Remembering Klamath’s ‘A. Brizard Company’

There are a number of memories of both the old and new A. Brizard Company, Inc., in Requa and Klamath. For me it was the large red metal building at the end of Redwood Drive that doubled as home for the U.S. Post Office, run by Klamath Post Master Earl Morgan.

In 1913, A. Brizard, Inc., purchased the store operated by the Samoa Mercantile Company.  Ruth Roberts, Del Norte historian and curator of the McNulty Home Museum in Crescent City shared her memories in May 1963, of Requa when her husband was office manager for the Klamath River Packer’s Association.

She recalled the fishing village as it was in 1917:

“A. Brizard Company in Requa was more of an institution than a general merchandise store. Brizard’s was the general meeting place of the community, with the only telephone in the area,” she penned. “There was a stage in once a day from Eureka, with mail and newspapers, vegetables, and every other day fresh bread. It was a days trip from Eureka in 1917.”

“Aside from the stage, the major amount of supplies, cannery equipment and machinery came by water,” Ruth added. “When Marvin (Buster) Meng became associated with Brizard in Requa, most of the stores supplies were carried there by gasoline schooners operated by Nelson Steamship Company in Eureka.”

“Enough supplies were brought to last six or seven months. Canned salmon often made up the return cargo to Humboldt Bay,” Ruth concluded.

“I remember the A. Brizard Company in Requa as a bulwark of community security and friendliness. Their managers were always superior people with the interest of the community and citizens at heart,” Ruth opined.

Ruth wrote of William Barney, the Brizard store manager, calling him  the ‘leading spirit’ of the community.

“He took care of personal problems, insurance, etc., and kept valuables and important papers in the company safe,” she recalled. “As a young man, ‘Barney,’ as he was known, studied medicine, and had a great flair for doctoring.”

“He set minor fractures, patched up wounds, and gave general aid and comfort to the ill. Most of the Indians had more faith in him than an ‘MD,’” she continued.

“In cases of serious illness, he always assisted in getting patients to the one physician in Crescent City, 25 miles away,” Ruth wrote. “I used to make sick calls with him during the salmon packing season when many Indians came from Weitchpec and the Lower Klamath to fish and work in the cannery.”

“They lived in cannery cabins. Often there was illness and accident among them,” she remembered.

She described Barney’s many ‘acts of mercy,’ including the laying out of the dead, writing: “The cannery made Redwood coffins for them.”

“My husband, C.H Roberts and ‘Barney’ conducted a ‘voluntary business’ bureau,” she stated. “Before the packing season opened they went over the names of the fishermen and cannery workers and determined their financial ratings, thus protecting them from pressure spending.”

“The payroll for the season at the cannery was approximately $100,000. Employees drew what they needed on Saturdays, and the final payoff was made at the end of the season,” penned Ruth. “Accounts were settled and supplies purchased.”

“Buster Meng and his brother worked with ‘Barney’ before the store was moved to Klamath, on the completion of the Douglas Memorial Bridge in 1927,” Ruth recalled.

Nearly 28-years later, Meng was still employed with Brizard, having risen to the position of manager.

It was December 21, 1955, when a raging Klamath River overflowed its banks and flooded the town of Klamath. The muddy water destroyed or damaged much of the business district and scores of homes.

“A. Brizard Inc., was not spared in this,” company president Robert Matthews, recalls of the tragedy. “Within a few hours, everything we had at the Klamath store – fixtures, merchandise, had gone down the river.

“Manager ‘Buster’ Meng stayed to the last-minute putting merchandise off the floor, onto shelves, thinking that the flood had reached its peak. He was certainly loyal to the core,” he stated of Meng.

The flood not only reached the shelves, it destroyed the building, washing it from its foundation and onto a nearby lot. Meng remained in the store until ordered to leave by Civil Defense officers.

Unfortunately, Meng’s home washed away during the flood. However, it took only eight weeks for A. Brizard Company, Inc. to open a new market place in Klamath, this one on Redwood Drive, jus’ north of Hunter Creek, where my memory of the store begins and ends.

The store closed shortly after my family moved into our new home on Redwood Drive in 1967. But the post office remained in the building until the federal government constructed a modern stand alone building in the new Klamath town site.

After both the post office and the store had left, the Simpson Lumber Company used the building to house equipment. Today, all that remains is a concrete foundation surrounded by a over-growth of blackberry vines.

