Judith…THAT would be awesome!!!
This is the area I grew up in…the south shore of the St Lawrence, where it opens into the gulf!
Where whales and other sea life abound The photo is of St Fabien-sur-mer…a cottage community. (Low tide!)
Is Ben taxidermified or just deep in thought? Because he looks kinda not alive to me…
Either way, if spending time with Ben is what works for you, then I say GO FOR IT!
BTW, Ben is awfully handsome, whether he’s alive or not.
reprinted here is the amazing story of Old Ben the Bull as reported by me here in 2013. I hope you will like the story it is a hoot:
Old Ben the Bull?
To explain Old Ben the Bull you have to first understand that Old Ben the Bull is not really a bull at all. In fact, he is a star. But even that is not entirely accurate. Old Ben was a bull, then a steer, but now he is stuffed, mounted and he lives in the central and largest park in my home town, Kokomo IN. I mention Ben because he is important to me. You see for years when I had to make a decision about almost anything I went to visit Ben. I determined my career path would be public service while viewing Ben. I decided to get married while visiting Ben. I proposed to my lovely wife in front of Ben, I spent time considering almost every important decision in my young life while visiting Ben. The morning I was diagnosed with diabetes and before I saw the doctor I went to visit Old Ben.
As you already know Ben is in the park in Kokomo IN. But to understand Ben you have to also know that Ben is over 100 years old. It is believed that Ben weighed 125 lbs. at birth, and at 20 months he weighed more than a 2,000 lbs. and in 1906 he weighed over 4,000 lbs. His size made Ben quite the celebrity. Ben was 6 1/2 feet tall at the shoulder, 14 feet around and 16 1/4 feet from his nose to the tip of his tail.
In 1910 Ben fell and broke his leg. This meant Ben had to be put down. So what to do? Ben was a big attraction and the farmer knew a great thing when he saw it so he stuffed Ben and kept him on the road doing county fairs and local appearances.
Ben’s popularity began to fade almost immediately upon his death. It was found that the Beef obtained from Ben was not popular. It was reported that Ben’s beef was tough and besides, who wants to eat the beloved Ben the bull, apparently no one the grocer who purchased the Beef could not sell it.
Along with the trouble selling the Beef, Ben’s appearance income started to drop. Apparently folks liked seeing the live and growing Ben the Bull (who was not really a bull but a steer), but seeing a stuffed Bull, started to lose its appeal. So in 1919, Ben was either donated to or purchased by the City of Kokomo for $300.00. He was then placed on display in Highland Park.
Over time Ben became a symbol for my home town. Imagine the symbol of your city being a bull that is really a stuffed steer? It is of course pretty hokey even for a place with down home sensibilities such as Kokomo IN. It is precisely this hokeyness that makes Ben such a celebrity in my city.
Of course, there are some issues. First Ben became the object of high School pranks. Let’s face it how can you place a stuffed Bull in your main park and not attract mischief. Over the years Ben lost his tail, not once or twice, but at least three times. He lost his left ear at least once and while many called this vandalism, many more called it pure down home fun. Each time a local processor had to prepare a new tail or ear taken from another bull and give it to the city for replacement. But then something else was discovered, Ben is a biohazard. In 1910 when Ben was stuffed, it was common to use arsenic in the process and sure enough Ben is full of arsenic. No wonder the city had to dispatch workers to continually clean up expired moths in the Ben viewing area.
While I worked for the City in the late 1980’s the issue with Ben finally reached a critical mass. Here we had two of our main tourist attractions a large hallow stump and Ben separated by a road. When people came to visit they would exit their car and immediately be in a quandary. Do they go see Ben first or the massive stump? Ben, stump, stump Ben? It was very confusing and of course the city was getting well over 1 out of town visitor per year to see these attractions per year.
Finally the city could no longer stand this situation so a new structure was built next to the stump to house our beloved Ben and this time protect him from the rampage of youth that was slowly eroding his very being. Let’s face it Ben only had so many ears to give and brutalizing his tail could no longer go on.
When the big day came, Ben was dressed in large surfer shorts and oversized sunglasses in accordance with the theme the for the day taken from the 1988 song ‘Kokomo’ performed by the Beach Boys and mounted on a fake surf board to make the journey to his new home next to the stump. Ben was then pushed across the street with the music blaring and some folks said they even detected a new smile on his face as he received the attention of the crowd. They clapped and cheered as he took his position in a newly constructed larger pavilion.
