The Oregon Tale of Blessed Bernard
illustrated by Lefty
April 30, 1848
I am Blessed Bernard! I was born in Shanghai and after a few years I married your mother. You were a small, fat, healthy baby who lied through your teeth. When you had us banished from Independence, we cursed you roundly and went shopping for oxen and stuff.
May 1, 1848
We picked up a number of good products. We like bacon the best, so why shouldn't we have nothing but bacon to eat? We estimate that if we eat one pound of bacon a day we will have enough bacon for 800 days. We also got a bolus.
May 2, 1848
Arrived at New Santa Fe today.
To get to New Santa Fe we went due south.
Oregon is northwest.
May 3, 1848
We found an abandoned wagon. We decided to search it for something useful.
We found: 1 8-oz. bottle of hydrogen peroxide; 1 hunting knife.
How the heck is hydrogen peroxide going to be useful? We're all already blonde. Except that dammed fat baby who exiled us. He's a naural baldhead. But if he were here I would pour that hydogen peroxide right in his ear.
What the heck is a bolus?
May 6, 1848
Today our labors were rewarded with the sight of Kansas River.
What a splendid sight! Truly we have been rewarded. What a reward! We celebrated by dressing the bolus in a frock.
We fried up a mess of bacon.
May 7, 1848
Passed the hundred mile mark today.
How the heck far away is Oregon?
May 8, 1848
Rested for a time near Saint Mary’s Mission.
Purchased 10 5-lb. tins of biscuits, 40 pounds of butter.
May 9, 1848
Came to Red Vermillion River. Had a talk with some of the other folks in the wagon train.
We asked someone how far away Oregon was. They said that if you took 1,000 strips of bacon and laid them end to end you still wouldn't be able to cover all the roads from here to there, not all the local roads, anyway, but most of the highways. And I believe it! But who would want to drive on bacon?
May 10, 1848
Misplaced my guidebook at Scott Spring today. Luckily we found it before leaving. Traded 1 5-lb. tin of biscuits for 1 deck of playing cards.
This is the first time we ever forded a river. It was fun! The oxen's legs were all wet. We tried to hire an indian guide to dry off the oxen. The indian guide was terribly bitter. He said drying an oxen was no sort of life.
May 13, 1848
Frederick has a bad case of food poisoning. I decided to rest here awhile.
We spent a few days shuffling the playing cards in preparation for the Great Bridge-A-Thon. We don't know when we'll be able to find the time, not with all the fording rivers and eating bacon we're doing. But life is not paved with flowers; eventually we will lose our way in the fog. I'd count on it.
May 19, 1848
There was a wedding in camp today not far from St. Joseph Road Junction. A joyous occasion in the wilderness!
It was a real reward to our labor to see it, a real reward to our labor. I asked Fredrick if he felt rewarded, and he said yes, it was like a regular freakin' socialist paradise. Natalie said that happiness was an opiate of the masses. We all think she's quite witty.
May 22, 1848
Natalie broke a bone. We’re going to set the bone and apply splint.
We applied splint successfully. Natalie looks dashing in her splint. She looks like a real old-time admiral, in her tails and tricorner hat and her broken arm. We like her new look so much, we feel like celebrating! More on that to come.
May 27, 1848
A severe thunderstorm made travel difficult today. We figured we would slow down. The trail's flooded. We had to try to ford through the water.
We were entirely succesful. We decided to celebrate by creating a divine parade loat. We used some of the bottles of peroxide to create an effigy of that maniac baby of mine. Then we threw bolus at it until it was entirely destroyed.
May 30, 1848
Traded 1 deck of playing cards for 1 8-oz. jar of aloe vera.
We made a profit on that deal, because we had lost all the spades and diamonds. We can use the aloe vera for to cook the bacon in.
Maurice thinks his face is sagging.
May 31, 1848
Today came to Fort Kearny.
A local buffoon asked us how the fort got its name. We baited him with our humorous false etymologies until he set our wagon on fire.
June 2, 1848
Traded 1 box of 20 bullets for 1 5-lb. sack of garlic.
Spotted a group of strangers. We decided to approach them.
We talked to them.
They were vampires.
Traded some plasma for 5 pounds of celery.
June 5, 1848
Frederick has cholera. I decided to rest here awhile.
