Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Glade Sun

April 30, 2014

Abacus Column: The World’s Greatest Gamblers

CROSSVILLE — They were an amazing pair of siblings. Lester von Rippenthofen and his sister Lily had long been considered the greatest gamblers in Fairfield Glade, if not Crossville and all of Cumberland County by the time they were barely out of puberty. They were the youngest of a family tree that stretched back at least several centuries, and they came by their talent easily and naturally. The earliest Rippenthofen anyone could recall was Casanova de Seingalt Rippenthofen. He was reputed to be one of the best gamblers and most accomplished figures of his time. Later came “Wild Bill” von Rippenthofen to the Old West. He was a spectacular gambler, who unfortunately met his demise during a cattle stampede. During the 19th century, Manfred von Rippenthofen became the World War I “Ace” of the family tree until his unfortunate demise in an airplane incident. Manfred, better known as the “Red Barron,” had children who immigrated to the United States and Cumberland County; their offspring were the infamous Lester and Lily Rippenthofen.    

Lester and Lily were the greatest gamblers of their notable family tree and very possibly The World’s Greatest Gamblers. They were lightning quick and fearless in their chosen sport; this, despite the fact that they did not gamble for fame or fortune. Like The Great Houdini or Evil Knievel, they gambled merely to uphold their family honor and reputation, and they gambled with their lives! You see, Lester and Lily are squirrels.

Individually, they were the scourge of Fairfield Glade; in particular, upon their chosen fields of sport that was Snead or Greenwood Roads. They would wait motionless in the center of the road or off to one side at a strategic location just over a rise or below a slope until an automobile or truck approached. Then, at the very last second, they would dart out or among the wheels of the vehicle as it passed. It was said that both Lester and Lily were capable of performing the incomparable figure eight where they would circle each tire and cross their own path in doing so before a car had passed. Other squirrels had tried to emulate them; even chipmunks attempted to follow their example. It soon became evident that Lester and Lily were of a different, more eloquent breed; and chipmunks? They just never had the legs to compete. 

Like all great athletes, Lester and Lily practiced constantly. They strived for perfection and were forever devising new wrinkles and tricks to avoid the passing tires or to increase the blood pressure of the unfortunate motorist. It was early spring of 2014 when they first attempted their most amazing accomplishment. The double figure eight had been Lester’s idea; they would practice on the adjoining fairways and woods until they had mastered their latest dance of death. Both siblings would perform a figure eight, crossing in the exact middle and emerging unscathed on opposite sides of the road.

They tested the gambit on slower moving, and I dare say, slightly more elderly drivers. Some drivers nearly ran off the road, others laughed at such sport. They were now ready to test their daring on the general population of residents. The initial trial runs electrified the squirrel population on both sides of Peavine Rd. Anything was now within the realm of the possible. It was akin to the first four minute mile, crossing the Atlantic in an airplane, scaling Mt. Everest or landing on the moon; all at the very instant that Lester and Lily performed the first double figure eight in Monday morning traffic. By that Friday, they had scared the wits out of a dozen drivers. It rained on Friday; it always seems to rain on Good Friday. Lester and Lily were poised just below the crest of Greenwood hill for their first adventure of the day; my wife and I traversed the road at our usual jaunty pace and had begun our decent of the hill when they broke from both sides like Olympic divers in unison. They easily circled all four tires and crossed in the middle. The gravel on Greenwood is a bit thin in spots and the road base was slick as Lester dug his paws in for the final leap away from the rear tire. The leap was a bit short and while Lester had made merely a slight slip on the shiny surface, the rear tire caught his bushy tail in its tread and added an extra circle as Lester spun around the tire 360 degrees from a clean figure eight.   

It was the end of two fabulous careers; Lester and Lily would go down in squirrel sports history as the greatest escape artists of all time. To a squirrel, a healthy tail is paramount to balance and dexterity and Lester had no feeling in his tail. Lily could not continue without her brother; the thrill of competition had faded. They both retired, married; and here is the ominous news – both Lily and Lester’s wife, LaDonna, are both with child; a new generation of von Rippenthofen’s will soon ply the roads of Fairfield Glade.

