Laetitia and her group headed west through Minnesota, stopping at the Pipestone National Monument. Pipestone is a soft metamorphosed mudstone that is generally reddish brown in color and is a prized material for making Native American pipes. Native people in the area quarried it for centuries from a vein near what is now Pipestone, Minnesota. Like the Knife River flint, pipestone was traded throughout the Native American world. It is now called catlinite after George Catlin, a nineteenth century artist who often painted western scenes and Native American life. Longfellow included it in The Song of Hiawatha:
On the mountains of the prairie
On the great red pipe-stone quarry
Gitche Manito, the mighty
He the Master of Life, descending
On the red crags of the quarry
Stood erect, and called the nations
Called the tribes of men together.
The town of Pipestone is picturesque with several historic Sioux quartzite buildings and the Calumet Inn, where the group had dinner and spent the evening. The woman on the barstool next to Laetitia gave her the story that became the multi-verse limerick of the day.
The advent of high-speed computers
Allows folks to be telecommuters
And some think it neat
As their work they complete
To be fondled by their favorite suitors.
So it was, that a lady named Joan
Who lived in the town of Pipestone
After phoning her boss
Found love did so engross
That she failed to hang up her cell phone.
And soon every sigh and each moan
Was broadcast on his speaker phone
Drawing co-workers near
Who soon started to cheer
Even prudes, who to judgments were prone.
So it turned out that Joan’s foolish gaffe
Brought to everyone such a good laugh
That they said they’d all meet
At the bar down the street
After work, some libations to quaff.