It all started with one of those freak roadside attractions businesses place as a ploy to lure in unsuspecting customers like myself. The Director of Collections from the Waukesha County Museum-yep, I’ll use her fancy title-and myself made a five+ hour journey to Minneapolis this past week from Waukesha to pick up some paintings from Anne Marie Gromme, the daughter of the renowned naturalist painter Owen Gromme.
Owen Gromme had worked at the Milwaukee Public Museum for years and did some excursions to Africa. Note of interest: the African animals in the different dioramas at the MPM came from the expeditions Gromme embarked upon. In any case, we spent last Tuesday night and Wednesday morning packing paintings and memorabilia. We packed them “like presents”, in the words of Elisabeth…but, with thick foam, these were very different, very expensive presents.
On the drive up, we passed a strange site on Highway 94 just outside Black River Falls in northwestern Wisconsin, our midway point. Simply put, it was a giant orange moose. We both gawked at it like it was something out of the ordinary, which given the backwards state of some areas of Wisconsin (I know from years of experience) would actually be considered normal.
Being the curious and slightly eccentric people we are, Elisabeth and I both proclaimed that we absolutely had to make a pitstop at the giant orange moose on our return trip. And did we? Ooooohhhhhh yes. We took our picnic (wonderfully made by Ms. Gromme prior to our departure) along a man-made lake and our moose friend. And, yes, we named him. Say hello to Milton.
And we can’t forget the giant fiberglass mouse either…