Unfortunately, the day was not entirely without detractors. At least one disgruntled person sent a letter to the local newspaper complaining that in moving Ben in his stylish surfer shorts and oversized sunglasses he had been disgraced. Still, the general mood of the community was in favor of the celebrity status Ben was afforded on this on that day.
So what is the meaning we can take from this tale? I think that even though Ben the Bull/Steer proved to be different from his peers, he still persevered; he even found immortality albeit next to the stump in a beautiful park.
Long Live Ben the Bull/arsenic stuffed Steer!
For a long time we in the West have been justifiably jealous of cities that could boast of the biggest bridge (Sydney), the biggest bull (Ben the Arsenic Stuffed Steer), the big orange (Harvey), the biggest banana (Queensland). So our local Council after scratching their heads for some time, decided to do something about it. We had our Civic Honour to defend, or even update. We were the proud possessors of what seemed like the longest plank road in the world, and also the longest single dirt track in the world that Royalty had to travel to lay its Royal Head down for the night. This long deceased Duke spent his uncomfortable night in the smallest iron framed single bed set in the smallest unairconditioned, unflyscreened bedroom I am sure he had ever seen. So you see we had, in the past, had very proud moments.
In its wisdom our Council decided to create a competition to produce the biggest something (anything) in the World and when the entries were in could not decide which of the two was the winner. With great fanfare in the local newspapers they decided to honour our local industrial estate with the Biggest Boomerang in the World and the Biggest Hills Hoist in the World set at the entrance to the local tip.
I know you are all agog to see these exciting Wonders of the World. It is dark and getting fairly late and I am not wandering around some deserted industrial estate to take photos of these exciting artefacts. Here is a link to the Big Boomerang http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WMHQ43_The_big_boomerang_Wangara_Western_Australia The clothesline is in an even darker and more deserted area and as yet I know of no photograph of it, possibly due to the fact that it is not really a clothesline, just a piece of recycled art which bears a faint resemblance to a clothesline. Well, to be honest, not a faint reemblance, a fairly accurate representation of a clothesline as close as you can get with recycled scrap iron.
Honour is satisfied and we can rest on our laurels (I mean gumtrees) for very many years to come.
Well, Toledo, OH, has Tony Packo’s, made famous by Klinger in MASH–Jamie Farr actually came from Toledo. Our Oak Openings Metropark is unique, with it’s prairie openings in the Oak Forest–the rare Karner Blue Butterfly lives in these openings. I’m afraid we don’t have an Old Ben the Bull or a Big Boomerang, though. Anyone for a Hot Dog under the shade of an Old Oak Tree?
Snow seems so exotic to me here in Australia. Lovely views from your window David.
Well, full disclosure: this is a very mild climate (most of the time). We only get snow like that about one year in three. That’s why it was worth taking a picture.
Priceless, @Pastelpainter. Love it. Going to reference your story for my brother. He has raced a solar car across the Outback twice and visited for vacationing with his family, too! …
Couldn’t let Rick get away with his arsenic stuffed steer could I, Judith? LOL
Well lets not forget the tree stump next to Ben the bull (he is not really a bull of course). LOL I do not know if I have ever told this on here, but the stump is full of initials of young men and young ladies who legend has it might have experienced a special first moment in their lives inside the stump. The initials of young ladies in particular were memorialized since it was in the 1940s and 50s a special gift they were giving.
Who knows if any of that is true or not. But as a young man say 12, my buddies and I heard this legend and we decided to spend many afternoons inside the stump looking for the initials of moms we might know. The truth is we were looking for evidence of our moms and sisters initials inside the stump. I can recall one summer tracking the various carvings as they appeared alongside those of the more aged ones. It occupied most of our summer.
Several us became convinced our moms initials appeared inside the stump and that made the discovery all that more interesting. I can report, however, that my mom’s initials were not discovered. Now of course you can no longer just enter the stump. The initials and their meaning whatever that is, remains frozen in time. I always thought a genealogical study might be in order. LOL one of my buddies sisters (an older girl) initials almost certainly appeared in the stumps that summer and that only fueled our daily 14 mile bicycle ride to check the new carvings on the stump. LOL As it turned out it was not hers at all but evidence of a long forgotten tryst which some idiot had memorialized.
Oh to be 12 in Kokomo, Indiana, what a hoot.
This is about a year and a half old. She’s grown up now–physically, anyway–but this is the day we brought her home.
My floating neighborhood for the last 15 years. This is Oyster Cove on San Francisco Bay, three miles north of SFO, with San Bruno Mountain in the background. I’m feeling a touch of nostalgia as I prepare to transition to a full-time RV lifestyle. I will move to Oregon first.