Today’s a festival day in the community of Readlyn, Iowa, about two and a half hours northeast of Des Moines.

The town’s annual event is known as Grump Days, because Readlyn proudly bills itself as home to (and this is a quote from their welcome sign) “857 friendly people and one old Grump!”

According to Now I Know, the legend of Readlyn’s Grump started around 1904, when a “bum-looking fellow” got off the train in their town.

The man proceeded to ignore all of the warm welcomes he received from the locals.

After a few days of this, the townspeople changed their greetings from “good morning” to “good morning, old grump.”

That stuck for about a year, when the story goes that the grump found something that made him laugh and he wasn’t grumpy anymore.

Readlyn started commemorating its local folklore in the 1980s by electing one of its senior citizens as a the local grump, though with some key differences from the original.

For one thing, the elected grumps aren’t usually grumpy; it’s not a personality contest and winning is not an insult.

In fact, the winners are often people who have lived in Readlyn for many years and have a lot of community ties, so a grump is their town’s version of naming a Citizen of the Year or something.

The grumps have ceremonial roles at a lot of local events, sometimes assisted by kids who are named Little Grumpsters.

The most important part of the job is that the outgoing Grump crowns the newly elected Grump at Readlyn Grump Days with a white baseball cap.

Then, the town’s friendly people and the one grump can all go forth together and enjoy the rest of the three day gathering, which includes games, live music, bingo and, of course, the Grumpster’s Vendor Fair.

Today in 1955, Paul Bunyan died?

Even though he’s a legendary person and didn’t really live?

That’s what it says on his gravestone, anyway.

According to Atlas Obscura, he’s “buried” on a camping site known as Paul Bunyan Memorial Park and his “resting place” is a 20 foot long mound.


Paul Bunyan’s Gravesite (Atlas Obscura)

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Photo by by Orange Suede Sofa, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikicommons