Conversations overheard at the bakery:
Him: We should probably get something for them.
Her: Honey, they don’t eat like us, not remotely anything like what we eat.
Him: You’re right, something with lots of seeds, then…
Also overheard at the bakery:
Him: I think we should get one of everything.
Her: We were sent here for breakfast burritos. Focus on the mission.
Him: That chocolate éclair looks like a burrito.
In other news, Washington state has a state flower, a state tree, and a state monster. On Aug. 26, 1970, Gov. Dan Evans issued this proclamation:
“Whereas, recent developments have shown that Washington State has only one true mysterious monster, the Great Sasquatch, and it is endangered of imminent extinction, and
“Whereas, we are the only state which is able to claim the Sasquatch as our own, Now, therefore, I Daniel J. Evans, by virtue and authority vested in me by RCW 00.00.000 do proclaim all Sasquachii within the border of our great state (and anywhere else) protected as a Washington State resource and be hereafter, the Official State Monster.”
For the trivia win: Bigfoot is the only state monster to ever have his very own syndicated TV show.
At my other job with the Bear Fight Institute, I open the mail. I do other highfalutin things, but the singular task of opening mail is germane to this story. (Side note: the Bear Fight Institute does not deal with the sparrings of ursae. The institute is a collaboration of scientists conducting planetary research.) An airmail letter from Britain contained a handwritten note requesting a professional opinion on the existence of the Loch Ness monster. I regret that I did not reply, “Dear Sir, as a research institute located in the Pacific Northwest, we can only speak on issues relating to Bigfoot.” That would have been a hairy tall tale, as the scientists at the Bear Fight Institute study geographic features, not mythical monsters.
In Barbara Davidson’s “The American Bestiary: The Most Famous Mythical Creature of Every U.S. State, Illustrated,” every state monster receives an illustrated caricature with a short biographical origin story. Included in “The American Bestiary” is a well-known monster from my childhood summer camp: Sharlie, a dinosaur-like creature dwelling beneath the waters of Payette Lake. Camp counselors would tell hushed and urgent tales of Sharlie, and why campers should never go swimming alone. Tell a kid not to go swimming alone because it’s “not safe” and they will ignore the boring adult instruction. Tell campers a mythical dragon snatches children down to a dark watery cave, and kids will religiously use the buddy system when swimming — not for safety, but to torture each other by screaming, “something just touched my leg!”
In winter, the McCall Ice Carnival always has a Sharlie carved in ice — a friendly-looking dragon, the length of frozen scales and claws looping the length of a city block, glistening in the winter sun.
Wyoming’s mythical creature is the jackalope. As the origin story goes, some guy (it’s always “some guy”) mounted antelope antlers atop a stuffed bunny and the bar décor became trendy. The viral myth has roots in a virus. Rabbits are susceptible to the Shope papillomavirus that causes carcinomas on the head and face. Carl Zimmer documents the virus in “A Planet of Viruses” — light reading about real monsters that will kill you. Fun trivia fact: There are more viruses than stars in the universe. I am never leaving the house… unless lured by a chocolate éclair from Cinnamon Twisp Bakery.
Sue Misao took another walkabout, gifting the world with this informative gem: https://www.heraldnet.com/news/not-all-who-wander-are-lost-but-we-definitely-were-and-are.