December 29, 2009

Dick Wick Hall on Making a Difference

I've just finished reading Stories from the SALOME SUN, by Dick Wick Hall - Arizona's most famous humorist. He founded Salome, Arizona in 1906 and lived there until his untimely death in 1926. He named the desert town "Salome, Where She Danced" after his wife Salome. "Where she danced" refers to the hot desert sand. The Salome Sun was a little one-paged sheet, legal-sized paper passed out to travelers at his service station. Somehow he was discovered by the Saturday Evening Post who asked Hall to write for them. His writings eventually put Salome, Arizona on the map and travelers in the 1920s on their way from Phoenix to Los Angeles would stop in Salome.

I read the book because my son currently teaches in Salome. His writings are compared to those of Will Rogers and Mark Twain and it is thought that had he lived longer he might have become America's favorite humorist. Like Will Rogers, however, his humor also had a positive message. Here is one of my favorites that remains true today as well.

One reason Salome - and a lot of other places - don't amount to more is because so many folks think the Lord made these places just a purpose for them to get something out of. If they'd read their Bibles a little they'd find out that the Lord made the Earth, Salome and Happy Valley first, and then made man and put him here to MAKE something out of these places instead of to TAKE something out of them. Life, the World, Salome and Happy Valley are just like a Big Jack Pot in a poker game - YOU'VE GOT TO RIGHT TO TAKE SOMETHING OUT UNLESS YOU FIRST PUT SOMETHING IN, so shoot square in this game, play 50-50, don't do so much figuring and scheming to see how much you can TAKE out of Salome, but give a little serious and unselfish thought to what you can MAKE out of the town, to make it a better town and yourself a better man or woman. DO AS MUCH FOR THE TOWN AS YOU EXPECT IT TO DO FOR YOU - AND DO IT FIRST! It may be "A Heck of a Place" - but the Lord didn't make it that way - and if you think so and can't do anything to better it - better shut up and get out - and it will be a little better, anyway.

This Dick Wick Hall book is still available on Amazon thanks to the work of Frances Dorothy Nutt who collected the stories.