Thursday, December 3, 2015

Cheetahs and Memories

I’ve had this picture for a couple of months now, and I’ve been wanting to post it here, but I haven’t quite found the right angle. But now I think I have, so here you go:

Yes, it’s an old taxidermy mount of a cheetah. Wearing a hat.

So, what does this have to do with Breyers or Breyer History, other than being an indirect reference to the Cheetah in the Chris Hess Wilderness Animal Series?

More than you might think.

Those of you who know me well (or better) know that I have a wealth of stories to tell – some about my family, some about the strange things that only seem to happen to me (a potential blog in and of itself), and quite a few about the hobby.

I alluded to one such story – about the Cheetah, above – in a post from about a year ago about the Solid Black Morgan:

Whenever I do tell the extended story of the weirdest things I’ve ever found at the flea market, the Cheetah usually comes up, partly because of the fabulous punchline: Oh, and by the way, it was wearing a hat.

It never fails to get at least an eyeroll from my audience.

It wasn’t until I was doing a search for something else entirely that I ran across a photo of the fabled beast. It really is him, and not something just like him, though I suppose with my track record that wouldn’t be out of the question, either…

Anyway, I knew it was real, but everyone else has just assumed that it had to be real because (1) it’s me doing the talking, and (2) the story is just too strange for it not to be real. There was no actual proof that this thing ever existed, except in my stories.

This is actually a significant problem in the model horse hobby. Because of the Breyer’s lackluster recordkeeping, and significant gaps in our ephemera stockpiles (especially for the 1959-1962 era) we tend to rely a great deal on stories that have been handed down, told and retold.

While there does tend to be a kernel of truth in many of these stories, there’s often no actual proof, other than the believability of the narrator and whether or not it fits the narrative we’ve already constructed.

That’s why I continue to look for evidence of things that we “know” to be true – because, in actuality, it might not be. Memory is a funny thing, and not 100 percent reliable, especially as the moment the memory was made rolls further away into the past.

That Cheetah is pretty much the way I remembered it though. Which is both reassuring, and disturbing.


Corky said...

I think the cheetah has a certain rakish charm. It must be the hat!

Julie said...

Where is this Cheetah and how much is it? I need it!