For the Man Who,
It was just 100
million years ago that some dinosaur or other was idly puddling around in the
Mesozoic ooze of South Hadley, Mass., leaving his three-toed footprints all
over the place. And believe it when we say that was a lucky day for the
perplexed Christmas shopper of 1959. Because, for as little as $12, he can have
one of these footprints, all petrified and scrubbed clean, sent directly to his
home. One need only imagine the good cheer and dancing about when it is spotted
under the tree.
The purveyor of
this not-altogether pedestrian gift is Carlton S. Nash of South Hadley, who has
been selling dinosaur tracks some 20 years now. Mr. Nash gets them from his
back-yard and can thank his stars there weren't any no-trespassing signs
warding dinosaurs off his property in the old days. So far he and his family
have sold about 3,000 spoor slabs carved from the stratified quarry (they have
been used in front walks, patios, fireplaces and the like), and he is now at
work on the 38th layer of prints. "But the supply may soon be
exhausted," warns Tracker Nash. And anybody whose shopping list is still so
many question marks had better get busy.
There will be
some, of course, who still cannot see the Christmas possibilities of dinosaur
tracks. For them we can only direct attention, albeit reluctantly, to a more
contemporary selection of gifts beginning on page 44 of this issue.
Vern Carroll is a
spare man with a plentiful beard, an erect back and a philosophical bent who
walked from Dubuque, Iowa to Fairbanks, Alaska this summer for "the great
pleasure of it." It took Carroll, who is 49, five months to cover the 4,100
miles, but he believes in a moderate rate and in whiling time with folk along
the way. "I didn't meet a man I didn't like or a bad child and I didn't
have a blister or a corn," says Carroll. "No aches, no pains, no
aspirin; my only problem was dogs."
for six weeks before setting out. He lost 22 pounds bicycle riding, swimming,
weight lifting, boxing, wrestling and rolling himself with a rolling pin.
"The best thing in the world," says Carroll, "is to roll your back
with a rolling pin. Or have your wife roll it for you."
Carroll had $60
when he left Dubuque, pulling a golf cart loaded with 125 pounds of belongings.
He had $24 when he reached Fairbanks, wearing a pack. He abandoned the golf
cart in Saskatoon after he burned out the bearings and two sets of tires.
Carroll doesn't play golf. "Too much walking," he says. It cost him 95�
cash money to cross Wisconsin, $1.30 to cross Minnesota and $1.85 to get
through North Dakota. There is something about Carroll's mild, bearded aspect,
his sincerity and corn-pone jokes which makes folk shower him with free
lodgings and meals. "I'm not trying to make a million dollars but a million
friends," he says. " Will Rogers said that."
Even in New York,
which he visited the other day and whose buildings reminded him of "the
beautiful mountains of Canada, only they have windows in them," a cab
driver refused his fare and gave him a pack of cigarettes. Along the Alcan
Highway where there were no folk, he lived off the land, subsisting mainly on
berries, porcupine hindquarters, pheasant, wild lettuce, rhubarb, Indian
potatoes, bread he baked in a coffee can, grayling, trout and "a nice big
northern pike who was more'n I could eat but I wasn't about to throw him back
and try to catch a little one."
Carroll says the
first thing people ask him about his trip is how many pairs of boots he wore
out. None, says Carroll, and only two pairs of heels. "My boots," he
explains, "are soled and heeled with tire rubber." The next thing
people ask him is whether he saw any bears. Carroll saw heaps of bears,
including one he met in a raspberry patch. "He wiggled his ears at me,"
says Carroll. "I said to him, 'Old boy, if you want that patch of berries
you can have it.' " Carroll was also besieged, but unmolested, by howling
wolves while camping on a sand bar in the Yukon. Carroll says the best way to
camp is to dig a trench in the sand, build a fire in it, wait until the fire
dies down into coals, cover the coals with three inches of sand and then lie in
the trench. "Learned that from the Indians," he says. "Nature's