Not all kinds of men are down there, but many kinds. There are Mexicans, Sinn Feiners, old American stock, and once in awhile a venturesome Yankee. There are lumberjacks in from the North, and Chinamen in shuffling slippers, and philosophers and Swedes, half-breeds and just plain men. Some are Vagabonds who can’t help their roving, and others are very tired and would like to lie over in port for or a long spell. There are Italians, and Portuguese, and many Greeks, and turbaned Hindus, tall and skinny, always traveling in pairs like nuns. Sometimes the Port is fairly crowded.
New England is a section of the country where men leave home, and I have heard mothers sing with tears in their voices: “Oh, where is my wandering boy tonight?” On Third street down at the Port o’ Missing Men, I have a fancy that I would like to write back to all those mothers that here are their boys. But, after all, what good would that do, for who can tell which is which?
Oh, the things our eyes discover as we walk along on Market street. Such a medley — infinite, incongruous, comical, pathetic, motley and sublime.
Harding in a window with “pure buttermilk.” He’ll be in more difficult situations before he is done, I’m thinking. An electric fan above him that keeps the buttermilk “pure” and flies the American flag in crepe paper.
“Crabs to take home.” They are freshly cooked, very large and forty cents apiece. I decide that some I shall really buy one and take it home when I confronted with the fact that “All Hair Goods Must Be Sold.” Why, I wonder. Why must they be sold? And here are “Eggs any style,” so close to the hair goods that I immediately visualize them as marcelled “style” and pompadoured.
“Shoes Drastically Reduced.” It is the truth. The Oxfords I wear are reduced by a drastic five dollars. Well, I couldn’t go barefooted, I comfort myself and hurry on.
A shooting gallery and a man standing there trying to make up his mind to try it. A second’s glimpse of him and all that he is is revealed. One knows immediately that his favorite song is “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean,” and that his ideal man is Governor Allen and that he is on his way to spend his “remaining days” with his sister Lottie in Los Angeles.
Who would eat “stewed tripe Spanish.” Someone must or they wouldn’t advertise it on the outside of he restaurant. Well, it takes all sorts of people to make a world. Probably the man who would order “stewed tripe Spanish” wouldn’t touch an alligator pear salad. To him alligator pears taste exactly like lard. To the person who wouldn’t eat “stewed tripe Spanish” they are a delicacy.
A crowd around a window. On your tip-toes to see. It’s that fascinating Lilliputian with a beard and electric bowels who stands in drug store windows and administers corn cure to his own toes with a smile.