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.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Front.sculpta
    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • Shadow.salon
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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