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Hard Work

Here, word-for-word, is a newspaper report from the local paper, dated August 23, 1912: “C.E. Abshire, editor of the Desloge Sun, lost an arm Monday night by going to sleep on a railway track near Desloge.”

“Mr. Abshire says that he had lost much sleep recently by reason of working nights and had just sent out an edition of his paper Monday night after which he felt the need of a little refreshment and went over to the Highley saloon near Desloge, where he drank four bottles of beer. He started home about 10 o‘clock and being very tired sat down on the tracks of the M.R. & B.T. Ry., and lit a cigar. This is the last he remembers until he awoke with a terrible pain in his back and cried for help which reached him about midnight.”

There are a couple of life’s lessons to be learned from Mr. Abshire’s misfortune. The first, of course, is obvious: Cigar smoking is hazardous to your health. Take heed children.

The second point is equally clear: While it may be true that hard work never killed anybody, too much work can dismember a person. Had Mr. Abshire been at home on the couch watching Monday Night Football, instead of at the office working to get the Monday edition out the door, he’d have kept his left arm. Skipping the office and going straight to Highley’s would have been a non-tiring and very good option also.

Has posterity learned from history’s mistakes? As far as the Observer can tell, the Farmington Press’ editor does not smoke cigars, so that’s good. But he appears to work hard, making the Observer fear for his limbs. (Luckily, there has not been a train track in Farmington for decades, so he should be safe in the end).

Finally, for the purposes of historical accuracy, you should also know that bottled beer was often sold by the quart in the early 20th century.

The Settlement Observer is a resident of Farmington.

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