September 3, 2009

Last week, we finally got to see the squirrels.

It was move in day for #1 son, his first official day away from home. And I needed something to cheer me up.

A friend recently suggested that I could earn extra money by writing anecdotes for “Chicken Soup for the Soul”. If I can be cheered by visiting a mortuary full of dead animals I am probably not in their ideal contributor pool.

And the fact that #1’s girlfriend was as excited as I was about the trip was a source of confusion to all the males in the family, who had thought this was a clear case of ‘humoring mom’ and were now worried that interest in novelty taxidermy was a gender thing.

After moving #1 into one half of an incredibly small room with a spectacular view of Lake Mendota, we went out to lunch at the Korean restaurant I’d been trying to get to since Mother’s Day of 2008. And then, it was off down University Avenue, to see the rodents.

If squirrels are rodents, that is.

The Roadside America site

truly does not do this place justice. I was expecting a small display of stuffed squirrels hidden (in shame) in a back room.

Instead, I found a finished basement, full of stuffed everything. Apparently, the previous owner thought it would be a nice display for people to visit, after viewing their departed loved ones.

There’s your proof that morticians have an odd sense of humor. And that Sam Sanfillipo is definitely my kind of guy. Apparently Sam was, or is a sport fisherman besides being a squirrel fanatic. Although I did not take pictures of them, the walls held every imaginable sport fish, including a couple of rays and a hammerhead shark.

There was also the usual collection (usual for Wisconsin, anyway) of deer heads, and a moose wearing a baseball cap. Again, this is small potatoes, and not picture worthy. Except for perhaps this:

Still not the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen. I’d have given it extra points, though, if it had been part of a set. And I definitely should have recorded the caption on the little statue on the table. I can’t remember what that was, but I’ll bet that, in retrospect, it would have been funny.

And then, there was the usual collection of small mammals. A bobcat eating a pheasant, some blond raccoons, a really big beaver

who seems to be pretty happy.

And one of our river ambassadors

just for Nicola.

And then, the white squirrels:

Apparently, white squirrells have a thing for sports and transportation. The shot of the motorize ferris wheel, full of chipmunks, surrounded by white squirrels, did not turn out. Nor did I get a decent picture of the albinos in pink and purple Barbie cars.

However, this will give you an indication of where things were headed:

And then, it started to get weird.

That’s the mascot of the University of Wisconsin, by the way. His name is Bucky.

And then, there was the panorama of squirrels in a typical Northern Wisconsin tavern.

With fisherman.

Typical, except for the fact that it is also a piano bar.

But the drunken chipmunks playing poker are pretty standard. And yes, I am convinced they are drunk. That one on the right cannot be sober.

And then, there was the Western scene, complete with, for some unknown reason, dinosaurs.

But best of all was the carnival midway.
There is a beer tent, since this is a Wisconsin midway.

And rides.

But best of all, barely visible in the background, obscured by the motorized swings (since this is a family blog)

A topless girlie show.

I rest my case.