Monday, October 24, 2005

How Goofy Ridge Got Its Name

Speaking of Goofy Ridge (yes, this is a real town in Illinois), a couple of years ago I heard a guest on Michael Feldman's "Whad'ya know?" who told the story of how Goofy Ridge got it's name. His name was Gary Gladstone and his book is Passing Gas: And Other Towns Along the American Highway (so named because people who drive through Gas, Kansas, are told not to blink or they'll pass Gas) I searched around and found this exerpt from the book:

"Seems a bunch of good ol' boys had come down to this camp near the river bank known as The Ridge, where moonshiners and other folks who preferred privacy met weekly to do their drinking, compare mash and generally have a good time. After some serious drinking, a local game warden said he wasn't too drunk to shoot a walnut off the head of a volunteer. Naturally, someone was drunk enough to volunteer. The game warden, whose name was Johnny Darling, placed the tiny target on the volunteer's head, aimed his .22 caliber rifle and shot the nut right off. The story goes that both men were so drunk that they were swaying back and forth, and Darling waited until the swaying was in synch before firing. This caper was referred to as "one damned goofy thing to do," and the camp was thus forever known as Goofy Ridge."

The Title link takes you to a site for more about Gary Gladstone's impressions of Goofy Ridge (scroll down to July 31, Nut Shot at Goofy Ridge). For some sample photographs from Gary Goldstone's book check out this page: Passing Gas Or check out the episode on April 5, 2003 (Part C, 9 minutes into it).

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