All Together, Boys!

Harry L. Cummings. "All Together, Boys."
The Stars and Stripes [Paris, France] 23 May 1919: 4.

Babe and the babes

All Together, Boys!

To the Editor of The Stars and Stripes:

I have read with great interest the stories of large mess halls and other things of mammoth size which have appeared in the columns of your paper at different times during the past few months. I wish to state a few facts concerning the saw mill at which my father worked, and tell about some of the really large things which were a part of this mill.

I was born in northern Minnesota, and spent the greater part of my life in a logging camp not many miles distant. Mr. Paul Bunyan, the owner of the logging camp, had so much money that Croesus was a bum by comparison; and he owned, absolutely, every inch of the vast tract which comprised the largest lumber camp on the face of the globe. The food consumed by the combined Allied Armies in one week would be just sufficient to feed the kitchen force of this camp for one day.

The biggest season ever known in the logging industry was the winter of the blue snow. Even the intense cold was no handicap to the workers of the camp. The cold was so intense that it was impossible to get a thermometer that could register it, so a special one was built at a cost of $5,000. This thermometer registered 400 degrees below zero before the tube burst.

All the logs which were handled at this camp were dragged by one animal, the Blue Ox, so his size can readily be imagined. He was as wide between the eyes as the Champs Elysees. A clothes line was stretched between the animal's horns, on which 40 men at a time would hang their clothes to dry. A special blue steel camp was erected, where shoes were made for the ox, and 14 trains of 125 cars each were running daily between the Mesabi Iron Range and the camp, hauling pig iron that was made into shoes for the beast. The northern part of the Mississippi was diverted from its course so it would run through the camp in order to furnish an adequate supply of drinking water for the ox, whose capacity was so great that very little water reached the Minnehaha Falls and that caused a depreciation in the scenic value of the spot to American tourists, thereby involving Mr. Bunyan in various lawsuits that cost him more money than Croesus ever saw.

After the land in the vicinity had been cleared of timber, it was decided to kill the ox and break up the camp. It took eight Frenchmen three days to chop his legs off in order to bring him near enough to the ground so he could be struck in the head with an axe.

The same day the ox was put to death my Dad lost his job, because he had been hauling blue toothpicks for the dining hall, making six trips a day with a four-horse team, and not a toothpick remained when the camp broke up.

Harry L. Cummings
Sgt., Co. B, 6th Sup. Tr.

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