Friday, April 15, 2011

The Importance of Camels in Everyday Life

If you have never experienced Frankfurt, Germany's train station post-global-warming, you may not have seen the camels, elephants, water buffalo, and palm trees. Frankfurt is much more exotic than you may think. Watch for falling coconuts when you board the train.
I have been carrying this postcard, by collage artist Claudia Katz-Palme, around for years. Originally I probably intended to send it to someone, but then I couldn't part with it.  Is it because of the camels? I don't know.  But this is not the first time I have had trouble letting go of a camel.

Some years ago  I went to an auction in Watsonville, California when a department store was liquidating its store fixtures. I intended to look, but not buy.  That's right, I didn't go there thinking I might buy a camel. But then I saw this face...
Before I knew it, the camel and a number of other things were mine. Paying for them was relatively easy, but there was the unanticipated issue of transporting them. Luckily, a friend offered the use of a pickup truck with a camper shell. We arrived that evening to collect the camel (and other treasures), and packed everything except the camel itself into the truck. With camel tied securely to the top of the camper shell, we proceeded down the coast on Highway 1 towards Carmel - like a Viking ship with a majestic hood ornament.

Actually, I followed in my non-majestic tiny car to keep an eye on the camel. I continued to keep an eye on the camel through the evening fog, even as he launched into the air, momentarily weightless, before bouncing off the front of my car and landing in the middle of Highway 1. He stopped traffic in both directions. One of his ears was in the ditch. His plaster and papier mache face was also severely injured.  He had a red stripe across his side from the paint of my car.

Several home-schooled surgeries later, and he was looking much better. In the meantime, the camel has moved with me a number of times, always taking up a disproportionate share of the moving van. He has also been in a couple of parades after we attached wheels to the base. Most of the time, though, he was just taking up space and preventing a car from being parked in the garage. Over the years there arose a certain amount of resentment between the architect who steals my covers and the camel who takes up the garage.

My dear dromedary now has a new home with the Northwest Children's Theater.

For an adventurous ride, saddle up your camel and join the herd at Sepia Saturday.

The Camel by Ogden Nash
The camel has a single hump;
The dromedary , two;
Or else the other way around.
I'm never sure. Are you?


  1. What a cool camel - what odds he's overcome and what a great new home. I can imagine how much joy he'll give to the kids!

  2. I've heard of camels in a caravan but never on a car roof. I've been to Frankfurt station but nevel saw any camels or elephants.

  3. Fixture, fixation, fixed, daily fix by looking at it with fondness...interesting story! :)

  4. Have I missed something? Is this perhaps International Camel Week? Everyone's posting camel postcards! I better get with it. Great camel story, by the way....I wish you had a photo of it tied to the top of that camper shell!

  5. I just discovered you -- I'm new in Portland and searched for Portland bloggers. I collect antique postcards too, so I'm delighted to find your blog and will visit often!

  6. Love the photos of the camel. What a great find. I am glad he got a good new home. BTW, I tagged you in my blog.

  7. Some people would walk a mile for a camel.

  8. Cool! That guy was quite a find, and love your postcard too.

    Have a wonderful Sepia Saturday,

    Kathy M.

  9. Ok, so I'm jealous of the Kids. I would not only have walked a mile, I would have driven all the way to Portland to make him mine:)hehehe

  10. That post card looks colourful too.
    First time I get to see a statue that is real cute. I wonder how light it could be as it is mounted on pedestal which has castor wheels !!
    It should be light.

  11. Another fine camel collection (the theme certainly has brought them out this week). And that first card - the one of the station - is perfect, I can see why you would want to hang on to it.

  12. What extraordinary photographs and story.

  13. A wonderful tale of the camel, you did a great job of repars. I don't know that I've ever seen one this size anywhere in anyone's home. Great that it found a good home!

  14. As a truck owner with many similar tales of my own, I can relate to this super story! Did your camel have a name?

  15. That was certainly a camel and a half to some camels! LOL

  16. Ich glaub ich war schon länger nicht mehr da. Ich sollte da unbedingt noch mal hin. hi hi hiu.
    Ich wünsche dir einen schönen Palmsonntag und eine schöne Osterwoche

  17. Mike,
    I'm afraid after all of those years the camel never got a real name. It was always just 'the camel.' Poor guy.

  18. Christine, I'm sure the actual experience of having the camel fall from the camper was not as funny as your retelling of the experience. I love reading posts that make me laugh before I go to bed! Thanks! He's a fine camel!



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