Day 538: Dirt in Van Wert

Laetitia and her group began the day with a hike along Cranberry Run, the stream that passes through Pandora, Ohio. Afterward they headed over to Fort Jennings, where they had lunch, visited a small local museum depicting the history of the fortress constructed during the war of 1812, and visited the Zane Shawnee Caverns, owned and operated by the Shawnee Tribe.

Their destination was Van Wert, Ohio, a city of about 11,000, west of Pandora. One of the city’s claims to fame is Liederkranz cheese, a variety similar to Limburger made with a different bacterial strain. Emil Frey, a cheesemaker of Swiss descent, created it at his cheese company in Monroe, New York. Frey named his stinky cheese Liederkranz, after a German-American singing circle in New York City. He moved the Liederkranz-making business to Van Wert in 1926. Frey’s other claim to fame was the invention of Velveeta, a “pasteurized prepared cheese product” that passed for cheese and, along with Spam and Wonder Bread, has adorned the tables of frugal Americans since early in the twentieth century.

That evening at dinner, Laetitia’s table was within earshot of elderly women who were chitchatting about Millie, an acquaintance who was, in their words, “a gossiper.” Millie became the subject of the limerick of the day.

Old Millie enjoyed dishing dirt
About scandalous deeds in Van Wert
Of beddings without weddings
And behind-the-woodsheddings
At bridge club with tea and dessert.