Day 205: Blunt Stunt

Approximately 21 miles from Pierre is Blunt, South Dakota, a town of about 400 people. Its most famous resident was William Mentor Graham, who, like Abraham Lincoln, grew up in Kentucky and moved to Sangamon County, Illinois. When the Lincolns moved to New Salem, Illinois, Graham became Lincoln’s teacher and tutor. When his wife died, Graham moved from Illinois, eventually settling in Blunt. Laetitia and her group visited the Mentor Graham Museum in Blunt, located in the house where he lived. Back in town during happy hour, the bartender told Laetitia a story that became the limerick of the day.

“There was a teenager in Blunt named Bill, who had built a punt (a flat-bottomed boat with a blunt bow) from a design he’d found on the Internet. He and his girlfriend Elaine hauled it over to the Missouri River to try it out. They were afloat on what they thought was a secluded part of the river, when they started getting amorous and became so enthusiastic that they tipped the boat over and had to swim ashore. As they walked up the bank through the trees without their clothes, they found out that they were actually in a park, and a family of picnickers from Blunt saw them as they emerged from the trees. Needless to say, word was all over town by evening.”

Bill thought it would be quite a stunt
To make love to Elaine in a punt
But they soon tipped it o’er
And swam nude to the shore
In front of picnickers from Blunt.

Day 204: Jiggle Giggle

The city of Pierre (pronounced “peer” by the natives) is the capital of South Dakota. It’s a small city of only about 14,000 residents located on bluffs above the Missouri River. It was founded in the late nineteenth century at the time of the Dakota gold rush. The town gets its name from nearby Fort Pierre, an American Fur Company post founded in 1832 and named after the company’s officer, Pierre Chouteau. Laetitia took her group to visit Fort Sully and the Fort Manuel Trading Post, followed by a trip to the Triple U Buffalo Ranch where Dances With Wolves was filmed. As they approached the restaurant where they planned to have dinner, they met a well-endowed older woman with the same destination who seemed to like knit dresses and dislike underwear. According to their waitress, she had been a bra-burner in her youth and viewed her attire as some sort of statement.

A buxom old lady from Pierre
Who in youth burned her only brassiere
Liked to walk through the town
In a knit evening gown
That made all she had very clear.

Day 203: Platte Spat

Platte is a South Dakota town of about 1,300 residents founded in the late nineteenth century. The town name comes from a fur trader, Bernard Pratt, who lived in the area. Somehow his name was misspelled in the official records, and the town name became Platte. There is a rumor that the registrar who made the mistake was Japanese, but that hasn’t been verified. Laetitia took her group on a picnic and day hike in the Lake Platte area before returning to the town for a walkabout. Small towns thrive on gossip. This one was no exception, and a local story provided the limerick of the day.

When Ron told Sue she was too fat
It started a loud verbal spat
She called him a drone
He called her a crone
‘Twas the gossip today around Platte.

Day 202: Chic Sale

When Laetitia arrived at the Emerald Victorian at 7:00 a.m. there was an email from Mind’s Eye suggesting that she should go to Huron, South Dakota with her group and do the limerick of the day on Chic Sale. Huron was named for the Huron Indians. When the Indian Removal Act was signed into law by President Andrew Jackson in 1830, remnants of the tribe were moved west, but mostly to Kansas and Oklahoma.

Hubert Humphrey, who later became a senator from Minnesota and vice president of the United States, made his home in Huron from 1933 to 1937. During these years he worked in the family drugstore as a pharmacist. Laetitia took her group to Humphrey Drug, Hubert’s father’s store, which is now a museum. Next they went to the Gladys Pyle House Museum, the former home of the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate, and to the Dakotaland Museum, which has a large collection of historic items from the region.

Huron is also the home town of Cheryl Jean Stoppelmoor, better known as Cheryl Ladd of the Charlie’s Angels television show (1976 to 1981), and several other famous folk, including Charles “Chic” Sale, although the latter is seldom mentioned in lists of Huron notables. Born in Huron in 1885, Chic Sale was a rather well-known actor in burlesque shows (and a few movies) in the early part of the twentieth century. He published The Specialist in 1929. It was a series of humorous anecdotes about a carpenter named Lem Putt, who specialized in outdoor privies. The book was very popular among rural folk. Since “chic” was not a common term used in bucolic speech, the book was often referred to as “Chick Sales.” So much did the book become part of rural folklore that “Chic Sale” was commonly used as a euphemism for outdoor toilet.

In The Specialist, actor “Chic” Sale
Entertained country folk with his tale
Of Lem, who built crappers,
In the age of the flappers
And made outhouse humor prevail.