Friday, August 14, 2020

Frenchmen shore is wonders with a bucket o' paint

Fletcher Chenault, “The Camel Flagger” in Collier’s Magazine (March 30, 1918), p. 24—

…“I see by the papers,” Lige was saying, “whar’bouts the Gov’ment is sendin’ over some painter fellers to Yurope to put camel flags on our army.”

“Camel what?” I inquired, puzzled. “What kind of flag is that?”

“‘Tain’t no flag a-tall, “ Lige said. “It’s a art. You take a cannon, mebbe, an’ you paint it to look like a plowbeam, so to speak, an’ a common ord’nary waggin will look like a hayrick. It’s easy ef you know how.”

WWI French Army truck camouflage


“Oh!” I exclaimed, a light dawning on me. “You mean camouflage.”

“No, I don’t,” Lige insisted. “I mean camel flags. It’s a French word mean’ to kiver up. Them Frenchmen shore is wonders with a bucket o’ paint or a skillet, although the only painters which I ever see was Irish an’ b’longed to a union.”

“House painters?”

“Shore—the stepladder kind. But when it comes to that, this here Lee Starr was the best camel flagger which I ever see,” Lige added reflectively. “Whensoever he got through paintin’ a thing it warn’t what you thought it was a-tall—not even hisself.”…