Tuesday, April 1, 2008

April Fool's Postcard History Lesson

There are "jackalopes", and huge trout (too big for the boat), and then there's the "Niagara Falls Gondola". When I was a kid, whenever we'd travel in the US, I'd look for the spoof postcards. I collected a lot of them. somewhere in a box, I've got a cowboy saddling up a giant jackrabbit, and hunters bringing home three-foot-long grasshoppers - hung from a stick that rests on their shoulders. I grew particularly fond of the myriad of jackalope postcards too.
As you can imagine, when I laid eyes on this beauty, I just had to have it.

Click on the image and it will enlarge. Next, take a good look at the construction of that "gondola". I'm not usually critical of any boat referred to by it's owner as a gondola, but something is not right here.
for one thing, that gondolier doesn't appear to have a firm grip on the oar. Come to think of it, he kind of looks like a photo that's been cut out and gently placed in the gondola.
But for me, the real "dead giveaway" is the fact that the roof of the cabin on the boat seems to have been constructed from either tongue depressors or popsicle sticks!
I'll have to try using some of those on my next gondola.
Now as for the Niagara Falls part, well, I don't think any gondolier would be crazy enough to try rowing over the falls. And that's saying something, because I know a lot of crazy gondoliers.
The postcard has no date, although I'm guessing it's fairly old based on the gondolier's clothing and the fact that the image is black and white.
Some messages are written in different places:
The oar he's holding says "PROSPERITY",
the stowed oar has "SUCCESS" on it's blade,
the ferro has "SIREN" written on it - I'm guessing that's supposed to be the name of the boat.
The roof of the cabin has something printed on it - so small I had to get out a magnifying glass to interpret "VENETIAN GONDOLA" on the top, followed by an unreadable city name, and then "NY".
Below that, on a darker popsicle stick is something that looks like it was scrawled by a third grade boy; the first word looks like "BENEDICT", the second word is not "Arnold", but I can't make it out.
I guess we'll just have to come to our own conclusions.

So April Fools, my friends;
anyone crazy enough to take a gondola over Niagara Falls would have to be one.
Hmmm, maybe THAT will be my next expedition.
Just kidding.

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