was believed the practice had gone out of forever. But we had a May Day speaker at the Main and Bridge Streets corner and that is worthy of notice. There were only a few interested ones, however, and that may be interpreted as a hopeful sign by those of us who frown upon the activities of the Reds.
This was originally published May 3, 1934.