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Shorty Harris

Shorty Harris & Bessie Hart



I knew a girl in Ballarat by the name of Bessie Hart. She was a mighty fine woman and a good cook. No one in camp dared to pull any rough stuff around heróshe was six feet tall, weighed 210 pounds, and could lick a husky man. I don't know why a little hammered-down fellow like me should fall in love with a woman like thatóbut I did just the same. One day I was up by the Stone Corral sharpening picks in the blacksmith shop, and Bessie was blowing the bellows for me. Two of her best friends, Dean Harrison and Tom Walker, had gone to Tonopah, and she was missing them a lot, and I thought this would be a good chance for me.

"Miss Bessie," I said, "I guess you're kind of lonesome now since Dean and Tom are gone?"

"Oh, a little," she said.

"Well now, we've been kind of friendly for several years, and since they aren't likely to come back, what's the matter with me and you getting married?"

She didn't say anything for a minute or twoójust looked me over from head to footó just gave me the top and bottom stuff, and I wondered if she was going to speak.

"Shorty," she said finally. "I like you. .. . You're a good friend and a handy little fellow to play with. But you're too little for hard work!"

That was all I needed to show me that I was out of luck when it came to getting a wife, and I've never tried since. .. . But even if I've never been lucky at the game of love, I've had some good breaks when I was looking for gold.


Excerpt from: Half a Century Chasing Rainbows
By Frank "Shorty" Harris as told to Phillip Johnston
Touring Topics: Magazine of the American Automobile Association of Southern California
October 1930


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