Short items of quiet and miscellaneous wonder, from a single week's news, as 1959 drew to a close:
Sevierville, Tenn.—George Stoutt, a gas station operator, bagged an African lion when it reared up and snarled at him in a field near his home. Turned out the lion was AWOL from a traveling animal show.
Fresno, Calif.—Owner Harley Oremus watched as a bald eagle snatched up his chihuahua Poco, carried Poco high in the air and then dropped him into Millerton Lake. Oremus rescued Poco, complained to authorities about eagles, was told eagles must be conserved. "How about chihuahuas?" he wanted to know.
Minneapolis—Game wardens apprehended Phillip Turnbull, a bricklayer, said he was spreading whisky-soaked corn to wild ducks, then sending his dog to retrieve them, reeling with holiday cheer, for his freezer. Turnbull was fined $200. Not for getting ducks drunk—no law against that—but for hunting out of season.
The $2 windows will be open for business as usual in 1960. The track owners followed the agenda at their annual meeting in New Orleans and brought up the subject of abolishing the hallowed $2 bet. But after the groans that came from the rail-birds last month when the idea first got aired (SI, Nov. 23), nobody spoke up for abolition at all.
Down the Mountain and Out
America's no. 1 Olympic skier, Bud Werner, was poised at the top of Buckhorn Trail on Aspen Mountain, Colo., ready to run an intricate course marked by the fluttering red, yellow and blue flags of slalom poles set in the snow. The Squaw Valley Olympics were two months away, but the U.S. squad was already in training. Werner shoved off, shortly entered a nest of poles and unexpectedly pitched forward.
It was a routine fall, the sort that happens a hundred times to a racing skier, but Werner felt a sharp pain as his leg twisted and he hit the snow. He rolled over and pulled himself to a sitting position. Teammate Jim Barrier took Werner's skis off, Ski Patrolmen Dick Bird and Jim Paschel eased him gently onto a toboggan and hauled him down to a waiting jeep. Dr. Robert O'Den of the Aspen hospital X-rayed the leg. The plates showed a spiral fracture of the right tibia about one-third of the way up from the ankle and a simple fracture of the right fibula, a little higher.
Werner, the only U.S. skier in history able to beat the top European champions and the natural leader of the American squad, would not be able to ski again for months. The considerable chance that had existed of an American men's skiing victory in the Olympics was eased gently down Aspen Mountain along with Bud.