I have had such a piece of hud week. It has been bad, my friends.
There always seems to be something that can cheer me and make me smile. Today that came in the form of packages in the mail. Weirdly, they had a similar theme. One package was a book from my roomie in college, “Amy E.”. It’s a novel about Enrico Caruso, the most famous opera singer of his time.
The other gift was from a reader named, “Tom”.
I love Tom. Tom lives in Tennessee and calls me “My dear LLC”. Tom previously sent me LP records in the mail that included the original cast recording of “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown”.
My heart is singing! I have always, always wanted a pair of opera glasses. And these adorable! And vintage!! And red!!! I was lamenting the fact that I didn’t own a pair and so wanted to buy some to take with me when I see “Wicked” in London next month.
BEST OF ALL. He wrote me a story. A hilarious, personalized “Tall Tale” about where these opera glasses originated from. It’s long (Yah, yah, yah. No bitching), but I have to put the whole thing in because it’s funny and beyond creative. (Especially if you know Utah and have been reading my blog for awhile.). It made me guffaw.
I am sending you some opera glasses from “The Jenny Lind Collection”. (You may remember Miss Lind, she was a Swedish singer of some fame, she also ran “The Jenny Lind Diva, or How to Look Just Like One, School”. )
The glasses were found in the remains of a concession stand in the old burned down Logan Opera House many years ago. It seems that Miss Lind and the famous P.T. Barnum were planning a tour of the west. Sadly, she never got out west because of a series of rather “Sad Events”.
First, let me tell you about the old Logan Opera House. The good people of Logan had heard and seen the fine entertainment places in Salt Lake City (Saltair, etc.). Not wanting to be upstaged by the people to the south (Referred to as “Those Awful Southern People”), the fine Meistersinger’s Guild of Logan decided to build their own opera house and be just as good as the southern people.
Now, being good and faithful people, they had been admonished to store a year’s supply of food in case of hard times. BUT, the only food they had to store was cheese (At this time the valley had more moo-cows than people). As food rotating had not been invented yet, the cheese turned rock hard and inedible. The storage plain failed.
A traveling peddler from the east named, “Bob Kraft”, was in the area selling a clear liquid in mason jars which he labled “Medicine”. He sold nearly all his supply of “Tonic” (Or as it would later be called “Pure Utah Sunshine”. This would later be sold exclusively in stores run by the state).
Since his supply had been sold and since he was unable to find replacement copper pipes for a “Sunshine Plant”, Bob was reduced to taking wagons of people to Promontory, Utah and pointing out various species of sage brush to tourists. (Later some people built a railroad or something and the name was changed to Promontory Point.
But I digress.
Bob and some of the local leaders were sitting around in the failed “Food Storage cave” to get out of the heat (AND drinking some of Bob’s “Medicine”) when they talked about the idea of the OPERA HOUSE. They came up with the brilliant idea of building it out of the ruined and hard blocks of cheese! But how to avoid the “Building Code” which forbade buildings that are constructed of food?
With the help of Bob’s “Medicine” the
plotplan was constructed to cover the exterior of the Opera House built of cheese with bits of broken china dishes! This way, no one would know it was built of cheese, it would glow and glisten in the sun and Logan would take its rightful place as the Culture Mecca of the North!
(BE PATIENT. THE PLOT WILL COME TOGETHER, SOON!)
The foundation for the Opera House of Cheese ended up being poured (As it was discovered that blocks of hard cheese could be melted down).
Miss Lind, the famous Diva, was to be the first singer at the “House” and so no expense was spared on drapes, lighting, or the geniune “Faux marble finish”. It was going to be a very special day, planned for April, 18, 1906.
Now, Dear Reader, the SADNESS begins.
April 18th , 1906 was the day of “The Great San Fransisco Earthquake“!!!! Oh, the town of Logan came to rue that day in history! All attention was given to the disaster in California. It also used up all the remaining blocks of hard cheese and left the Opera House a few blocks shy of being finished!! Thus, there were no “Diva Dressing and Fluffing Rooms”! This resulted in contracts being canceled, work stopping, and laid-off workers because IF YOU DON’T HAVE DIVA FLUFFING ROOMS, YOU HAVE NOTHING!
Soon after that dark day, Bob Kraft and some laid-off construction laborers were sitting on the abandoned stage feeling very low, so Bob got out the very last jars of “Medicine” that he was saving for the grand opening of the Opera House.
They passed the bottles around and as the light was very dim on the stage, one of the laborers lit a match so he could see better. The mason jar of “Medicine” BURST INTO FLAMES!!!!! GREAT, HIDEOUS FLAMES THAT DEVOURED EVERYTHING IN ITS PATH!!!!
Within a matter of minutes the Opera House was no more and Great Gobs of Melted Cheese flowed down the streets of Logan! Men screamed! Women fainted!! Children wet their pants!!! OH THE SHAME! THE AGONY!! Or as the Logan Times reported on April 19, 1906 “EVIL DRINK HAS STRUCK AGAIN!”
It was suggested that Bob Kraft get out of town as fast as he could because the people of Logan were looking for a “ScapeCow”, as no one seemed to have a goat to scape.
Bob gathered up a few of his empty mason jars (As no one ever gets rid of good canning jars) and left town.To cover up the mess, the Meistersinger’s Guild that built the Opera House in the first place spun the story that the streets of Logan were paved with gold, thus launching the famous myth that “The streets of America are paved with pure gold”.
Bob Kraft moved back east with no money left. The only food he could get his hands on was some left over “Hard tack” from some sailors on shore leave. This “Hard tack” was pretty nasty, so he got one of his mason jars which still had some of the melted cheese from the Opera House fire in it and spread the soft cheese on his “Hard Tack”. It tasted so good that he passed the hardtack and cheese combination around to the other homeless people. They liked it very much and asked what the name of his cheese spread was and he replied, “Gee Whiz. I don’t know!”, but his mouth was full and it sounded like “Cheeze Whiz”.
The rest is fast food history. As for the rest of our players?
Jenny Lind went back to Sweden and became a “Nightingale” and P.T. Barnum ran off and joined a circus or something.
(Disclaimer: Names and places have been changed and the time has been compressed to protect the innocent. Soon to be seen on your local PBS Station. Please check your local listings)
COULD YOU DIE? I did. HA HA HA HA.
Thanks, Tom. You’re a gem!