Columns

2007.29.07 Loads of fun with Billy Bass and Sterlena

on . Posted in Nowhere Road

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.

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