By Tom Darby

Me Brother, the World, and the Horse


My brother had always been destined for the footlights of the theatre’s stage and I, only to serve my fellow-man. As I was walking down my required path, I eyed that young fellow ambling towards me — decked out in fancy clothes, but staring at his feet.

As he approached me, he looked up and says, “Brother!”

I say, “Peter,” looking him up and down from head-to-toe.

He replies, “Sean, you ol’ son-of-a-gun.”

We shook hands and gave each other a bear hug. He, then looked troubled at me.

“What’s botherin’ you, Petie?” I asked.

“You,” he replied.

I didn’t understand what he was saying and I told him so. Then he motions me to a bench and relayed his problem as we sat there in the park.

“How come is it everyone likes an’ says ‘hello’ to you, more than I?” asked Peter.

I looks him in the eye, bluntly saying, “’Cause you think the world owes you a livin’ an’ that me brother, is wrong.”

To this he seemed to look backward into his head for something to say, searching for a thought, avoiding my look.

He then replies, “I don’t understand, I’m someone in this world — an’ I should be treated as someone.”

He suddenly stopped and started searching again.

Again I looked at him, “The world doesn’t owe you a livin’ an’ for sure no one owes you any recognition.”

“Do go on,” he inquired.

“Do you honestly think the poor fellow who earns five-pennies a day to feed his children an’ lovin’ wife would forgo one copper cent to you an’ leave himself an’ his family the rest to live on?” I asked.

“No,” Peter answered.

“Men don’t do that…nobody does that!” I continued.

“Ah, but you’re wrong, me all-wise brother,” began Pete. “Some folk would give me a penny – perhaps even a nickel, iffen I needed it.”

“Aye,” I said, “yer right, but people such as you speak of are either fools or Christians an’ because of their generosity aren’t long for this world.”

Peter squirmed in his seat and eyed me puzzling-like as I continued.

“Why?” I asked Peter. “Why are they not long for this world? ‘Cause I tell you, they’ll either starve to death or they’re jus’ too good of nature for this world an’ He’ll take’em away for being’ too good. That’s why!”

“That still doesn’t answer me question about why you’re more liked than me,” said Peter in an ill-natured tone.

“Aye, it does!” I snapped back.

Peter sprang to his feet, asking at the top of his lungs, “Oh, yeah?! How?!”

I stood and calmly looked him squarely in the eye, and coldly replied, “I’m more liked only to you, to everyone else I’m jus’ a flat-footed copper, who twirls his baton an’ tips his cap to all the ladies.”

I felt hot under the collar and I could see my brothers’ eyes turn red with anger.

All Peter could muster was an, “Oh, yeah?”

“And furthermore, Peter,” I started in, “while you’ve been on yer high horse, ridin’ about everyone, tryin’ to see beyond them – I was down here lookin’ ‘em straight in the eye as a man should an’ not tryin’ to be something more than I weren’t.”

Perhaps I should have stopped there, for I could see his answer in his face, but I didn’t stop nor did I slow in my words.

“Also, iffen yer feelin’ inferior it’s probably ‘cause while you were tryin’ to be superior, you fergot what it’s like to be real,” and with that I turned and headed for my usual path.

I’d taken no more than five steps when I felt his strong hand clutch me at the elbow and spin me about on me heel. He narrowed in on my eye: “I’ve fallen from me mount – will you help me catch it?”

“Let that horse run, jus’ let’er run,” I answered him as I put my arm over his shoulder, “Now, let me buy you a mug o’ suds, okay?”

By Tom Darby

Falling Oil Prices Greasing the Skids to War

While most are happy with lower gas prices,  they will eventually cause the former Soviet Union’s economy to crash, leading to a world-wide depression, then war.

A year ago, Russia’s economy was growing by about one-and-a-half percent and President Vladimir Putin was preparing to host the Sochi Winter Olympics. A year later, the ruble has lost nearly 50-percent against the U.S. dollar and Russia’s central bank has hiked its key interest rate for a sixth time to 17-percent.

Russia meets about 30 percent of Europe’s gas demand, mostly under long-term contracts linked to oil. However, Russian gas flows to Europe has fallen by 25 percent.

Europe’s biggest gas-consuming nations, Germany and the United Kingdom, have had mild winter this year, lessening the need for heating fuel. Also, gas usage in eight European Union nations, accounting for 63 percent of consumption, has fallen by 11-percent this year.

Because of the falling prices at U.S. gas pumps, you can expect price reductions elsewhere in the market followed by a deflationary economy.

