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You can’t make it up: Charlie the Steer found on an island

I didn’t know whether to use the headline “You can’t make it up,” or “Only in Maine,” but this story fits both categories.

Town & Country Foods in Greene, Maine, had a big plastic steer in its front yard. You know, a steer…or more commonly known as a cow to those of us who aren’t farmers or beef salesmen.

Charlie the SteerCharlie looks just like the cows that used to be in front of the Hilltop Steak House in Saugus, Mass. down there on on Route One, on the way to Logan Airport.

That’s because Charlie the Steer was made from the same mold as those Massachusetts steers (or is steer the plural? like deer and deers?) Anyway, Hilltop Steak House…owned by Frank Giuffrida, you know the place that always had people lined up for a mile waiting to get in and eat a piece of steak that didn’t come from Charlie’s brothers and sisters?

So, Charlie got stolen by some mysterious people in a minivan, who must have been riding around saying to themselves, “let’s go cow tipping,” which is a favorite pastime of Maine college students. Instead of tipping a live cow, they found a plastic one and decided to take it for a ride in their van, followed by a boat ride. Would you call that turf and surf?

After a great deal of media outreach, Charlie was found on a remote island by a kayaker. The holes in Charlie’s feet had been plugged up with duct tape (Maine’s answer to everything, well, everything that can’t be taken care of by Allen’s Coffee Brandy.)

Charlie was reunited with its owners at the store in Greene, Maine, thanks to the kayaker who was paddling by, minding his own business, when he saw a plastic cow leg sticking out of the woods on the island. Maine’s valiant State Troopers and Game Wardens put Charlie in a boat and ferried him back to the mainland, whereupon the Town & Country staff picked him up and drove him back to his cherished home near Maine’s L/A: Lewiston/Auburn.

Now tourists are flocking from miles around to have their photos taken with Charlie the Steer, and the meat store is racking up beef sales like never before thanks to its new front yard celebrity.

I swear to God. You really just can’t make this stuff up. I can’t wait to tell this story to my friends over a beverage this winter. It will surely get funnier.

Here’s the real reporting from my friends at the Portland Press Herald:

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