Then and now.
Seventeen years ago coal was selling for nineteen dollars per ton in Medford
—the winter of the ‘coal famine’—until by the action of President Roosevelt
there was a temporary get-together of conflicting parties, coalbarons and mine workers.
At that time, two Medford
writers gave expression to their thoughts.
The first (to us unknown) as follows: [p. 79]
Some days I built a fire of coke and in the kitchen sat:
It rose to twenty cents a bag and mighty scarce at that;
Then wood I gleaned from everywhere, I borrowed, bought and stole—
A rummage sale's not in it with a winter without coal.
The furniture, the fence, the trees, and all that I most prize
I burned, and as a last resort, I took to exercise.
Oh, Morgan, and oh, Mitchell, we prayed you, “still the storm,
Allow our honest people their hearts and hearths to warm.”
A fairer and a stronger man than you our danger recognized,
And when he spoke you listened and your power exercised.
And now the burden of our song shall ever gladly be,
‘The land of Teddy Roosevelt is good enough for me.’
Doubtless there are many housewives in Medford
today that can join with the other ‘mistress of the manse’ in the following:
Poor Father Noah in pensive mood
Is gazing o'er the sea,
For weighty problems fill his brain
Of nations yet to be.
His little ark is high and dry
Upon Mount Ararat.
And would that we from turmoil free
Beside old Noah sat,
No thoughts to turn
On coal to burn.
Does it not seem now as though little progress had been made in seventeen years, that it is still possible for like conditions to exist?
Thoughtful people, from Medford, Mass.
, to Medford, Oregon
, will do well to look into this matter, find and apply a remedy, and make the land of Lincoln
good enough—and better.