20th Century, Culture, Environment, Faith, Great Lakes, History, Humor, Labor, Logging, Minnesota, outdoors

Paul Bunyan is “born” 1914

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1914
Paul Bunyan, the mythical lumberjacking giant who logged off most of North America, is created as an advertising gimmick by the Red River Lumber Company in Minneapolis.*

There’s something that makes me smile just reading the name, “Paul Bunyan”. His name is synonymous with the North Woods of Minnesota. For the past 100 years, most midwestern kids have heard about him at camp, at a summer cabin, or sitting around the campfire.

I won’t bore you with the breadth and depth of research as to the origins of his legend, but report a few quick facts. His stories came from the oral tradition of logging camps. They were most commonly credited to William B. Laughead writing promotional material for the Red River Lumber Company. Some researchers think his legend started with the French Canadian folk tales of Paul Bon Jean or Tit Jean. Bunyan phonetically is similar to the Quebec expression for surprise; “bon yenne”.**

So here begins my prayer, Lord, thanks for the legend of Paul Bunyan! Help me reflect on his folktales, and find their blessing.

Christ, I thank You for Your masterful parables. You chose to allow those who were looking for meaning to catch it, and for those listeners who were not, to breeze over its intent for their heart and remain relationally open to You. Stories seem to have a magic to get past our trip wires, and speak deeply and gently to us.

I thank You for the good these tales did for the loggers. They entertained, distracted from boredom, aches and pains, and maybe even planted seeds of inspiration. Who wouldn’t want to be the ultimate mans’ man in those rough work conditions? Paul laughed at fear and the elements, did an impossible workload each day, ate mountains of food, and maybe even created some mountain ranges playfully wrestling his giant blue ox. (Wink wink!)

So today, Creator of the Forests, I thank You for the gifts of hyperbole, folklore and camp stories. I thank You for the relationships born of telling and listening to “tall tales” like Paul Bunyan in Minnesota. I thank You for an example, though fictional, of a huge, happy man loving his hard work in Your outdoors!

May You enable this State to take to heart and to practice the rule of Saint Benedict to pray and work; “Ora et Labora”.**** May You bless us to practice contentment in our work until You come. May we forever return to You the free, yet costly gift of doing our best!

 

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.” Colossians 3:23 ESV

 

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org, is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!
**https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Bunyan
***https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pray_and_work
****http://biblehub.com/colossians/3-23.htm

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19th Century, Archaeology, Exploration, History, Humor, Intercession, Judgment & Counter-Judgment Cycle, Minnesota, omnipresent history, Science, Uncategorized

Ohman Discovers Runestone 1898

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1898

“Olaf Ohman turns up a stone on his farm near Alexandria and sparks a controversy. What appears to be ancient Norse writing on the stone indicates that Viking explorers reached Minnesota in 1362–130 years before Columbus’ voyage. Many scholars dismiss the Kensington Rune Stone as a hoax, but the debate continues into the present.” *

Father, what to make of this Rune Stone controversy? Some analysts have stated that it is an expertly contrived joke or hoax, but others still maintain authenticity. I believe that You are sovereign. It is not beyond You to save a tablet from view in a glacier, and deliver it to Ohman’s field at the right time. It is not beyond You to introduce us to new discoveries that remake the rules of science and history. 

Forgive us! We do not know too much, but far too little! Yet our pride blocks our receptivity to a view that challenges our formed perceptions! Lord, You know Ohman’s heart! If he erred on the side of regional or ethnic pride, will You forgive and expose that motivation? If he was an honest man who made an amazing discovery that was distasteful to scholarship and rejected, will You also bring this to light? If he was a master practical joker who went to his grave snickering, will You forgive anyone who was hurt by his hoax? However, will You bless and honor the man’s sense of humor? We need more funny people in this state!

* http://www.mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm

**Visit the museum in Alexandria, MN? https://www.runestonemuseum.org/runestone/

***Evidence that the Rune Stone is a forgery? 

http://scienceblogs.com/aardvarchaeology/2011/11/16/kensington-runestone-fakers-si/

****Evidence pointing to the stone’s authenticity?

 http://www.econ.ohio-state.edu/jhm/arch/kens/kens.htm

 

 

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