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September 2, 2014

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Where I Stand:

Better have a good reason if you forgot Mother’s Day

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Dear readers,

Hank Greenspun was well-known for taking his life in his hands by forgetting such important dates as Mother’s Day, his wedding anniversary, an important birthday and the like.

He compounded the problem by writing about these matters in his “Where I Stand” column.

I know that Las Vegans — both newcomers and those who have been here forever — enjoy reliving some of the good old days through Hank’s words. So I have chosen a column he wrote on Mother’s Day 1954 to republish today.

In it are the normal sentiments one might expect, coupled with a glimpse into the goings-on at that time. For my father, life was normal. He was being sued by a crooked sheriff and attacked by the most powerful men in the country, who brought in the IRS bloodhounds for good measure. He also was being set up by the local brothel owner, with an assist from the little paper down the street.

Small wonder he forgot Mother’s Day. The names he included in his column that day will be meaningful to some; to others, not so much. Each of them has a colorful history in Las Vegas, and one day I will reprint what Hank really thought about these characters.

I hope you enjoy this bit of Las Vegas nostalgia, and, as my father used to counsel, I hope you remembered this very important day.

I did. Happy Mother’s Day to my daughter’s mother, my grandchildren’s fabulous mom and to all the mothers out there.

•••

Click to enlarge photo

Barbara and Hank Greenspun are pictured in this undated file photo.

Playing golf on Mother’s Day is just an example of male selfishness which no husband should subject his ever-loving wife to.

I may have forgotten this year, but next year will be different. Bouquets of flowers, diamonds, dresses, furs and possibly a car, including a full day together, will be the lot of my wife next Mother’s Day.

I do not know what the date will be for next Mother’s Day, but to all my friends who continually lead me from the path, I am serving notice that I will be busy on Mother’s Day 1954.

•••

The above was written the day after Mother’s Day 1953. It is now Mother’s Day 1954. Am I home with my sweet wife and family? The answer is “No!” Did I send my ever-loving a bouquet of flowers? Not unless Bess and Nell remembered because I have surely forgotten. And what happens to the diamonds and furs, the dresses and cars? So sorry, all stores were closed yesterday; even if they were open, I am all out of money, as witness a story in the afternoon paper that the Internal Revenue Service is closing me down for back taxes.

If the income tax people couldn’t collect taxes from me last year, they’re sure going to be embarrassed this year. However, I’m not worried about the “Revenooers.” I’ve got plenty of strength in Washington. Pat McCarran, G.W. “Molly” Malone and Joe McCarthy are on my side. They’ll see that nothing happens to me or the paper.

The senator from Wisconsin will show me how to defraud the Revenue Department. He’s an old hand at it. McCarran is no slouch either when it comes to amassing loot without benefit of disclosure. These “good friends” of mine know the ropes, and I’m sure I will receive the benefit of their wise counsel.

Perhaps Glen Jones could put in a good word for me. I understand he, too, is readying a lawsuit over statements made about ownership of the Roxie. John Cahlan is doing the research. Cliff Jones will serve the summons and Louis Weiner will try the case. Eddie Clippenger will be the star witness for the sheriff and a prostitute will testify that she never saw Glen during working hours.

Looks to me like an iron-clad case against me. The suit is being readied for May 16, which should be enough time to prove that Sheriff Jones is a dutiful law enforcement officer, as his expert and reputable witnesses are more than happy to testify.

The lawyers of Las Vegas will have to admit that I am the best source of legal business the town has ever had. There has never yet been an election since the Sun has been in existence that one or two lawsuits have not developed. We haven’t lost one yet, but there is always a first time. However, I doubt if the Glen Jones suit will be the one to break the winning streak. I say this without reservation even though I have knowledge that the afternoon paper, its editors, managing directors and assorted reporters are all in there helping Mr. Jones prove he is not what I say he is. By the way, I’ve been out of town. I wonder whatever happened to Peccole?

Oh yes! Mother’s Day. Don’t worry, mom. Nothing is going to happen to Sonny Boy. I’m staying clear of any controversies. Strictly minding my own business, which is what every dutiful son should do.

To my mother, the mother of my children and to all mothers: I may have forgotten yesterday, but mothers are with us all year and not on one day alone.

I don’t have any presents, but I do have a poem. It was written by a much greater man than I, which isn’t too hard to find, although my mother will argue that point also. All mothers feel that way about their sons. Edgar Allan Poe is the author:

“I feel that, in the heavens above,

the angels whispering to one another,

can find among their burning terms of love,

none so devotional that of ‘Mother.’”

A Happy Mother’s Day to all. Next year, flowers and presents to all mothers.

Brian Greenspun is publisher and editor of the Las Vegas Sun.

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  1. There is a very good reason for Mother's Day coming before Father's Day: Pay back.

    Carmine D