Day 544: The Boy from Brazil

Laetitia and her group left Bean Blossom and made their way to McCormick’s Creek State Park, where they spent much of the day hiking and bird watching. Late that afternoon they arrived at Brazil, Indiana, the evening’s destination. This city of 8,000 got its somewhat unusual name in an interesting way. In the 1840s, the country of Brazil was making the transition from a colonial to a modern state and was much in the international news. A local Indiana farmer, enamored with his vision of this exotic South American place, chose it as a name for his farm. Later the town that grew there took the farm’s name as its own. Located on old U.S. Route 40 between Terra Haute and Indianapolis, the town is now bypassed by Interstate 70, except when traffic is temporarily routed through town during road construction. Other than its name, Brazil, Indiana, has no connection to South America, except for the Chatariz dos Contos(Fountain of the Contos), a replica of an eighteenth-century fountain that was a gift from a Brazilian city.

Laetitia sat at the bar during happy hour, watching a table of drunks. One of them seemed to be buying all of the rounds. Watching her watching them, the bartender told her that the man buying drinks was originally from Brazil. “He’s a salesman for an Indianapolis agricultural equipment company. He has a generous expense account, and when he comes to town he entertains his clients and his friends pretending to be clients. Just before leaving the bar to join her group for dinner, Laetitia wrote the limerick of the day on a cocktail napkin.

A Hoosier who hailed from Brazil
Indulged his obsession to swill
Drinks ‘til he was boozy
And his clients woozy
When his sales firm was footing the bill.