Roll out the Barrel for Mrs Annie Edson Taylor’s Birthday
Yes, it was ON THIS DAY that Mrs Edson Taylor became the very first person to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel. She got her cat to do it first and decided to go ahead after the cat emerged alive but angry. It was her 63rd birthday and the whole venture had an “Awww – what the hell” feel to it. Let’s make this birthday just a little bit special. Oh for sure the 62nd birthday cake was slightly bigger than the 61st birthday cake but for 63 – let’s really push the boat out. Or better yet – the barrel.
The barrel was well secured and she took with her her favourite heart shaped pillow.
On being extricated from the barrel she remarked “If it was with my dying breath, I would caution anyone against attempting the feat… I would sooner walk up to the mouth of a cannon, knowing it was going to blow be to pieces than make another trip over the Fall.”
Obviously she tried to exploit this once in a lifetime feat for as much financial gain as possible – but she never quite made as much money as she would have liked. Her manager absconded with the barrel at one point and it cost her a fair amount to have it tracked down.
She lived another twenty years after this, the most noteworthy and horrible of birthdays and ended up being the most interesting octogenarian on her block. I’ve a feeling that the neighbours may have eventually tired of the paragraph that began “Did I ever tell you about the time… ?” I sort of pity anyone responsible for planning any of her 19 birthdays between 1902 and 1921. “We’re planning something a bit exciting for you this year…” “Oh yeah? Really?”
(If anyone out there knows someone who has a sixty-third birthday coming up – try to suppress the urge to suggest Niagara Falls barrel riding as a commemorative activity.)
REMEMBER – ANNIE EDSON TAYLOR WAS AN AMUSINGLY OLD TIMEY WIERDY TYPE PERSON WHO WAS SOMEHOW ALLOWED TO GET AWAY WITH STUFF LIKE THIS. YOU ARE NOT AND DO NOT IMITATE HER. GOING OVER NIAGARA FALLS IS UNBELIEVABLE DANGEROUS AND MOST PEOPLE WHO TRY IT END UP DEAD. IT’S ALSO ILLEGAL. EVEN IF IT’S YOU’RE BIRTHDAY.