The Suitcase Lady


September 9, 2008, 11:18 pm

My husband came home one day last week and said, “You have to drive past the big cow when you go into town.” Although prodded, he declined to elaborate.

A few hours later I drove past the gigantic fiberglass bovine which graces the front lawn of our local ice cream plant. She was wrapped in aluminum foil, shod in foil moon boots and had a green inflatable alien riding on her back.
A drive further into town revealed more aliens looking out of store windows and taking over the townfolks’ lawns. Obviously, our closest town, Manitowoc, is giving Roswell, New Mexico, a challenge to their alien supremacy.
The occasion for the invasion was Sputnikfest, the brain child of the new head of our art museum. I applaud her; she apparently reasoned that if art won’t get people in the doors of the museum, maybe aliens will.
Sputnikfest memorializes the night of September 5, 1962 when a 20 1/2 pound piece of metal from Russia’s disintegrating Sputnik IV was found embedded in the street in front of the museum. A capsule account follows:

Two police officers on routine patrol spotted what they thought to be crumpled cardboard on the roadway at 5:45AM. Passing by again at 6:45AM, they noted the object was metal and stopped to move it. It was too hot to handle, so they shoved it to the curb with their feet. Cruising by once more at 8:00AM, they noted it was still warm. At noon the officers learned that the Milwaukee Astronomical Society was asking for reports from anyone finding pieces of the disintegrating Sputnik Satellite. The officers returned to the spot, loaded the suspicious, smoldering metal into their patrol car and brought it to police headquarters for questioning.

It is only logical that the anniversary of this event makes a perfect excuse to drink beer, listen to 60’s music and view spacey art.

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