Mr. & Mrs. Popeye Celebrate 80th Wedding Anniversary
Bridgette and Doyle Popeye celebrated their 80th wedding anniversary on March 27, 2008. Bridgette Squeaky Moonloop was born in Corncob, LA on February 29, 1908. Her husband, Doyle Isakiah Popeye was born in Vegetable Leaf, MO on February 29, 1904. They met at the National Society of Leap Year Babies celebration on February 29, 1928, and just under a month later they were man and wife. On January 17, 1929 their son, Aristotle Ezra Popeye, who became a comedic star using the name Popeye The Sailor Man, was born.
Vegetable Leaf, MO was known for the abundant spinach crops each and every year. During the 1930s and 40s, spinach was a slang word for nonsense (there is no significance for this story, just interesting). Doyle Popeye’s family had the largest spinach empire in the State; just over 27,000 acres of greenery.
One day in the summer of 1937 while visiting his grandparents, Aristotle was chasing the family’s pet rat, Phoebe, through the rows of crops. Becoming exhausted from the frivolity, he rested a moment and witnessed Phoebe gnawing on some spinach leaves. Phoebe perked up with enthusiasm, daring young Popeye to chase her. Aristotle, being not a particularly bright child, decided to chew on a leaf as well. His forearms grew immense, and he developed a hankering to smoke a corncob pipe. His increased speed allowed him to catch Phoebe and they snuggled for hours. Aristotle Ezra Popeye knew he had happened upon a miracle weed (not that kind of weed).
After years of spinach-induced mayhem, and kicking a lot of ass in High School, Aristotle figured he could parlay his strength into a career. He brought his idea for a hit series to famed Hollywood Producer, Bluto Tandrum, who insisted on a part in any of the movies, cartoons, or other media invented during that time. Since Bluto was a very large, imposing fellow, it made sense he assume the role of villain. Popeye agreed to Bluto’s demands, and a series was launched.
Another son, Doyle Isakiah Popeye, Jr. was born on January 30, 1930. Doyle, Jr. could not stomach spinach. His parents tried hiding it among other foods, like spinach dip, spinach ravioli, spinach juice (they called it lime), and other dishes. But he was not fooled. Eventually Doyle, Jr. refused to eat any green leafy vegetables, and it was he who coined the term vile weed to emphasize his hatred of spinach. Eventually the term was used by Newman in a Seinfeld episode in reference to broccoli.
Although Doyle, Jr. never developed the large forearms and affinity for corncob pipes, he did understand there is a lot of money to be made in the entertainment business. Adopting the screen name, Gene Hackman, he became a famous, Oscar-winning performer. His early success was realized at the age of 41 in the film French Connection, in which he played Popeye Doyle, a cantankerous police detective, bent on destruction of the heroin trade through France to America. He was very tough in the Popeye tradition, even without the spinach.
Bridgette and Doyle Popeye have lived a long life. Both are centenarians, yet they have not been honored by Willard Scott or Smuckers (probably an oversight). Most vegetable authorities attribute their longevity to lifelong spinach consumption.
The Popeye name has been branded throughout the world in products such as Popeye’s Chicken and Popeye Spinach. There is even a club in Chester, Illinois devoted to the Popeye Picnic; an annual event, which includes music, food, games and such; all in the honor of Popeye. Somebody kill me . . . . now.
Bake My Fish