In the 1930’s the U.S. experienced broad and persistent deflation. It was only the onset of World War II that shocked the economy out of deflationary expectations.

By Tom Darby

The Omnibus Funding Bill: $1.1 Trillion in Near-Treason

It was on September 23, 2010, when House Speaker John Boehner made a campaign promise, saying that the GOP would post all bills online for “at least three days” before voting on them. However, H.R. 83 passed only 49 hours and 20 minutes after it first appeared online.

Now the incoming Republican majorities in both the House and the Senate, elected last November, will have no say over federal spending policies. But this is all jus’ trivia compared to what the 1,603-page bill allows the Obama administration do.

The ‘Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations’ omnibus government funding bill lets the administration spend more than $1.1 trillion on discretionary government programs through September 30, 2015.  The bill also doesn’t stop Obama from using money appropriated money from the Treasury to carry out his plan to legalize illegal aliens, nor does it halt the continued implementation of Obamacare.

Additionally, it doesn’t halt the administration’s continued funding of the nation’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood. Meanwhile it will continue to force health-care plans to provide co-pay free coverage for sterilization, contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs.

Nevada’s delegation including Republican Congressmen Mark Amodei and Joe Heck and Democratic Congressman Steven Horsford voted in favor of the bill. Only Democratic Congresswoman Dina Titus voted against it.

By Tom Darby

The Sham of Nevada’s First National Monument

Nevada is getting its first national monument, but it is nothing to write home about. H.R 2015 was among several natural resource measures Congress passed as it battled over whether to or not to fund the federal government through October 2015.

Not only would the ‘Las Vegas Valley Public Land and Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument Act’ gives BLM land to both Clark and Nye Counties to be used for economic development, creates additions to the Great Basin College in Pahrump, College of Southern Nevada and the University of Nevada-Las Vegas campuses, it provides for the creation of the Nellis Dunes OHV park and an expansion of Nellis Air Force Base.

H.R 2015 also has the ‘Pine Forest Range Recreation Enhancement Act,’ which designates about 26,000 acres within the Blue Lakes and Alder Creek Wilderness Study Areas as the Pine Forest Range Wilderness Area and release around 1,000 acres of the existing WSA lands. The bill would also directs the Bureau of Land Management to exchange federal lands surrounding nearby ranches for private parcels within the existing WSAs to allow for the management of public lands and make sure the economic viability of privately owned ranches.

The ‘Lyon County Economic Development and Conservation Act’ also contained in H.R 2015, lets Yerington partner with Nevada Copper to buy nearly 10,000 acres of BLM land surrounding the Pumpkin Hollow project site for industrial, recreational, and infrastructure purposes. It also designates over 48,000 acres in Lyon County as the Wovoka Wilderness Area.

The part of H.R. 2015, labeled ‘Restoring Storey County Act’ transfers the surface rights to about 1,745 acres of BLM land in Virginia City to Storey County to end conflicting ownership and title claims. Meanwhile, the Carlin Economic Self-Determination Act gives Carlin nearly 1,400 acres of BLM land surrounding the city for the purpose of multi-use development.

The bills, ‘Elko Motocross and Tribal Conveyance Act’ hands Elko County and the Te-moak Tribe of Western Shoshone Indians of Nevada around 275 acres of BLM land to be used as a motocross, bicycle, off-highway vehicle, or stock car racing area. Finally, the Fernley Economic Self-Determination Act gives Fernley some 9,114 acres of BLM and Bureau of Reclamation lands within the city boundaries to used for development.

The best part of H.R. 2015 is the ‘Naval Air Station Fallon Housing and Safety Development Act.’ It transfers a 400 acre BLM parcel already within NAS Fallon to the Secretary of the Navy. The land’s earmarked for housing Navy families and would provide needed flexibility to grow the base.

However, H.R 2015 does not provide for funding – so federal agencies like the U.S. Park Service will have to find money within its existing budget to move plans for Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument from paper to reality, which probably won’t happen until the Fiscal 2016 budget arrives next October. This means Nevada’s newest monument remains closed to the public which it’s supposed to be for.

By Tom Darby

Repurposing the News

This is a story from the U.S. which has remained largely ignored by our national news media because it doesn’t come with ‘live-action’ video, pictures or sound:

“A manhunt is still underway for a man accused of going on a shooting spree early Monday killing six family members, including his ex-wife, and wounding a teen in three towns across Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Bradley Stone is considered armed and dangerous as police actively searching for him.”

