Last night, I remembered a book I stumbled upon but never checked out while researching ball lightning for a paper in the University of North Dakota geology library a quarter of a century ago. It didn’t quite belong in a geology library (or in the nonfiction section), but I’m glad it was there.
In the book, the author told of a hitherto undiscovered land where an assortment of fantastic little critters lived who had evolved adaptations a la Galápagos/Darwin. It had wonderful illustrations and seemed to be written in a very serious and scientific manner. That’s all I remembered.
After quite a few futile search stabs with ODIN (the Online Dakota Information Network), I added “satire” to the search and BINGO.
The Snouters: Form and Life of the Rhinogrades by Harald Stümpke (1967)
Found and bought a good-looking hardcover on eBay and it’s headed my way.
I had gone to Central Dakota Humane Society looking for a calico, and there were a few. It was great fun meeting them all.
And then I was told there was one more in quarantine along with a sister and two brothers. They had been abandoned during the night at the shelter.
The calico was Patchie — You know her as Cricket these days. There was a black and white boy with an impressive overbite named Sylvester. There was a tumbly orange fella named Nipper. And lastly, there was an adorable doof with orange and white fur and a single canine tooth named Sophia.
I wasn’t supposed to like her.
As I sat on a chair inside the quarantine, Sophia came right up to me, stood up and put her front feet on my leg to check me out, purred, hopped into my lap and then hopped on my shoulder like a parrot.
Thanks to growing up in North Dakota — where nobody got rid of perfectly-good appliances until they stopped working, exploded, caught fire or got skunked by an actual skunk — I am very familiar with Avocado and Harvest (called “Harvest Gold”* in my neck of the woods). On the other hand, I only have fleeting memories of Woodhue, Frost White and Mist Blue after seeing them here, and the latter two mostly just remind me of those long-expired pastel mints that elderly relatives always had somewhere in their house in a decorative glass container. [shudder]
*I have been informed that Harvest Gold is darker than simply Harvest, but still lighter than the infamous Harvest Black.
Ad of Yore: General Electric Air Conditioner full-page print advertisement from a 1969 Look magazine
After years and years of research, I have finally found the one person who best epitomizes North Dakotans for the outside world.
It’s not Lawrence Welk, Josh Duhamel (Sorry, ladies.), Shadoe Stevens, Leslie Bibb (Call me!) or Angie Dickinson. Rather, it’s Father Aloysius Bittman of Mandaree, North Dakota, who was featured in a 1969 print ad for Volkswagen.
Don’t believe me? See for yourself.
Ad of Yore: Volkswagen print advertisement from a 1969 Look magazine