Recall a couple of days ago when we filled these pages with our endless yarn pitching about life in Mystic Hollow in the post-Howard Johnson’s era?
That was all a set up for our article about Rick Thomas bringing his big white Bengal Tiger to Bermuda to perform.
We wondered in the article whether he would be able to sneak past the animal rights’ folks. After all, they protested the arrival of a circus a few years back and there have not been many animal acts since.
So, we’re reading the good old Bermuda Sun from Bermuda while wearing our Bermuda Skort for Men ensemble. (It is like a kilt but it has pant legs under the shorter skirt so the embarrassment that comes from a unexpected breeze — either from within or without the kilt/skort).
Sure enough, the headline grabbed us like our old football coach — but a little higher and with less uncertainty.
So, we were paging through The Bermuda Sun newspaper today, doing a Gene Anderson Torn and Restored for the other bored souls waiting for the Greyhound for Chicago. It was already two hours late and we were getting antsy. Mystic Hollow, Michigan lost its former star location on the Greyhound travel map five years ago when they consolidated routes, tore down the Mystic Hollow Bus and Train Terminal, and cut back on the number of buses per week from seven to two.
Michigan has been going through some tough times over the last five years and to be fair, Greyhound stayed with us longer than any of the other companies. Howard Johnsons left us about a year ago. Someone said they were gone everywhere in the U.S. except for Mystic Hollow, Michigan and De Funiak Springs, Florida. We think they were just trying to make us feel better – there are probably HoJo’s (that is what we called it – a contraction of Howard and Johnson and then an inappropriate apostrophe and the letter “s” in lower case) everywhere except here in the second most significant magic location in Michigan.
When the cockfights and bear baiting stopped, some applauded. They thought it gave the hamlet a bad name. We could see their point. It was pathetic to see those bantam roosters try to walk around with little boxing gloves on their feet. Sometimes their claws would cut through the leather and they would have to stop the fight so no one got hurt. They were very circumspect about safety as we guess all cockfight arenas are. We thought it was a bit much when they added the sparring helmets and mouth guards. Roosters don’t have teeth, the town vet pointed out.
No one listened to the learned man. He had been through six years of vet school and knew a thing or two about what roosters have and don’t have. Everyone thought he was one of those animal rights activists bent on trying to stop the fights through reverse psychology. The arena would stop making the rooster use a mouth guard and when the Feds came in, the place would be shut down for dental cruelty.
The bear baiting lasted a little longer than the cockfights. Nevertheless, as Tolly the bear aged, her eyes began to fail and it was no longer a true betting situation. In her youth, she could put a worm on any type of hook. In the last few years, though, she would occasionally prick her bear finger with the hook and thus fail to accomplish the baiting in the regulation five minutes. Everyone started to bet that she would fail and no one would take the other side.