Meanwhile, from Sydney, Australia – news footage from TV-7 of the ending to a coffee-shop hostage crisis is being played over-and-over. It lends credibility to the old news saw: ‘If it bleeds, it leads.”

As I watch the video of the Aussie police enter the coffee shop for the hundredth time or more, I realize we have gone from reporting the news to repurposing the news. And I’m as guilty as any.

Falling Tree Kills Tahoe Teen, Race Considered a Factor

A South Lake Tahoe family believes race and foul-play are factors in their 14-year-old son’s death. His parents reported him missing  during a severe storm, with 60 to 100-plus mile per hour winds predicted, saying they last saw him as he went out with friends.

However Dejon never returned home. Taneka and Deshawn Smith, the teen’s parents, say they requested a search team with dogs, an amber alert, and a press release be issued to the news, but they were ignored.

Dejon was found dead three-days later by family friend’s Monica Nichols and Tyrone Brown.

“I hate to say it, if it were some little white girl that went missing or behind you know, they find out all the time,” Brown told Reno’s KRNV News. “Part of is that there ain’t too many black folk in South Lake Tahoe, and they just didn’t give the effort. There’s no way we should have found him before the police.”

South Lake Tahoe Police say they searched a wooded area more than a half mile away from where Dejon’s body was eventually located, based on a witness who last saw the teen, but found nothing.

“It’s really an irrelevant factor, anytime we get a missing juvenile, we follow the same procedures,” SLTPD Lieutenant David Stevenson told KRNV in response to claims an amber alert should have been issued. “It’s not something we would typically flood the local press with unless it was something specific that reporting to them, and they reporting to the public, would hopefully help us with the investigation.”

You’re asked to call the South Lake Tahoe Police Department at 530-542-6100, if you have any information about this case.

By Tom Darby

NBC Avoids the Nightly News

NBC Nightly News remains the only national broadcast to completely have ignored ObamaCare architect Jonathan Gruber mocking the “stupidity” of voters. Instead of airing what Gruber said, they have done their best to obfuscate the story with ‘fluff.’

NBC Nightly News featured a full report during their November 13 cast, on “Guinness World Records Day,” and NBC morning show weatherman Al Roker’s attempt to set the record for longest weather report. The same newscast feature Cynthia McFadden’s profile of a Minnesota company where employees receive hot chili, cold beer and unlimited vacation days.

The November 17 edition of found time for a story about an Australian news anchor who wore the same blue suit every day for a year. Two-days later, Williams used 30 seconds to tell viewers that cast member Cecily Strong of Saturday Night Live would be performing a comedy routine at the 2015 White House Correspondents’ Dinner and they devoted a full report to a study documenting the news media’s bias in favor of dog stories.

The November 28 newscast aired an outcry over the New York Times choosing a grape salad as Minnesota’s favorite Thanksgiving food, when most in the state had never even heard of it. By the way, in Nevada, where we live in a constant state of dehydration, the favorite food is supposedly ‘frog-eye salad.’

Come December 1, NBC reported on a fired GOP congressional aide, who in a Facebook post, criticized the first daughters for the way they acted during the pardoning of the Thanksgiving turkey. Furthermore, during the same newscast, they also had a report/commercial for online dating site, FarmersOnly.

Three days later, fill-in host Lester Holt over-promoted a full report by correspondent Harry Smith profiling Allison Williams, who is Brian Williams’ daughter, and had the lead in the NBC musical ‘Peter Pan. The week before, on November 26, NBC ran a “behind the scenes” package, look at preparations for the live broadcast.

The next day, on December 5, Williams wasted airtime showing six-year-old boy clapping as he watched ‘Peter Pan.’ Also during the same newscast, Kevin Tibbles had a story about how people are buying ugly Christmas sweaters.

On December 9, the evening of Gruber’s appearance before a Senate hearing, NBC Nightly News finally presented a 30-second piece about Gruber’s foibles. The next night, there was nothing.

It was as if the hearing hadn’t happened.

By Tom Darby

Too Tall to be an Elf

While waiting in a doctor’s office, a boy of about four-years-old kept looking my way. Every time I caught his eye, he’d duck down behind the row of chairs.

After a few minutes he asked his mother in a rather loud whisper “Is that man Santa?”

The mother looked at me and my bushy, white beard and smiled. I could see she was both embarrassed and trying to think of a response.

“I don’t think so, but he might be one of Santa’s elves,” she answered.

The child studied me for a minute more, and then with certainty, announced, “Nope – he’s way too tall!”

By Tom Darby