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The day book. (Chicago, Ill.) 1911-1917, June 27, 1914, NOON EDITION, Image 18

Image and text provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL

Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045487/1914-06-27/ed-1/seq-18/

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; MY MIKE AND JOE CRANE , ,
BY RICHARD WASHBURN CHILD.
' (Copyright, 1914, by the Newspaper Enterprise Association.)
When you wentover the factory
this morning, did you see a fine-looking
old cuss working at the lasters'
bench with white hair and a red wrin
kled face and a thin beard that kind
of bristles out? You'd be apt to no
tice him. Seems like a man who
might be vice-president or something
in different clothes, don't he? But
when he talks to you, and it ain't
often, he looks al the floor. That's
old Joe Crane, God help him. There
ain't any better men wear hair ex
cept that he's got a knot in his string
that hasn't never been picked out.
. Something was put into him like salt
is put in your cup of coffee by mis
taking it for sugar just a pinch of it,
but it spoils the whole thing. See
what I mean?
He works there at that bench, and
you can see the men give him plenty
of room. They're covered with goose
flesh ha,lf the time, they're so care
ful with him. When he goes home he
goes to a shack on the Maple Hill
Road, where he hangs out all alone,
for old Joe's lived sixty some odd
years, and I guess there hasn't been
a minute of that time that he's been
more than a couple of inches this side
of a grand jury.
He'll burst out sometinies. when
some fool has touched the right but
ton on his soul, and his neck Till swell
so you can see the mark of his collar
after it's all over, and his fingers go
creeping after a three-pound wrench
or the hke of that, and there's a kill
ing in his eyes. Then let him fling
loose and it's over in a second like
the rip of dynamite, and then every
thing is quiet except the old man
choking and swaying and a little
stream of blood running out of his
beak. One of the times I spoke of,
he near killed my boy. But it was a
lucky thing it happened that is, for
the lad and for me, for until that time
I'd never understood the boy the way
it ought to be.
The affair was about three years
back. It wasn't long after I'd been
made foreman, and everything seem
ed about right with me. A man can
be happy here all right, and then
again, though I don't do many things
right, you bet I married right, and my
Annie is the kind of woman I don't
deserve 'and probably never will.
Then there was little Annie strong
as a kitten and lips as red as you'd
want to see 'em but she was away
at her grandmother's that winter, and
there was little Michael wRh his
round legs, going into his eleventh
year. It was the gang I'd had by me
while I was fighting my way up and
we'd won together, and everything
was just right with me except just
one thing that brought up a heap of
trouble. That was the weave of the
boy.
He wasn't enough the tincture of
a man to suit me. His romp around
and tear-'em-up fits didn't happen
much and he'd rather climb up on
my knee or sit in the house looking
at pictures in the back of the diction
ary, or get hold of a lot of ants in
the gravel and watch 'em and call
'em by name Mr. Walsh, and Billy,
and Mrs. Pearson, and things like
that. Seemed to me as if he was
soft-hearted and soft-handed like a
girl.
Sometimes he'd seem to want
something, and you couldn't tell what
it was any more than he could he'd
come first to me and then go to his
mother. We found out since what he
was after.
I says to Annie: "It's time for me
to take a hand; I don't want him to
be the kind you find at the bottom of
the barrel. This is a tough world, and ,
the boy won't always have you to
tuck him in, nights, for life takes a '
lot of "Wallops out of a man, and when
. .
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