Charlie and I are in the state of Vermont, staying with my brother Peter and his wife Sandra, Charlie’s uncle and aunt. He lives near Lake Champlain, an enormous body of water that the state of New York shares with the state of Vermont, and also with Quebec, a province of Canada. The lake was named in 1609 for a French explorer. Lake Champlain is 263 kilometers long, and its maximum width is 23 kilometers. Its maximum depth is 122 meters. The lake is unique because ist waters run north rather than south.
It used to have 4 major railroad crossings over it, but today only one remains. But it does have three bridges that connect Vermont to New York State. There are also three ferryboats that run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, also connecting Vermont to New York.
Lake Champlain is not one of the Great Lakes, four of which also border on Canada but it was for a couple of days in 1993 when President Bill Clinton signed a bill to make it a Great Lake. But there was such an uproar from state representatives of the original Great Lake states that the bill was rescinded 19 days later. Vermonters are proud, independent and free-thinking people and no one hears them complain about this.
Charlie appreciates Vermonters as he had supported Bernie Sanders last year. But this year, Charlie was especially interested in the lake, not politics. There is a legend in Vermont that a giant creature lives in Lake Champlain. It has been said that it is a relative of the plesiosaur, an extinct aquatic reptile. Charlie, who always has a unique perspective, thought that the monster might not be a legend.
People residing near the lake have named the monster Champ, and over the years, there have been over 600 sightings of him. The Native Americans, who inhabited the region before the French invaded, told stories about a large creature inhabiting the lake that they called Tatoskok. Samuel de Champlain, the lake’s namesake, is said to have described a monster that he sighted in his journal. In the late 1800s, P.T. Barnum of the Barnum & Bailey Circus offered a reward of $50,000 to anyone who could bring him the hide of Champ to add to his show. But no one could. Today there is even a YouTube of what is supposed to be of Champ swimming in the lake. The FBI has examined the tape and reported that it was not manipulated, but could not define what animal it was. Discovery Channel was able to record strange sounds from under the waters of the lake that seemed like whales or dolphins, which do not live in the lake, but they couldn’t actually sight an animal or reptile. Whether Champ is real or not, he is a protected species now so no one will be skinning him. Both the state of New York and the state of Vermont have declared Lake Champlain a safe haven for Champ.
Charlie caught a brief glimpse of Champ, but did not go public with his sighting, as it would have blown his cover as secret service and ambassador cat. But see the proof of his sighting below.
Tattoos have been around for more than 5,000 years. Egyptians, for example, used tattoos to differentiate between peasants and slaves, a kind of social branding. But ink art, which is what some fans like to call tattooing, has really exploded in the past 25 years. But not all of us have succumbed to this fad. And many of us who don’t have a tattoo have a favorite mug. Having a tattoo or becoming attached to a mug are not dissimilar. According to research, 60% of Americans say they have an emotional attachment to a favorite mug. And about 40% said their special mug was irreplaceable, and about 1/3 of those said they would be devastated if it broke. Personally, I think that most of these people don’t have tattoos. Mugs and tattoos are both an extension of our personalities, and both express the way we would like the world to perceive us. That is not to mention, of course, that those of us who have tattoos or mugs are often irrationally attached to them.