Hank Smith

Damon Runyon

In Our Town lives a great American patriot. Let us have this one with incidental music.

O Columbia the Gem of the Ocean!

His name is Hank Smith. He is sixty years old, unmarried, and very cranky. He was born in Atlanta, Georgia.

Does the Sun Really Shine All the Time?

In 1898 Hank Smith enlisted in the United States Army for the war with Spain. He was twice wounded in that war. The first time was in the old Thalia Café on the Barbary Coast in San Francisco. A lady hit him on the head with a bottle containing beer. She inflicted a severe scalp wound on Hank. It was Budweiser beer. She had little provocation.

When I First Met Kate By the Golden Gate.

Hank fought ’neath the Stars and Stripes at the fall of Manila and was wounded the second time in the Sampoloc district of that city when a Mestizo lady for whom his love had grown cold struck him with a kris. She missed his liver an inch. The kris had a lovely handle.

But My Heart Belongs to Daddy.

Hank fought through the Filipino Insurrection and was wounded in that, too. An American nurse from Iowa jabbed him in the right hip with a knitting needle with which she was knitting abdominal bandages for the brave soldiers. Hank was only trying to teach her some new wrestling holds. The abdominal bandages made excellent gun wipers for the brave soldiers.

O There’s One Red Rose the Soldier Knows.

Hank’s regiment was sent to China and Hank fought in the Boxer uprising and was again wounded. In the City of Pekin, a Chinese lady whose love for Hank grew cold, struck him on the left ear with a jade jar that Hank had looted from the residence of a local mandarin. She gave him a cauliflower ear. It was a mighty pretty jar.

Chinatown, My Chinatown.

In 1916 Hank was a civilian scout with General Pershing’s expeditionary forces in pursuit of Villa in Mexico. At Casa Grande, in the State of Chihuahua, a Mexican lady by the name of Mercedes to whom Hank had said hello a few times, shot off the lower lobe of his right ear with a .38-caliber pistol. That gave Hank two bum ears. It was a pearl-handled pistol.

Mexicali Rose, Good-bye.

In 1917, Hank got back in the army and went to France. He fought at Château Thierry and was wounded in Paris by a French lady who misunderstood his French. She slid a chair in his path when he tried to get closer to her to make himself clearer and he fell over the obstacle and sprained his ankle. It was a Louis XVI chair.

How You Gonna Keep ’Em Down on the Farm?

He battled with his command through the Argonne and was wounded at Bar-le-Duc by a waitress in the Hotel Commerce who did not understand his French and broke his nose with a bowl of soup. It was good vegetable soup. She threw a curve at Hank with it.

Madelon, Madelon, Madelon!

His regiment was assigned to the Army of Occupation and at Coblenz on the Rhine Hank was wounded once more. A German lady dropped a flowerpot on his head from two stories up. Hank had knocked at her door to inquire his way. He wanted to know his way up there. The flowers were geraniums.

In the Morn I Bring Thee Violets.

He was mighty glad when he got back to his home up our street and was able to settle down to a life of peace and quiet. He said he was commencing to feel the consequences of the many wounds he had incurred fighting under the Stars and Stripes, but he said he would stand ready to answer his country’s call as long as he could totter.

Franklin D. Roosevelt Jones.

The last time Hank ever wore his uniform was when the American Legion held its convention in New York City and they brought him home in an ambulance suffering many bruises and contusions. He had been in the Battle of Times Square and a lady from Idaho had mistaken his friendly spirit and had tripped him up and walked back and forth on him in her high-heeled shoes. Hank says it reminded him of old times when he was a working patriot.

Thanks for the Memory.