2007.29.07 Loads of fun with Billy Bass and Sterlena

Written by David Green.

By RICH FOLEY

Anybody have a Big Mouth Billy Bass that they no longer want? In case you were wondering where the singing fish on a plaque goes when his owner is tired of the joke, the answer might be Texas. A seafood restaurant chain named Flying Fish has “adopted” over 300 of the  finned toys.

The Billy Bass soon-to-be ex-owner fills out adoption papers, turns over the fish and gets a certificate and a free catfish dinner. The fish now cover the walls and much of the ceiling of the Dallas location of the  eatery, with the former owner’s name and date of adoption written underneath.

Larry Richardson, co-owner of the restaurant, told the Lone Star Outdoor News that most are brought in by women. “Most of them ask us to please get this out of their attic-or garage, or house-and they all tell us, ‘If he comes looking for it, don’t tell him it’s here.’”

Now, I’m starting to feel sorry I didn’t get one when I had the chance. I saw one for sale at a yard sale for $2 earlier this year. The owner said it had never been used and she was trying to get rid of it. I would have been in good company if I had purchased it.

According to Wikipedia, comedian Jeff Foxworthy has said anyone owning more than three Billy Basses “might be a redneck.” Jeff himself meets the criteria, along with comedy pal Bill Engvall, who has four. Queen Elizabeth has one, or at least used to, unless she traded it for a catfish dinner on her recent visit to the United States. Another one unfortunately passed away in the recent downtown Wauseon fire.

I kind of like the idea of covering a wall with them. I don’t own a restaurant, so offering a catfish dinner is out of the question, but how about an autographed Observer to anyone turning in a Billy Bass? If you’ve got the bass, I’ve got the newspapers. If that idea fails to entice anyone, you’ll force me to have to go to Plan B.

Plan B is to adopt a 14 foot tall cow and move her to Fayette. Yes, I’m talking about Sterlena, the fiberglass mascot of the now-defunct Sterling Milk company. Back in April, when the Wisconsin-based company that has owned the Sterling dairy and associated convenience stores for the past several years  announced they were selling the Sterling operation to a Canadian firm, there was much uproar in the Wauseon community.

Some residents were concerned that Sterlena would be transported back to Wisconsin when Circle K took over, but whether or not she was included in the sale still isn’t public knowledge. The old owners had an office equipment and rummage sale a couple of months ago (I bought a Sterling wall clock) and now the former headquarters building appears to be unused with Sterlena (dare I say it?) cowering in a outside corner of the building. She looks sad and pretty lonely, and I intend to do something about it.

It really seems impractical to move Sterlena to Wisconsin. It would take forever because she’s hardly aerodynamic. You certainly wouldn’t be able to tow her at Interstate speeds. Besides, I’m sure the police would insist the trailer display a “Slow Mooving Vehicle” sign. I think it’s just a bad idea. Since there hasn’t been any recent concern shown on Sterlena’s behalf by the citizens of Wauseon, I think a “moove” to Fayette is in order.

And I know just the place to put her—in the side yard of my apartment complex. Since I emigrated to Fayette, it’s always been a bit difficult giving directions because I live in a group of rental units without a name. With Sterlena guarding the property, “Big Cow Apartments” seems a natural, don’t you think? “You can’t miss it. Take a right at the second street past the light, go five blocks, then take a left at the 14 foot fiberglass cow.” Who could possibly get lost now?

Just think of the visitors coming from near and far to see Sterlena. We could set up a gift shop with Big Cow merchandise: T-shirts, hats, postcards, miniature Sterlenas, all the latest knickknacks. You can bet McDonald’s and Starbucks won’t be far behind. Maybe even a tattoo parlor. I wonder if we’d need the property rezoned for agricultural use? And I wonder if a giant cow in the yard would make me a redneck? I’d better call Mr. Foxworthy. I just hope my landlord has a sense of humor.

So those are my options. Bass or bovine? Surf or turf? Stay tuned for updates.

  • Front.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
  • Front.band
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.

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