There is a certain “quaintness” to the southern extremities of the United States. Yeah, people may joke about how southerners are rednecks, or hillbillies, they may make fun of their accents, dress or drinking habits. Some of it is undoubtedly deserved, but actually, we’ve seen precious little of that since we’ve lived here. The South has many wonderful, redeeming qualities: people are friendly, they are sincere, they are trusting and trustworthy…salt of the earth kind of folk. And I like that.
But every now and then you see something that makes you chuckle and think, “Okay, I’d probably only see that here in the South.” The photo today was taken outside of a restaurant in Helen, Georgia. Now, what would you think when you saw a sign like this? Would you think, “Well, that might make sense in Arkansas, but Georgia?” (For those who don’t know, the mascot of one of the Arkansas football teams is a razorback hog.)
This sign could have been because of wild hogs running around in the “mountains” around Helen, I suppose. But on this particular day, it seemed to be named after the other kind of hog: motorcycles. There were motorcycles all over the place. In fact, early in the day I’d seen a funeral procession going down the main street with lots and lots of motorcycles.
Wonder if they serve pork in the restaurant?
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1820, the American whaler Essex, which hailed from Nantucket, Massachusetts, was attacked by an 80-ton sperm whale 2,000 miles from the western coast of South America.
The 238-ton Essex was in pursuit of sperm whales, specifically the precious oil and bone that could be derived from them, when an enraged bull whale rammed the ship twice and capsized the vessel. The 20 crew members escaped in three open boats, but only five of the men survived the harrowing 83-day journey to the coastal waters of South America, where they were picked up by other ships. Most of the crew resorted to cannibalism during the long journey, and at one point men on one of the long boats drew straws to determine which of the men would be shot in order to provide sustenance for the others. Three other men who had been left on a desolate Pacific island were saved later.
The first capture of a sperm whale by an American vessel was in 1711, marking the birth of an important American industry that commanded a fleet of more than 700 ships by the mid 18th century. Herman Melville’s classic novel Moby Dick (1851) was inspired in part by the story of the Essex.
TRIVIA FOR TODAY: In a lifetime, the kidneys clean more than 1 million gallons of water, enough to fill a small lake.