My Great Uncle, sketched below in 1927, Judge Lee Wallace’s, book “The Waif Of Times”, is loaded with funny stories dated from 1890 to 1930, none more entertaining than the story of Hy Hasardt, a colorful citizen of Kerrville, Texas.


By Lee Wallace

It’s harder to unwrap than it is to wrap nature. In other words it’s harder to straighten things than it is to crook them. Find someone who is naturally, or rather unnaturally, wrapped and it’s a harder job to get the kink out of him than it would have been to put that same kink into him. For instance, you find one who is inclined to lying and it’s a much harder problem to incline him away, than it would be to incline a normal one to such a vice.

Same way by animals, some dogs would hunt coons on a dessert or on Fifth Avenue, some horses fox-trot in a funeral procession or hitched to a fire wagon. Some people lie for you as readily as against you. Nature, or rather the lack of it, wrapped them that way and there you are or rather there they are.

Old Hy Hasardt, with a Teutonic accent was one of such kind. Flung out into the procession of life wrapped, but Hy’s wrap was fighting. Fight for you, fight you or against you; anyway, just so he was doing something in his line, exercising his leading talent, always looking, listening, feeling, smelling, hunting for trouble and finding it aplenty. Somewhere by someone a flaming scar, perhaps from a knife slash, had been left across his face, a crashing blow had unmatched his jaws, a twisted and broken nose that resembled a down payment on some of Hy’s belligerency, but Hy was still for war.

Here is a summary of Hy’ life. Mother had died when he was an infant, father remarried within a year, Bodo, a half-brother, born within another year. Hy’s bad treatment of his half-brother causes resentment from the mother of Bodo and a final separation between the senior Hasardt and the stepmother Bodo going, of course, with his mother. Seventeen years pass, Hy gets married, occupies his father’s house, raises a family, the father forced to to move into a shed beside of the barn where, unhonored, he finally dies. All the while Bodo and mother are stuck away in some obscure corner of the earth unknown to the other Hasardt’s, and maybe to all but a very few others.

When the Hy’s father dies, they find no will and then it dawns upon Hy, that Bodo, if alive, or with heirs, owns interest in the Hasardt’s estate. This intensified his hatred for Bodo. Hy drinks heavily, consults lawyers, hangs around the courthouse and saloons, and keeps a lookout on for strangers.

Finally, one fine day, one checks in at Fosters Saloon whom Hy takes for Bodo. He makes a rush with an open knife on the stranger that results in a “sedative”, delivered from the stranger, that puts him to sleep for many hours. We placed Hy lengthwise on an unbusy billiard table in back of the saloon and finally brought him out of the fog. The first indication of returning sanity was when he asked, “Deed Poto keele any potty else?”

The sheriff witnesses the attack and refuses to arrest the stranger, who disappears leaving the whole affair in mystery, until six weeks later we read of the killing of Hally Gilbert by Mike Heenan in a prize fight held in Langtry.

Gilbert’s neck was broken at a time when seemingly the fight was going his way. Heenan in an interview with reporters, his picture alongside, told and demonstrated how it was done, and when asked if he had ever applied the method before, said, “Yes, six weeks ago in Kerrville, through which I was passing and had stopped for a glass of lemonade. I turned the same “ether” slightly on a hoodlum assaulting me with an open knife.”

We saw the picture of Heenan, read the interview and then we knew that Bodo had not come to claim his part of the estate, and that Hy was lucky that the “ether” had not been turned on full force. That same day we showed Hy the paper with Heenan’s picture and interview. He read, reread and studied the paper like someone nursing a memory. Then handed the paper back to Charley Reed, saying as he did so, “I pe tam; I fight no more, not efen with “Poto”. He kept his word and Bodo never showed up.