We were invited to a wedding. The groom was a young man who was an approximate contemporary of our sons, his parents friends of our. The Bride was from Rochester Minnesota, so the wedding venue was at a place called Mayowood Stone Barn.
Mayo clinic is one of the great medical organizations of our times. It's reputation is justly earned and is one of commitment to research and patient care. Of course, lofty goals and accomplishments notwithstanding, it was founded by mere mortals. Specifically by a British emigrant, William Worrell Mayo, and his two sons, William and Charles.
Mayo senior came to Rochester Minnesota when it was still a rough hewn new town. He met with early success and purchased a farm parcel south west of town on which was built an estate later known as "Mayowood". The original farm was adjacent to the later mansion, and the former was eventually sold off and developed as a wedding venue. Be patient, the wedding is about to start.
We were bemused to hear the processional music for the Bride. It was not the traditional fare, but rather "Beauty and the Beast". This Disney selection made a little more sense later, when in a toast her father alluded to annual visits to Disney World and to a serious interest in the Disneyverse. The Groom of course was no beast, he is almost as good looking a young person as his new wife, but this sort of play on words is fairly common I guess.
As we were waiting for dinner to be served somebody mentioned that there was a Trophy Room we could visit. Would we be interested? Oh, yes, very much so. I do like me some taxidermy. Here is what we saw, tucked into an upper room of the old barn...
You could get snout to snout with a water buffalo.
Be a witness to the Crucifixion of Rocky the Squirrel.
Boy, not many big game hunters go in for rodents, even the Capybara, largest species of same on earth.
A distinguished hyena.
Even in a tall barn you can't fit an entire giraffe. Sorry to say, just his neck here, reaching in futility towards an equally dead branch.
I'm thinking when wedding parties use this room some critters are more popular than others for "selfies". Wild boar for the grooms, bevy of graceful antelopes - and parts of same - for the bridesmaids.
It really is quite a collection and I did not know what to make of it.
The venue played up the Mayo connection, as well they might. In Rochester it is a big deal to have a house associated in some fashion with The Mayos or one of the other early physicians of The Clinic. Years ago, when I was occasionally mistaken for being of importance, I was at a conference in Rochester and was invited that evening to a cocktail party at MayoWood, the actual Estate. The folks we were staying with - both Mayo employees - were stunned. This is kind of like visiting Rome and getting an engraved invitation to hang out by the pool with The Pope. "Hey, come on over if you have time. Beer? Sure, right over there. Just take one out of that cooler with the Papal Seal on it."
My wife and I actually found it a rather dull affair. She was quite pregnant and unable in that crowd to even consider having a sip of what was some rather nice wine.
So the Mayos and their clinic are taken very seriously, especially by themselves. Those of us who work for other organizations are allowed to refer to it as the WFMC (World Famous Mayo Clinic) but for those inside the collective no levity or whimsy is permitted.
So, were the Brothers Mayo and/or their old Imperialist British pater secret Big Game Hunters? I did find a few references to them going on the occasional grouse hunt, and the lads growing up had the usual interest in flora, fauna and natural history...
But no. They were working most of the time, a bane of physicians that has not changed over the years. The wonders of the Trophy Room are instead a private collection that was parked there after the property was acquired from the Mayo Foundation.
A good use of a nice space, and some great photo ops for Beauties and Beasts.