June 18, 2002

Beginning of the Road

By Dane Sorensen


In our wilderness paradise we have many wonders to look at, but recently I think our attentions have been focused on our Ely water tower. As water towers go, our water tower is pretty cool. I love the logo, though at present that is gone. Hopefully, so is the lead paint gone as well. It was interesting to watch the preparation work on the tower over the last few weeks.

When it sprouted those pole supports it really changed the character of our water tower. At first I thought it was some new form of antennae. I thought that the city was starting their own SETI project. SETI stands for Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. NASA has been scanning the airwaves for radio messages from outer space. Lord knows our city government needs all the Intelligence it can find and space is as good a place to find it as any when it comes to politicians.

After many hours of careful study it came to me that the water tower looks more like an upturned onion, complete with roots. All we needed to do was paint the blue column green and you have a 200 feet high green onion. Think of the tourist possibilities? We could become the Scallion Capital of the World. Voyageurs like onion soup. It would all fit into our general scheme as one of the Northland's charming towns with historic ties to foodstuffs.

Last week the curtain finally went up. The next transformation of our old rusty tower joined the fashion world. It reminded me of a Roman toga - very graceful and flowing. People have often referred to Ely as the Athens of the North because of all of our indigenous art.

It also reminds me of some modern art. Christo is a contemporary artist who transforms things by wrapping them. Christo has wrapped islands, valleys, buildings and nude models. All we need to do is claim this is one of his lost works and we will see art lovers from all over the world come to Ely. It is art lovers who love to shop.

So while other towns try and lure tourists with giant hockey sticks, we can corner the market with our fake Christo. No doubt this could lead to other lost works of art being found. Come to think of it, I think the mural on the Mantel House is a lost Grandma Moses. The stone wall carving was done by Michelangelo when he was eight. The Zups store was probably designed by Frank Lloyd Wright posthumously.

With so many gullible people in the world I wonder how much of this we could get away with? PT Barnum knew that many people are short of a full deck. It would be fun to see how far we can go with our water tower. I think we should look at hiring pathological liars as tour guides. Let them tell real whoppers, like the Chocolate Moose was originally Abe Lincoln's birth home. Half of Hollywood shops at Zups.

I think I have been staring at the water tower too long. It is time to come back down to reality. Then again, if we painted the water tower shroud to look like an army worm we could…


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