Babe and Red the, Wait, What?
As legend has it, Paul Bunyan found his companion, his confidant, Babe the Blue Ox, while walking in the woods on one particularly cold winter day. This was a winter so cold that it has been said that the snow actually turned blue and flames from campfires froze stiff in midair. In fact, it was so cold that ice fishermen on northern Minnesota’s Lake Itasca drilled their fishing holes through ice so deep that they ended up fishing in a lake in China.
If we are willing to follow this legend a tad further, we will learn that Babe did indeed get his rich blue color from that very snow. This strange occurrence happened to Babe, and his tiny twin brother Gabe, when the two were just wee tikes. It seems that Babe and Gabe were a snortin’ and a fussin’ about in that oddly blue colored snow, and as they rolled and played the hair on their hides became permanently stained blue.
Alas, mere moments before Paul happened upon that very spot where the two were playing, something incredible happened; something which separated the brothers for life. What Paul didn’t realize was that Babe was not alone that day. So, the sad sobbing, snorting sounds of a tiny Babe, which led Paul to him, were not because he was lost, it was because he had found himself alone — his brother had simply vanished right before his very eyes.
It seems that while Babe and Gabe were at play, their presence had gained the unwanted attention of an eye searching for a target of opportunity. From a vantage point high aloft, a massive winged threat wafted upon the wind currents. Eagle, ever hungry, spotted what he assumed would be an easy meal. Knowing that he couldn't possibly heft both of those tasty treats into the air he focused his attention on the stationary one. With his wings tucked in tight for speed, Eagle’s body became like that of a warrior’s arrow streaking towards its target.
Just as Babe lunged at Gabe in jest he landed flat on his face completely missing his mark. Babe shook his head and looked up in bewilderment; it was as if Gabe had simply disappeared. Sadly, Gabe had indeed disappeared, and it was because Eagle had swooped in and snatched him away in instant.
Eagle had sized up his target prior to diving and he was certain this was not going to be an easy task. Granted, Eagle was of impressive stature and this was just a very tiny bull; however, it was still a bull. But, because Eagle was hungry, it was his belly that was currently acting as the primary decision maker in this process. Unfortunately for Eagle, his presumed dinner, although small, was no cream puff and proved to be a bit of a talon full.
Gabe had no clue what had just happened. One minute he was at play with his twin brother and the next he was rocketing into the sky. Something had grasped his winter coat like it was on a clearance rack at Herberger’s. Gabe whipped his head back and forth in a vicious attempt to free himself from whatever the hellish nightmare was that held him so firmly. As he thrashed about in his violent struggle for survival, Eagle lost his grasp upon Gabe’s thick winter coat. Now the predicament for Gabe wasn't being eaten, it was now a matter of location, which currently was well above the giant tree tops.
Gabe’s eyes were closed in fear while he plummeted towards the frozen Earth. His descent was even faster than that of his unexpected departure and his eyes were slammed shut in fear. The poor young bovine’s options were few, save for one: brace for impact! He felt his keister brush the tops of a grand old Norway pine and then nothing, he was once again freefalling. Just as he pried one eye open to get a peek at his current dilemma he saw Lake Itasca leaping up to greet him.
Now, as we all know, this was a particularly harsh winter and thus that lake was frozen hard, in fact it was frozen all the way through. With the speed and force of a heavenly body crashing into Earth, Gabe landed tookus first on Itasca’s north end. This was just the first stage of an entire chain of events which would forever change our landscape as we know it.
The sheer force of Gabe’s landing caused the lake to break free of its mucky moorings, pitch up on its opposite end and take off like a giant surfboard. Gabe, hanging on for his life, surfed this frozen conveyance as it slashed and cut its way south forming what we now know as the mighty Mississippi River. Not only is he responsible for the great river’s creation, but when all the soil and mud was pushed into the Gulf of Mexico he also created the Mississippi River Delta.
Gabe the Blue Ox shot past New Orleans on that enormous chunk of ice, out onto the Gulf of Mexico and over the horizon like, well, a flaming blue ox on a rocketing slab of ice. Samuel Clemens, a young writer at the time, commented upon witnessing this spectacle, “Apparently there is nothing that cannot happen today.”
True it was terribly cold in the northern latitudes, but conversely it was just as abnormally hot in the southern latitudes. Poor Gabe was crossing the Gulf of Mexico with little to no protection from the searing rays of the sun. It was this extreme harshness that not only bleached Gabe’s hair, but it turned him bright red as well. By the time he landed on the beach of the Yucatan Peninsula the once frozen lake was barely big enough to fill his first coconut drink.
It did not take Gabe long to fit into the Mexican beach scene, and the one thing he learned straight away was it was not cool be an ox. So, with the aid of a few energy drinks, the great blue ox went to work pumping iron and running along the crashing surf of the great Gulf. With his metamorphosis complete, Gabe the Blue Ox shed his former self and became the stronger, more slender, Red the Bull.
Years later while sipping a Blue Dolphin from a parasoled coconut, the mustachioed Señor Red contemplated his long lost twin brother, Babe. Lounging under a cabana he unconsciously twisted the waxed hairs protruding from his snout into a fine point as he gazed at the northern horizon. Yes, his heart was temporally saddened as he missed his brother, but as he eyed his sassy cow over the top of his sunglasses he knew that life on the beach in Cancun — ain’t all bad.
Moral of the story: Who cares if life’s a journey as long as it dumps you on the beach.