Day 182: Beaver Cleaver

On the way to Big Timber, Montana, where Laetitia and her group were planning to spend the evening, the group stopped at Bozeman, Montana, where they visited the Museum of the Rockies. Later they stopped at Natural Bridge State Park, and then moved on through Big Timber to stop at Greycliff Prairie Dog Town State Park before returning to Big Timber in the evening.

Big Timber is a town of about 1,700 inhabitants near the Absaroka Mountain Range, which runs south into Yellowstone National Park. On their walkabout, Laetitia met a local woman named Clarissa, who talked about the masquerade party she had gone to, dressed in a beaver costume that she made herself. She had also made a costume for her boyfriend, but his was more challenging. He was a butcher, and she had made him a meat cleaver costume. According to Clarissa, they were the hit of the party.

Her story reminded Laetitia of the 1950s television show Leave It to Beaver, in which the main character was a boy named Beaver Cleaver. It was a rather lame show, as most were in those days, but it was a time when television was new to most middle-class families. Having scraped together enough money to buy a TV set, people would watch just about anything. It was also a time of rampant censorship and great naiveté. Her grandmother’s mother had an acquaintance that faithfully watched Liberace and wondered why he never got married. Laetitia wondered whether the screenwriter who named Beaver Cleaver had a bawdy sense of humor.

Laetitia thanked Clarissa for her story, and it became the source of the limerick of the day.

Clarissa will always remember
That masquerade bash in September
When she dressed as a beaver
With her beau as a cleaver
They were the talk of all of Big Timber.

Day 181: Catwoman

Laetitia had just brought her group to the World Museum of Mining, in Butte, Montana, and the other members of the group were viewing the exhibits when a tour member named Charlie asked Laetitia for advice about his girlfriend, Helen.

Although her face might not launch a thousand ships, Helen was cute, and Charlie had fallen for her in a big way. After they started going out, though, he began to think she had some strange habits. Her favorite dating activity was for him to spend the evening with her in her apartment watching Batman movies and reruns, with her dressed as the Catwoman. Taking the cat suit off when they made love afterward created a sense of adventure, but Charlie drew the line when she wanted him to arrive at her place dressed as the Joker.

Once Helen told Charlie that her greatest desire was to own a custom cat-themed car like Catwoman. She’d invented a plan to capture Batman and hold him for ransom until he revealed who made the Batmobile, so she could persuade whoever that was to make her a Catmobile. She said she had studied enough Batman comics, movies, and reruns that she thought she could find the Bat Cave, but so far she had been unable to locate Gotham City. Except for the Catwoman fantasy, which apparently was their secret, Helen seemed more or less normal. She was a hard worker and held down a good job.

Laetitia didn’t relish assuming the role of an advice columnist, but she said, “As one who runs imaginary tours, I’d be the last person to criticize anyone who assumes an imaginary persona. Perhaps she just does it to keep you interested. After all, how many guys can say they have slept with Catwoman?” Just then Charlie’s cell phone rang. It was Helen, saying she was home from the library—where she had been looking for a map of Gotham City—and asking if he wanted to come over. Anticipating an evening of cat-themed fun, Charlie left the tour.

That evening the tour group had dinner at the Uptown Café, and Laetitia presented the limerick of the day.

When Charlie met Helen from Butte
He soon thought that she wasn’t astute
When she told of her plan
To capture Batman
But he went with her ‘cause she was cute.

Day 180: Sula Fool

Near the present town of Sula, Montana, Lewis and Clark met a band of about 400 Salish (Flathead) Indians camped in a small semicircular valley now known as Ross’s Hole, a name surprisingly missed by Bailey and Hurst in their search for rude-sounding names. The Indians were on their way east to hunt bison, and they shared their meager rations with the explorers. The visit was without incident except that the Indians’ dogs were so hungry that they ate several pairs of moccasins that members of the Lewis and Clark party left outside their tents. Sula, itself, is a small mountain community that happens to have the same name as the genus of birds that includes the boobies.

When Laetitia and her group arrived in Sula, there was a young man searching the trees with binoculars. When Laetitia asked him what he was looking for, he told her that he had never seen a booby and hoped to see one here. Laetitia was sympathetic—young men often want to see boobies—but his story didn’t quite make sense, so she queried him further. He was a novice birdwatcher and had a bird list that he was enthusiastic to add to. He had joined a bird watchers’ club in Missoula, where some joker had told him that the boobies (blue-footed, masked, brown, etc.) were first described in nearby Sula, Montana, and that the genus name of those birds had come from the town. Had the budding birdwatcher bothered to do a little research before making the trip, he would have found that the boobies, though their generic name is indeed Sula, are tropical sea birds not found anywhere near Montana. The incident provided the limerick of the day.

Some wag had played him for a fool, a
Young birder who came from Missoula
For he had hoped to meet
Boobies that have blue feet
But, alas, there are none found in Sula.

Day 179: Solo in Lolo

The Lewis and Clark expedition rested at a spot near what is now Lolo, Montana, and replenished their supplies of dried meat before crossing the Bitterroot Mountains on a well-established Nez Perce route. They stopped briefly to bathe at nearby Lolo Hot Springs. Today, Lolo and Lolo Hot Springs are resort towns. Laetitia and her group spent the night in a hotel there after some hikes in the surrounding area. Some gossip in the hotel restaurant provided the limerick of the day

When young Ambrose Hamilton swings
With the tourists of Lolo Hot Springs
He always goes solo
But with ladies from Lolo
His wife comes along on his flings.