Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Will Rogers in South America

Will Rogers in South America

"I also believe I hold a record for speed for I wrote Folks Say of Will Rogers in seven days . . ."  (Folks Say of Will Rogers-a Memorial Anecdotage by Payne and Lyons, editors!? Published Putnam, 1936) The quote above is from Never a Dull Moment, Hyatt Verrill autobiography. It is remarkable that AHV claims authorship to this collaboration of stories about Will Rogers; he is given penultimate acknowledgement, even after Payne and Lyons, but no editor status. His sole contribution appears below, less than a page. He obviously knew Will Rogers well; they overlap in subject materials on Indians, aircraft and exploration. Both were well recognized internationally known personalities.

Rogers in South America
excerpt
by A. Hyatt Verrill
From 'Folks Say of Will Rogers' 1936 G. P. Putnam's Sons Publishers. Page 107. Digitized by Doug Frizzle, March 2013.

Although we hear little of Will Rogers good-will around South America, and few if any anecdotes of his trip to our southern neighbors have ever appeared in print yet he probably did as much if not far more to cement friendly relations with the Latin Americans than all our other so-called good-will emissaries together.
Not only did he win the esteem and love of all American, British and other foreign residents of the countries he visited, but he won the hearts of the natives as well, despite his quips at their expense.
Although there is nothing which the Latin Americans hate more than ridicule, yet they invariably took Rogers' jokes as they were intended, and enjoyed them thoroughly.
He visited Peru at the time when that country and Colombia were in a state of war over the remote frontier outpost of Leticia, and wishing to see the territory over which the two republics were fighting, Will had his pilot fly over the district. Very largely it is wild, uninhabited jungle and Rogers could see no signs of it town or settlement.
The next day, when he gave an impromptu talk in the Hotel Bolivar in Lima, he remarked, “Peru and Colombia are the only countries that ever had a war over a place they can’t find.”
A large number of English residents were present, including the British Minister to Peru, and Will drifted into reminiscences of his visit to England.
“When I was over there,” he said, “I found they always took the King’s chair away after he had presided at a function. Those Britishers knew, if they left it, some American tourist would take it away as a souvenir."

“I went out to see an old Inca city,” he told the people. “There was a big mound there, about the size of the Capitol in Washington. It was all filled with Inca mummies, they told me. I guess it must have been the Incas’ House of Representatives.”

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As an armed forces brat, we lived in Rockcliff (Ottawa), Namao (Edmonton), Southport (Portage La Prairie), Manitoba, and Dad retired to St. Margaret's Bay, NS.
Working with the Federal Govenment for 25 years, Canadian Hydrographic Service, mostly. Now married to Gail Kelly, with two grown children, Luke and Denyse. Retired to my woodlot at Stillwater Lake, NS, on the rainy days I study the life and work of A. Hyatt Verrill 1871-1954.