Frederick is our most valued friend and a valuable hand at volleyball. He may be a disbarred jailbird but he's a good man.
June 12, 1848
Happened upon a fresh grave near O'Fallon's Bluffs. A reminder of the hazards we all face on the this journey.
The grave was so fresh that the guy was still alive! Ha ha! The grave was so fresh that you could have fresh squeezed grave juice every morning for breakfast. Ha ha! But seriously, human tragedy is no joke.
June 20, 1848
We've been travelling for a month and a half and we still have 500 pounds of bacon. We have too much; it's embarassing in a world of such poverty. We dumped 100 pounds of bacon off the side of the wagon.
June 25, 1848
Mr. Tillman claims it's the Oregon Territory up ahead, but the guidebook says it's South Platte River.
Decided to ford the river.
June 26, 1848
Today we have traveled 500 miles.
I reckon that we must be close. Travelling is so tiresome; I have half a mind to drown in he nearest river and let the baby win. I miss the creature comforts. But at a time like this we should stick together and everyone should make me creature comforts.
June 28, 1848
Today we saw Ash Hollow. How sublime it appears by moonlight, especially when Jason pretends to mishear it as "Ass Hollow."
July 1, 1848
Bad storm today--rain, wind, and lightning something fierce! We decided to continue as usual.
July 5, 1848
Rested the animals near Courthouse and Jail Rocks.
Morale is slipping. Courthouse and Jail Rocks look like a chimney.
July 7, 1848
Today came to Chimney Rock. Chimney Rock looks like a jail! A tall jail that burns its prisoners for warmth.
We traded the aloe vera for some vegetables, but only after we passed the aloe vera around and everyone spit in it, thus reducing its worth. This is how we got the upper hand in the bargain and made a profit. This canny plan was the brain child of Natalie, who looks so much less like an admiral these days. Her arm is mending but needless to say her morale is still slipping. Perhaps we should double the bacon rations, or as we call them, bations?
July 11, 1848
Frederick has a bad cold. We're going to rest here awhile.
We also saw a tiny cute cougar. It will grow up to be a man killer, but today it is tiny, so we cut off one of its legs.
July 12, 1848
Today we drove our wagons and teams past Scotts Bluff.
Passed Robidoux Pass Trading Post. Road fair to middling.
Purchased 20 pounds of ham. We thought it would be a nice change to eat an inferior part of the pig.
July 15, 1848
Mr. Lumare figured we would reach Fort John today, and he was right.
A local buffoon ashed us how Fort John got its name. We giggled for three hours and then said "peepee".
July 16, 1848
Made our way past Register Cliff late today. Morale still slipping.
We registered the cliff.
July 17, 1848
You know what else is slipping? US! DOWN THE CLIFF! Just kidding.
July 18, 1848
The fog is as thick as pea soup. I reckon we'll continue as usual.
Damn our eyes for trading away our playing cards! We should have saved them for this day. Curse you, you unfeeling fates! Atropos is particularly the worst because she whould probably cut the cards in half even if we had them.
July 23, 1848
Saw a grave dug up by wolves near North Platte River--bones scattered about. A most distressing sight!
Saw Mormon Ferry Trading Post, sight is most reassuring.
Also, that grave we discussed? Also DUG by wolves.
July 24, 1848
Saw Emigrant Gap today.
Apparently an emigrant is any guy wuth a moustache. These we saw aplenty. There were so many that you could lay them end to end and no one would be surprised.
For moustaches are often found laid end to end.
July 28, 1848
Today we reached Three Crossings. That's a mess of crossings! Maybe one will end my misery and ennui. Where are my creature comforts?
I saw a grown up adult cougar today. It had three legs. Coincidence?
July 30, 1848
We were having a political discussionm today. Natalie is all for the separation of church and state.
"I would like a president that I didn't know what religion he was." She considered. "Or what age, race or sex."
Maybe someday. Someday soon.
August 1, 1848
Our wagon tipped over. We lost 5 pounds of bacon; 1 box of 20 bullets.
Well, ain't that a kick in the pants! That's a rare treat! That's a mighty fine thing when a man can't even go up a slope with a bunch of oxen in low morale and not tip over and drop some bacon! I demand satisfaction.
