This past weekend was Field Trip Weekend. This time we headed to Hendersonville, North Carolina. Why in the hell would anyone go to Hendersonville, North Carolina, you may ask. Well, it’s the home of the famous McCrary Brothers! You don’t know that you know who the McCrary Brothers are. But you know them. Any kid who used to pore over the Guinness Book of World Records knows them. My favorite chapter was the chapter of extreme humans, eg, the oldest man, oldest woman, tallest man, lightest woman, etc.
There was Robert Earl Hughes, The World’s Heaviest Man at 1,071 pounds. He died at age 32 and was buried in a coffin the size of a piano case. I just checked and his record has been surpassed since his death in 1958. The world’s oldest man was always some Japanese guy who claimed to be 136 years old, but the record was not verified. The tallest woman ever was a Chinese woman who reached 8 feet tall, and the tallest living woman was always Sandy Allen (7′ 7″), until her death in 2008. In fifth grade I had most of these stats memorized, and these people were my friends.
My very favorite, of course, was Robert Wadlow, the World’s Tallest Man- 8′ 11.1″. His likeness now hangs out at several Ripley’s Believe it Or Not museums in tourist traps across the world, and I posed with him both in LA and in London.
Only slightly less well-known than Robert Wadlow though, were the McCrary Brothers, the World’s Heaviest Twins. You’ve probably seen this famous picture of them:
Or perhaps this famous picture of them:
I remember that my battered copy of the Guinness Book of World Records had a caption underneath their famous motorcycle picture, describing that at their peak they weighed 1,598 pounds combined. They were normal at birth, until a case of the German measles at age 6 made their pituitary glands go haywire. By the time they were 16, each weighed over 600 pounds. They ended up being tag team wrestlers, changing their last name to McGuire because during their Japan wrestling circuit, the Japanese announcers couldn’t pronounce “McCrary” and it ended up sounding like “Queery.” Benny was quoted as saying “…and we ain’t no queers, man!” They were also paid by Honda to ride their motorcycles across the country for a promotion, hence the iconic photo.
They were no Robert Wadlow, that’s for sure, but they were still a favorite of mine in the Book. We made this trip primarily to see their final resting place.
Have you ever seen those stone graveyard statues of angels that kind of drape themselves over the tombstones? Well, I liked their grave just fine, but I felt it lacked a draping angel statue. So I did my best to pose as one.
However, it was a rainy day and that marred our enthusiasm a bit. The best Jon could do was to pose as the classic grim spectre of death, which I think he pulled off rather well.
The nearby Corn twins don’t receive nearly as many visitors.
After paying our respects to Benny and Billy, as well as the Corn Brothers, we headed out to see what else Hendersonville had to offer.
They did have a nice apple farm.
And Jon got to pose for an album cover in front of the Corn Brothers’ house.
A surly llama glared at us for not paying 25 cents for animal feed:
And I made friends out on the porch of an Old Folks’ Home.
Not bad for a rainy Saturday.