20th Century, Agriculture, Business, History, Minnesota

A Jolly Green Giant in MN

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1928
Described by Advertising Age as “a fugitive from a Grimm’s fairy tale,” a hulking green giant becomes the symbol of the Minnesota Valley Canning Company in Le Sueur. The giant gets jollier and more handsome as time goes on. *

To provide some backstory, the Minnesota Valley Canning Company was born of the collaboration of 14 merchants in LeSeur, Minnesota in 1903. They initially only sold Early June peas, but sought to market a new variety of a much larger and sweeter pea from England around 1925. “At the time, the company couldn’t legally trademark the name Green Giant to describe the peas, so they created a mascot named Green Giant and sold the new type of peas under that name.” **

We thank You for humble beginnings. We thank you for the vision of the originators of Minnesota Valley Canning Company; canning vegetables means more people can access them. We also are grateful for the introduction of the “Green Giant” variety of peas to the diet of Minnesota and much of North America.

We give You thanks for the technology of canning and vacuum packing! Canning existed long before the MVCC, Louis Appert of France by 1809 had invented a way of sealing cooked food in jars that fed their armies during the Napoleonic Wars.*** Yet, Green Giant would supply multitudes with vegetables that: kept for years, traveled well, were affordable, and quick to prepare.

Further, icons connect our heads to our hearts; we comprehend information and feel its’ meaning. We remember, Jesus Christ, that Your storytelling, parables, and use of imagery taught both the minds and hearts of mankind. For example, Jesus confronted the religious folks of his day and their masks. He confronted the idea of doing the right things with a wrong heart.
“What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy–full of greed and self-indulgence! You blind Pharisee! First wash the inside of the cup and the dish, and then the outside will become clean, too.” **** Matthew 23:25,26 NLT

So, we give You thanks for the humble tin can and its’ inner cleanliness. (Will You clean us on the inside, too, so we don’t spoil quickly?) We give You thanks for those farmers, packers, and owners who sought to serve their neighbors vegetables through a tin can made famous by a Green Giant! Amen!
* 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!
** http://mentalfloss.com/article/75472/11-hulking-facts-about-green-giant
*** https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canning
**** http://biblehub.com/matthew/23-26.htm

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20th Century, Culture, History, Intercession, Jesus, Labor, Logging, Minnesota

Paul Bunyan

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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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