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Dawn O'Hara Edna Ferber

Blackie's Philosophy

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When he refused to see the story in the little German bakery sign I began to argue.

"But man alive, this is America! I think I know a story when I see it. Suppose you were traveling in Germany, and should come across a sign over a shop, saying: `Hier wird Deutsch gesprochen.' Wouldn't you think you were dreaming?"

Norberg waved an explanatory hand. "This isn't America. This is Milwaukee. After you've lived here a year or so you'll understand what I mean. If we should run a story of that sign, with a two-column cut, Milwaukee wouldn't even see the joke."

But it was not necessary that I live in Milwaukee a year or so in order to understand its peculiarities, for I had a personal conductor and efficient guide in the new friend that had come into my life with the first day of my work on the Post. Surely no woman ever had a stronger friend than little "Blackie" Griffith, sporting editor of the Milwaukee Post. We became friends, not step by step, but in one gigantic leap such as sometimes triumphs over the gap between acquaintance and liking.

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I never shall forget my first glimpse of him. He strolled into the city room from his little domicile across the hall. A shabby, disreputable, out-at-elbows office coat was worn over his ultra-smart street clothes, and he was puffing at a freakish little pipe in the shape of a miniature automobile. He eyed me a moment from the doorway, a fantastic, elfin little figure. I thought that I had never seen so strange and so ugly a face as that of this little brown Welshman with his lank, black hair and his deep-set, uncanny black eyes. Suddenly he trotted over to me with a quick little step. In the doorway he had looked forty. Now a smile illumined the many lines of his dark countenance, and in some miraculous way he looked twenty.

"Are you the New York importation?" he, asked, his great black eyes searching my face.

"I'm what's left of it," I replied, meekly.

"I understand you've been in for repairs. Must of met up with somethin' on the road. They say the goin' is full of bumps in N' York."

"Bumps!" I laughed, "it's uphill every bit of the road, and yet you've got to go full speed to get anywhere. But I'm running easily again, thank you."

He waved away a cloud of pipe-smoke, and knowingly squinted through the haze. "We don't speed up much here. And they ain't no hill climbin' t' speak of. But say, if you ever should hit a nasty place on the route, toot your siren for me and I'll come. I'm a regular little human garage when it comes to patchin' up those aggravatin' screws that need oilin'. And, say, don't let Norberg bully you. My name's Blackie. I'm goin' t' like you. Come on over t' my sanctum once in a while and I'll show you my scrapbook and let you play with the office revolver."

And so it happened that I had not been in Milwaukee a month before Blackie and I were friends.

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Dawn O'Hara
Edna Ferber

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