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  • When I was, I don’t know, four, my family rented a mobile home and drove from our home on Southern California to Seattle. I do not remember the whole trip, but there are certain snippets of memories that have stuck around, and seep into my consciousness when I think about the Pacific Northwest. One of the memories I have of that trip is of a visit to a huge statue of Paul Bunyan and his blue ox, Babe. I remembered it being along a highway surrounded by tall redwoods. It was just so big and colorful, I knew it wasn’t the real thing, but I believed the Bunyan and Babe lived nearby, deep in the forest amongst the giant trees that stood as tall as he. I soon learned in a children’s history book on the Great Lakes my mom bought me (I was a history geek form birth, something my mother encouraged) that Paul Bunyan wasn’t from the Pacific coast, but from Minnesota or Wisconsin or Upper Michigan or somewhere like that. Regardless, I always have remembered seeing those statues as a kid.

    Then, back in 1995, a friend gave me a a Paul Bunyan snow globe from Brainerd, MN. I was completely confused. Wasn’t that statue in the redwoods? I’ve never been to Minnesota! That really perplexed me for a while, until I realized there was more than one Paul Bunyan statue. Indeed, there’s like a dozen or something spread around the country, wherever there are big trees and lumberjacks. Upon further research I learned that my statues were just north of Crescent City, CA, before the Oregon border.

    So forty-one? years later I made it back to Paul Bunyan and Babe among the redwoods at a roadside tourist trap along the 101 on an Indian reservation. They were quite large and impressive, though not as tall as the ancient trees all around. There was a loud speaker somewhere on Paul, and he greeted me personally. I bought a snow globe.
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