August 3, 1848
Maurice started showing symptoms of scurvy. We're trying our best to go look for edible plants.
August 8, 1848
Joshua has been showing symptoms of scurvy, the aristocrat of all diseases. Like a true nobleman, it only exists to oppress the peasants, and it can only be overthrown by a substantial letting of blood. Let Joshua's blood flow through the streets! We will hang him from every lamppost unless he gets better.
August 17, 1848
Our food supplies are gone and we are near starvation. We'll have to kill a draft animal for food.
It's not bacon, but ox is DELICIOUS! and the best thing is we can do this another 9 times. Do you think once we've killed 9 oxen, and only one is left, and he's seen us eat all his friends, he'll get suspicious? Thoughts like these comfort us in our tribulation.
August 19, 1848
We just learned that Natalie has been showing symptoms of scurvy. It seems I'll have to go look for edible plants.
August 21, 1848
Our wagon tipped over. We lost 1 8-oz. bottle of hydrogen peroxide; 40 pounds of meat.
A very sad day, Frederick drowned. We will provide a proper burial.
AND FREDERICK DROWNED.
And we lost 40 pounds of meat.
Things are looking bad. Let me recap:
We have 80 pounds of meat left. We all have scurvy. Morale is very low.
and FREDERICK DROWNED.
August 25, 1848
Today we have traveled 1,000 miles!
We just learned that Maurice has been showing symptoms of scurvy. It seems I'll have to go look for edible plants.
August 26, 1848
Saw an empty wagon abandoned on the trail today near Church Butte. If it could talk, what dirty stories it might tell!
Church Butte. I'll bet.
August 28, 1848
Made our way past Name Rock late today. Trail could be better.
Traded 5 blouses for 1 10-lb. sack of rhubarb.
The devil! What a bad bargain we made. But perhaps rhubarb will help our scurvy. Before we handed over the blouses, we made sure to suck out all the nutrients.
August 29, 1848
Today our labors were rewarded with the sight of Fort Bridger. Ah, sweet reward! Fort Bridger is the ancient and accepted internation sign for almost having reached Oregon. It also gives us an opportunity to celebrate by performing one of our favorite passion plays enacting the lives of the characters from SEAQUEST DSV.
September 3, 1848
On the advice of the people in Fort Bridger, we rested, since everyone's so tired. We rested 5 days. In that time we ate up all our provisions. Now we're hungry. Thanks a lot, you bastards! I have a good mind to give you all a heck of a bolus.
September 5, 1848
We just learned that Maurice has been showing symptoms of scurvy. It seems I'll have to go look for edible plants.
September 12, 1848
Nooned near West End of the Sublette Cutoff.
Does that mean we had sex during the day?
We have scurvy real bad.
September 13, 1848
Maurice is losing his teeth, and he has swollen joints and bleeding gums. Do you think he needs some peroxide?
September 15, 1848
Well, Natalie died of scurvy. Fudge. We buried her at sea as befits an admiral.
September 16, 1848
We didn't bury Natalie. We just left her there. That's because we figured out there was no sea where we were.
September 17, 1848
We suffered a terrible loss. Maurice has died. We plan to provide a proper burial.
You know who is still alive? Me and Joshua. That's great. Have I even mentioned Joshua before? He's a cipher. No one knows anything about him because no one cares. Look at his long mug is like looking at your own ass... very difficult and unrewarding. On the plus side, his teeth are falling out and he has swollen joints.
September 24, 1848
One of our oxen stepped in a hole, and I've decided to butcher the animal for meat. We salvaged 188 pounds of meat.
September 26, 1848
We found an abandoned wagon. We decided to search it for something useful. We found: 2 6-oz. bottles of cinnamon; 1 5-lb. sack of dried fruit; 1 raincoat.
A raincoat? I didn't even know those were invented.
September 27, 1848
Joshua started showing symptoms of scurvy. We're trying our best to go look for edible plants.
October 27, 1848
Saw Three Islands. Wonderful... we're only a hundred miles or so from our goal.
Traded 1 dollar for 1 5-lb. sack of dried vegetables. Things are looking up! The vitamins in these vegetables should keep us alive until we can get to Oregon and all its famous oranges.
Decided to caulk the wagon and float it across.
October 28, 1848 We tipped the wagon and lost: