01 August 2008

One statuesque squirrel

Members of the Richland County Rotary Club in Olney, Illinois - a city blessed with an infamously abundant white squirrel population - have come up with an idea of monumental proportions: The idea is, itself, a monument of big proportions and even bigger ambition.

Rotarians hope to commission a white squirrel statue as a tourist attraction in that southeastern Illinois community. The Olney Daily Mail, that community's newspaper, broke the story on July 31, quoting one Rotarian, a member of the local convention and visitors bureau, as drawing his inspiration from another statue - this one in Minnesota - of two figures from American folklore: the mythical giant lumberjack Paul Bunyan and his blue ox, Babe.

Now, a blue ox is no white squirrel, to be sure. And while Bunyan remains the stuff of folklore, white squirrels are an everyday reality in Olney. But like the towering Bunyan and Babe, they are indeed oversized attractions, if only by virtue of their reputation.

I had the pleasure, years ago, of posing beside an oversized wooden statue carved of Punxsutawney Phil, the prognosticating woodchuck/groundhog, while visiting that town in rural Pennsylvania. And I learned from that experience that, when it comes to tourism, Humongous Statues of Rodents are Humongous Tourist Magnets.

I encourage the people of Olney to embrace a white squirrel statue as they embrace their squirrels. They should throw it some nuts - and then throw it their support.


Jan4insight said...

What a nice photo of the white beauty!

Anonymous said...

I've got to visit Olney some day.

squirrelmama said...

Jan 4, I quite agree. Wish I could see one of them for real, instead of in a photo. Backyard, I believe Olney has to be one of the most magical places on earth. I have never been there but I think any city whose police wear white-squirrel badges on their official uniforms has to be an extraordinary metropolis!

Unknown said...

Wow a white squirrel! neat! Never see those in manhattan.. just scrats..

- T