Column: Two men I've looked up to - and never metA new waterfowl season is looming. I don’t hunt, but it is hard to live in Minnesota and not know when hunters are going for the ducks and geese. Duck hunting brings to mind what is for me an odd sensation — I feel I know a man I never met. He is one of two area natives who merit attention just now.
By: Ray Crippen, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — A new waterfowl season is looming. I don’t hunt, but it is hard to live in Minnesota and not know when hunters are going for the ducks and geese.
Duck hunting brings to mind what is for me an odd sensation — I feel I know a man I never met. He is one of two area natives who merit attention just now.
The man I feel I knew is J. N. (Ding) Darling, who a long time ago was graduated from a Sioux City high school. Ding Darling worked for many years at the Des Moines Register, and became one of America’s most storied and honored political cartoonists. He also was a pioneer in the conservation cause.
Why do I feel I knew/met Ding Darling? First: V.M. Vance, founder of the Daily Globe, had talent for sketching. Briefly, V.M. thought of becoming a cartoonist. He worked at the Des Moines paper, and he knew Ding Darling. He talked of Darling through all his life.
Lloyd Refsell, who guided the Daily Globe’s Construction Kibitzer column, also had sketching talent. Lloyd did not know Ding, but he talked of him — most newspaper people of that generation talked of Ding Darling now and again.
Most of all, Bob Artley, the Daily Globe’s renowned cartoonist — political cartoons, plus, “Memories of a Former Kid” — Bob Artley acknowledged a debt to Ding Darling and says still Darling was his inspiration/idol.
I worked through long years with people who told stories of Ding Darling. No wonder, I guess, that I thought I must have met the man.
Oh — and what about Ding Darling and duck hunting?
By the early 1930s, Darling was among America’s best-known conservationists. Although his political cartoons jabbed at Democrats, President Franklin Roosevelt appointed the kid from Sioux City as first chief of the Bureau of Biological Survey. Darling designed the first duck stamp and was the key figure in passing the Duck Stamp Act. So it is, this year brings the 75th anniversary duck stamp.
I was reading a newspaper account of this and I thought, “There is that man again.” Through all the years, every time I turn around, there is Jay (Ding) Darling. Isn’t this strange?
This first duck stamp? It was two mallards settling into a pond. You say it looks like something Worthington’s Jerry Raedeke painted? Darling also was inspiration for America’s wildlife painters.
Another area man who comes to my mind — a hero — is Francis Case, who grew up on a farm at Everly, Iowa. From Worthington, go south on U.S. 59 to Sanborn, then east to Everly.
The Case family moved to Sturgis, S.D. In the passing of years, Francis became editor/publisher of the Hot Springs Star and the Custer Chronicle. In 1950, he became U.S. senator from South Dakota. He was destined for greatness. Every candidate in each political season should spend an hour pondering the example of Sen. Case.
The U.S. Senate was debating a bill to end all regulation of America’s natural gas industry. Francis Case was inclined to support the measure; President Eisenhower favored it and Sen. Case was a Republican.
Then one February morning in 1956, Sen. Case reported a man dropped off an envelope at his office with $2,500 in cash. Case said he never had received more than $300 from anyone in his life.
It turned out the $2,500 came from a lobbyist for the gas industry. Sen. Case, who never had cut a big figure in the Senate, rose and offered a speech that shook his colleagues from greatest to least.
Case said the gas industry was attempting to buy his favor. He would vote against the gas deregulation bill. It was supported by corrupt people, Case said.
The Case speech stirred a sensation across the land. Despite a great public roar, the Senate did vote to end control of the gas industry — Lyndon Johnson was Senate majority leader, and LBJ favored the measure.
Public outcry grew, however, and President Eisenhower vetoed the bill, which he favored. He agreed with Sen. Case that lobbyists were buying votes.
Would that we had a politician today to equal the farm boy from Everly. I don’t think there are politicians like Francis Case any longer.
Ray Crippen is a former editor of the Daily Globe. His column appears on Saturdays.