It’s been a week of missed opportunities, once again. I found out too late it was World Turtle Day, and while internetting around to see what I had missed, I found I had also missed National Taffy Day, Chardonnay Day, and The Bonnie and Clyde Festival in Gibsland, Louisiana, where the whacky Dallas duo were ambushed and killed on May 23, 1934. Bummer. And, then there’s the raging debate over semicolons.
Missing World Turtle Day blows. The worldwide celebration is observed in a variety of ways, from dressing up as turtles or wearing green summer dresses, to Turtle Day lesson plans and craft projects that encourage teaching about turtles in classrooms. Founded in 1990, the American Tortoise Rescue is responsible for promoting the idea turtles need love too, and seems to practice what they preach, claiming to have placed 3,000 tortoises and turtles in caring homes. Does this call for a re-reading of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species ? In a Darwinian world where might makes right, human industry polluting these slow-moving, antique, and unproductive members of the food chain into extinction makes perfectly good sense when reviewing the bottom line…which is always the bottom line.
Taffy Day…Chardonnay Day…I can take or leave the taffy, but I’m open to housing any homeless bottles of decent Chardonnay.
A Bonnie and Clyde Festival though, and the Bonnie and Clyde Ambush Museum in Louisiana in the Spring…I am making plans for next year and circling the dates on my American Tortoise Rescue calendar. This does sound choice. A group of actors from Denton, Texas, a town whose local bank was robbed twice by the B&C gang, show up annually to re-enact the ambush and squirt fake blood all over Ringgold Road where the real event took place. Besides reenactments, tourists can meet some of Bonnie and Clyde’s relatives, such as Clyde’s nephew, Buddy Barrow, and his sister Marie Barrow. And now and then some of Bonnie’s kin show up as well. Then there’s “Boots” Hinton, whose father Ted was one of the six lawmen from the ambush.
“Boots” must be a popular name to bear in the piny woods of Louisiana, since the undertaker who embalmed Bonnie and Clyde back in 1934 was C.F. “Boots” Bailey. He was an attention-mad sniveler though, complaining to the press about what difficult clients the notorious outlaws had been. Seems the two bodies were so full of bullet holes the embalming fluid leaked all over Boots’ boots.
Some lifetimes life just sucks.
To get a scholarly perspective, anyone attending the event can sit in on the Friday night historians meeting at which “they come and argue about stuff,” says Billie Gene Poland, one of the festival’s organizers and the curator of the Authentic Bonnie and Clyde Museum in Gibsland.
The Authentic Bonnie and Clyde Museum…or…The Bonnie and Clyde Ambush Museum. It’s like deciding between the Louvre and the Paris Museum of Modern Art on your last sober day in Paris.
The Ambush Museum doesn’t have a budget, they depend on donations, which means the pickin’s here are pretty slim. There are some gun displays and two female mannequins dressed to look like the gangsters. Outside the museum, there are lots of vendors selling everything from commemorative T-shirts to small swatches of cloth torn from the pants Clyde was wearing when they were gunned down. Seems authenticty might be an issue.
For those who prefer Broadway, you missed out too. The musical “Bonnie and Clyde” was run off the road. Premiering at the La Jolla Playhouse on November 20, 2009, the show idled around the country, eventually making it to Broadway on November 4 of last year. It only lasted 69 shows, then died, which seems to be a connecting thread here. There’s always the 1967 film by Arthur “Bloody Art” Penn, starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway. And Bonnie’s poem (figures she was a poet) “Trail’s End” has inspired songs by everyone, as in Brigette Bardot, Flatt and Scruggs, Mel Torme, Merle Haggard, Die Toten Hosen, a German punk band, and even weirder…in 2007, Belinda Carlysle, former head mistress of the all-girl pop band The Go-Gos.
And, if obsessive disorders interest you more than crappy music, you might look into Hybristophilia – Bonnie and Clyde Syndrome, big brother to Asphyxiophilia, Autassassinophilia, and Chremosistophilia. Bonnie and Clyde Syndrome sufferers seem to be turned on by predatory types, becoming sexually aroused and more orgasm responsive when contemplating the careers of psychopathic killers, which is why Ted “Boots” Bundy, Jeffrey “The Heel” Dahmer, and Charlie “Sole Man” Manson never knew a slow mail month while in prison.
Daily Trivia Tidbit: Bonnie and Clyde’s death car is on display to the public at the National Museum of Crime and Punishment. Who would have thought there would be such a place…and, who would have thought a country ever-teetering on the brink of fiscal disaster would fund such a museum…and, who would think this ramble would need another bit of useless trivia?
This has been a very trying post, and I feel a touch of Hybristophilia coming on, so I’m going to have to hold off on the semicolon question and write some letters.