Every Day is Hump Day at Beauvoir
An effort to keep the grounds as historically accurate as possible, animals such as Davis had, have roamed around and managed to keep the grass trimmed. I noticed first thing on this trip that the animals aren’t doing that anymore. I learned that some of the politically correct board members want to hire mowers. The animals are now penned up and the cemetery stones have gouges and chips around their bases from the mowers. And, the mowers rely on the weather to get the job done. Animals did it every day with no damage to the stones or environment. So the grass covers some of the names on the stones and makes walking more difficult and less interesting, but the board members are apparently happy. For guests, the plantation now resembles a petting zoo in need of mowing.
The camel, who has a unique history with Beauvoir, is in residence but, is now penned. As Secretary of War, Jefferson Davis imported camels to fight in the Spanish American War. He had learned that was how victory was accomplished in other desert areas of the world, so why not in the United States? Of course, he was derided and became the butt of jokes, but he was right. The camel is here in that historical context.
Today I met the camel up-close-and-personal, when a staff volunteer told me a story that had me in fits. I had to see this. He told me that every day he gets a bottle of Dr. Pepper out of the cooler. He puts it in the golf cart while he’s doing his jobs. He drinks half of it. The last half is pretty warm by afternoon, but he gives it to the camel, who looks forward to it and chugs it down. One day he was busy and forgot, so feeling bad about that, he went into the Gift Shop and snagged a bottle of ice cold Dr. Pepper and took it to the camel. Part way through his chug-a-lug, he snorted and shook his head wildly. Gary said “Camel spit and slobber flew in every direction” and he spit the Pepper down Gary’s shirt. The camel bobbed his head up and down and sideways and rolled his eyes. Suddenly Gary knew. It was brain freeze. The camel had never chugged an ice cold drink. So now he makes sure the half bottle of Dr. Pepper has been in the golf cart long enough to take the chill off.
I was thinking about that old Dr. Pepper TV commercial, “I’m a pepper, he’s a pepper, wouldn’t you like to be a pepper too?” They used all kinds of unusual persona. They should have had this camel in the Dr. Pepper parade! I hope you enjoy the little video.