There are morals to this story for all. “Don’t gamble with driving or you could lose your tail,” comes to mind. “Gambling with money or life is not sport; nor a means to an end,” is another example. You may see other moralities in this sad story. All I can advise is, drive carefully; Lester and Lily’s progeny will soon be challenging the extraordinary accomplishments of their parents in Cumberland County, TN.

1
Text Only
Glade Sun
  • County residents urged to vote

    Cumberland County has around 39,000 registered voters, as well as a strong reputation for voter participation.  However, as of press time on Tuesday, only 4,300 residents had taken advantage of early voting for the Aug. 7 primary and general elections. Local officials are predicting less than 50 percent of registered voters will cast their vote in the 14 days of early voting, plus election day. Only 23 percent of registered county voters participated in the May elections.

    July 30, 2014

  • Board amends by-laws

    At the July meeting of the Fairfield Glade Community Club, the board of directors approved a vote to amend the club's bylaws regarding uncontested elections of board members, effectively declaring Bob Diller and Steven Smith new board members.

    July 30, 2014

  • Naiad Kuhlman.jpg Senior olympian on the run for good health

    No one can get away with telling Naiad Kuhlman of Crossville that age is a barrier to exercise. The avid runner, personal trainer and instructor at Cumberland Medical Center’s Wellness Complex at Fairfield Glade won’t buy the excuse.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Enjoying nature.jpg Get your mink coat on the road

    It is interesting what animals you see crossing the roads sometimes. When animals cross roads, you can get a look at them, that wouldn't be possible if they stayed inside the cover of trees or grass. Sometimes, it is just a fleeting glance and you aren't sure what you saw. When you go into the woods looking for animals, they usually hide or leave the area before you even know they are around. But, roads are wide open with no cover. Also, most mammals are nocturnal, so they are out when we aren't. Anytime that I am on a two-lane road at night, I am always watching intently for wildlife in the headlights.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Read the latest edition of "The Bulletin"

    The Crossville Chronicle-Glade Sun also publishes a newsletter called "The Bulletin" in which you'll find a schedule of Glade activities and events, a restaurant and dining guide, golf information, and even tour schedules. Click here for the latest PDF edition of "The Bulletin."

    April 21, 2010 1 Link

  • Patches of Life: The replacement years

    I need a new refrigerator. There are some other things on order too as we seem to be in the replacement year of our life. Everything from the light bulbs to the computer seemed to agree that this is the year of replacement.

    July 30, 2014

  • Abacus Column: Tennessee the third most corrupt state in the U.S.?

    According to a recent article in Time magazine, Tennessee is ranked third among U.S. States in political corruption. I am not sure how they measure such crime in order to make such a charge. Does some purveyor of statistics identify the number of elected officials proved guilty in a court of law; or merely charged with corruption?

    July 30, 2014

  • A Time 4 Paws celebrates pet adoption after 3 1/2 years

    Three and a half years ago, a local no-kill animal welfare organization known as A Time 4 Paws (AT4P) received an important email. A Nashville animal shelter volunteer asked if AT4P could take two severely abused English Pointer mixes. The email said they didn't want to take back two dogs they had placed in foster care for fear they would have to kill them.

    July 30, 2014

  • A Time 4 Paws collecting shoes to help Soles4Souls in fight against global poverty

    Attention anyone with a closet! Those shoes no longer wanted are desperately needed to fight the human tragedy of global poverty.
    That’s the message being delivered by A Time 4 Paws, which has launched an ongoing drive to collect shoes to help the poor. Used and new shoes can be dropped off at A Time 4 Paws in Crossville and can be left in the blue recycling bin outside labeled Soles4Souls.

    July 30, 2014

  • FFG Treasure Hunt set for Sept. 5

    The 2014 Fairfield Glade Treasure Hunt is set for Friday, Sept. 5. This has always been a fun evening for those who enjoy puzzle solving, figuring out clues or just having a good time.

    July 30, 2014

Marketplace Marquee
Parade
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Weather Radar
2014 Readers' Choice
Graduation 2014