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  • Writer's pictureJan Bishop

Family Legends and Lores

Updated: Dec 28, 2023

Do you have any Family Legends or Lores? Getting different family members to tell their version of the story is a fun way to record the Legend or Lore.

Clyde the Camel
Clyde the Camel at the Arrowhead Service Station Moapa Valley, NV

My husband's Grandpa Bishop had a camel named Clyde. Clyde lived near the service station & towing company Grandpa Bishop owned. Grandpa Bishop told the grandkids different stories about how he came in possession of Clyde the Camel. Clyde was a legend because he was an attraction, too. It isn't every day you see a camel next to the service station.

I had heard several versions of the story, none from Grandpa directly. I got some stories and pictures, but only one video from my husband. Listen to his version of the story below.

Several of the grandchildren were told that Clyde was won in a poker game. Some say the poker game was with a Sheik, but some did not mention a Sheik.

One of Chris' aunts thought Clyde (and another camel) had been in a commercial in Las Vegas, and they had stopped at the service station, and Grandpa asked if he could buy Clyde. Apparently, there was a Buffalo at the service station a little down the road. Grandpa thought Clyde would make a great addition.

Clyde the Camel at Arrowhead Service Station artist rendition by Heidi Leavitt
Clyde the Camel at Arrowhead Service Station artist rendition by Heidi Leavitt

Chris' father said that the "real" story is that Clyde and the other camel had been on The Late-Night Show with Johnny Carson, and Grandpa asked to buy him. He also said that later, after he already had Clyde, there was a Sheik who had been at the service station and was talking to Grandpa about camel racing. The Sheik sent a racing saddle, and Clyde was in a few camel races in northern Nevada.

Katie and Clyde the Camel
Katie and Clyde the Camel

Here are a couple of side stories. Grandpa had gone to a wreck where a semi had lost its load of alfalfa pellets, and Grandpa asked Highway Patrol what he should do with it. They told him whatever he wanted, and Grandpa took it back to the service station, put them in a candy jar, and called them "Camel Candy." He charged 10 cents apiece for the buyer to feed to Clyde! Brilliant!

A cousin said she thought that Clyde was named after the Camel on the cigarettes because Grandpa had a dog, and the dog was named Budweiser. This same cousin mentioned wrapping up small hay bales (the alfalfa) for the Camel Candy jar.

MIsty, Grandpa and Clyde

Clyde was a legend in the family and the community. I posted on a Facebook group for the Overton, NV area, asking if anyone had pictures of Clyde. I didn't get any pictures, but I got many comments about how they would stop and see Clyde often. A newspaper article said that Clyde was acquired in "some sort of horse trade."

Stephanie, Grandpa, Justin and Clyde
October 18, 1980 Stephanie, Grandpa, Justin and Clyde

Clyde also had a feature in the local paper called "Clyde's Comments." If you were lucky enough to meet Clyde, you didn't just meet an everyday run-of-the-mill camel. You met a TV star, a racer, and a correspondent.

A camel kiss
Grandpa, and Clyde giving Stephanie a kiss!

What are your family legends and lores? Don't let them get lost. Save them. Write or record your version and have other family members do the same.

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