One of the many sights at Old Threshers this year was a man and a woman walking amongst the exhibits with monkeys curled around their necks. No, the couple were not hired entertainment, but a private couple out to see the sights of Old Threshers with their pet monkeys.
Cheryl Ullrich, of Mt. Pleasant, is the only monkey breeder in the state of Iowa. She got into the business 15 years ago when she acquired a monkey for a pet. It grew from there. She currently has 25 monkeys, down from 50, in a climate-controlled barn with automatic waterers.
In her house, she has her two favorites?Sally and Buddy, Weeper Capuchin monkeys. They are diapered, shy, and quite well-behaved. Ullrich literally saved Sally?s life when Sally was born. Its mother refused to care for her--something that can happen with animals in captivity. Ullrich fed the baby monkey with a syringe every hour, around the clock, for three months before it could suck from a bottle. Needles to say, Ullrich and Sally bonded. Sally and Ullrich now sleep together.
Since it is illegal to buy and sell primates to private individuals in Iowa, the number of breeders has naturally diminished. Ullrich sells her monkeys in states where it is still legal. Each of the monkeys that she sells must have a health certificate from a veterinarian, and Ullrich requires that each of her pets be picked up in person so that she can see who they are going to. Ullrich never ships her ?babies? by air.
In the monkey barn, along with a 40-year old spider monkey, Ullrich has Java monkeys, or ?Old World Monkeys?--monkeys with pads on their behinds, and Celebes. Celebes, also called the ?poor man?s ape,? are in danger of extinction. The monkeys are fed monkey chow three times a day.
Ullrich calls the monkeys her ?little darlings.? She loves and cares for them, making sure they go to good homes. The concern she has for these cute primates is quite impressive.
On a different note, you may remember a month or so ago when I wrote about Glen and Louise Seberg from Olds, Iowa. Not only had Glen Seberg attended every Old Threshers Reunion since its beginning in 1950, but had attended every day of every Old Threshers Reunion?which would now be 292 days worth. Seberg?s only regret was that he had not collected an Old Threshers button from every year.
Well, upon reading this column, a lady from Cedar Rapids, who wishes to remain anonymous, gave her set of Old Threshers buttons to the Sebergs. The set had belonged to her father, and represented the years 1955 through 2000. Of course, the lady could have sold these valuable buttons, but she wanted the Sebergs to have them.
Sometimes the kindness of people overwhelms me.
The Sebergs can round out the set of buttons from the year 2000 through the present, but 1950 through 1954 is a different matter. Can anyone out there help?
Have a good story? Call Curt Swarm in Mt. Pleasant at 319-217-0526 or email him at email@example.com.