“It’s not THAT big!”

I’m not sure why, but ALL FOUR of the only, world-record-holding “Balls of twine” are in the U.S. What’s with Lithuania? Where are the Scandinavian ‘Twine ballers’?

Largest built by a community – Cawker City, Kansas. (I think they’re still rolling twine in Cawker City!)

Heaviest twine ball – Lake Nebagamon, Wisconsin.

Largest NYLON twine ball – Branson, Missouri.

But the one I decided to visit, “Largest ball of twine built by a single person”, as titled by Guiness, and he would be Francis A. Johnson from Darwin, Minn., 1950 – 1979. When I saw Mr. Johnson’s contribution to society, I thought “why would anyone try to break his record”? “Why not let the dude have his place in history”? (Anyway, not sure if he was ‘single’ as he did it, but I think it means he did it all by himself. ‘Largest ball of twine built by a married person’? I dunno. Give it a shot! Or maybe that’s why he was ‘single’?)

Darwin is a crossroads kinda town. Crossroads of “No” and “Where”. As usual, friendly people. There are a couple of stores, bars, one, maybe two places to stay if you wish, and a railroad track which runs through the North of the town. There’s a ‘covered bench’ thing along the tracks – but I can’t imagine it is an actual stop or ‘station’ – but what do I know? Turns out, not much!

The fellow who ran the ‘Largest Twine Ball by a Single Person’ museum / souvenir shop was an elder gentlemen (80’s), who had just recently been hired for this position. He wasn’t sure if he could un-lock the display so I could actually “touch” the ball, but I didn’t press it, nor did I really want to. Probably not and he was new on the job and didn’t know where the keys were.. He grew up in Darwin, population around 350 in 2010, according to the Net. He pointed to a field across the street. “They used to hang sheets on wires and show movies on Saturday nights!” Apparently the town was larger years back. “Cities and technology” moved the (farming) population away. I chatted with him a bit more, bought a T-Shirt, and wished him well in his new career.