By Joann M. Ringelstetter
Today, we are introducing the second of our three new short blog series. This one is called Brief Encounters and it will feature subjects for which our images are few or the information about them is limited.
In June of 2011, Ruth and I passed through the small town of Ryan, Iowa, which has a population of approximately 400. In spite of its small size, through the donations of money, labor, equipment, and materials, this town’s residents developed an impressive city park and ball diamond.
According to the second edition of the book, “Iowa Curiosities,” a local priest named Father Beelner wanted to find something to distinguish Ryan’s new City Park. When the owner of a Happy Chef restaurant in nearby Cedar Rapids decided to “retire” his Happy Chef statue, he offered him to Father Beelner. It took more than 20 men to lift the 20-foot tall fiberglass statue onto a flatbed truck to be transported to its new home in Ryan.
Through the creativity of a local auto-body worker, the statue’s chef hat was replaced with a baseball cap and wire face mask. And the spoon in his raised right hand was replaced with a raised thumb to signal, “You’re out!” Finally, he received a paint job that finished the transformation from chef to umpire.
Talk about an amazing career transition!