World’s Largest Pencil – Driving snow and subzero temperatures kept many Flubuggers from joining The Wolf at the annual Christmas Tree Lighting this year. Those who did brave the arctic wind and bone-chilling temps didn’t stay long.
Less than 100 of the 624 ticket holders showed up for The Wolf’s final performance, including the band, A Different Animal, whose anticipated accompaniment was to be led by Gramps McCauley on goat horn. Less than 20 people were left when The Wolf launched into his final number, “What Child Is This?” a tongue-in-cheek homage to the 800 women in Flubug who get pregnant every year without any idea who the father is.
But no one was laughing.
“Nobody’s worth this much trouble,” said a young father, shielding his kids from the marauding winds.
“They should have cancelled the show,” said a man wrapped in a sleeping bag who said he’d been to every Christmas Tree Lighting since 1954. “Sending a hundred year-old guy to sing songs in a blizzard just ain’t right. What were they trying to do, kill him?”
They almost did.
“I’ve never seen him like this,” said his manager right after the performance. “His lips were blue. Icicles were hanging from his glasses. His fingers were frozen to the microphone. I thought he was going to die when he hit that last high note in “Little Town of Methadone.” But you know The Wolf. He’s a consummate entertainer.”
Consummate or not, there are reasons to be concerned for The Wolf’s health. Not only is he 129 years old. He’s been diagnosed with a terminal shingles, a condition exacerbated by cold weather. According to Randy Manley, who’s worked with aging performer for years at the Siesta Lounge, doctors warned him about giving this performance.
“They told him,” Manley said to reporters. “They said ‘Wolf? You do this show and it may be your last.’ But you think he listened? Nah. They don’t call him The Wolf for nothing.”
Organizers played down The Wolf’s ashen appearance, claiming he “puts everything he’s got into his performances, naturally he’s a little pale.”
They also played down the hundreds of ticket holders demanding refunds. “Refunds for what?” a spokesman said. “Missing The Wolf’s last performance? Those tickets will be worth a fortune.”
Fats Grooder, saxophonist with A Different Animal, lamented the band’s absence but said it was unavoidable. “The whole band got food poisoning from eating jackrabbit stew at Moxie’s. It had nothing to do with the weather.”
The Wolf was not immediately available for comment.
Were you trapped in the blizzard? Got a weather-related story? Send it in! You could win an autographed photo of The Wolf at the Stateline Ballroom.