As a surprisingly powerful snowstorm battered an unprepared populace last week, the region was left reeling. Roads were untreated or too lightly treated. Schools didn’t let out early enough. Many seemed unwilling to quite believe what they were seeing. Visibility was low and conditions were treacherous.
But out of the frozen whirlwind of confusion, a hero emerged. That hero, it turned out, was hairy and tall, with a long neck, four legs, and a single hump on his back.
His name was Einstein, but no one knew that yet. He appeared like a mirage out of the wintry mist, trudging along Route 309 near Souderton. Stories of his sighting quickly took on mystical tones. He became a meme by nightfall. A walking anachronism. A summer animal in an unexpected winter storm. A representation of modern climatic uncertainy.
>>WATCH: Camel Walking In Snowstorm On Route 309 In Souderton
The legend spread in the way that 21st century legends do, achieving within hours what took Arthur or Beowulf centuries.
“All hail Snow Camel.” (@MichelleReneeW3)
“He is our savior…” (@somialee)
“We have #SnowCamel. We win.” (@JGiiiy)
“Not the hero we deserve, but the hero we need.” (@LVwithLove)
Yet Einstein had no desire to remain a mystery. He may have become Pennsylvania folklore, but he wanted people to know the canonical truth behind the legend.
Einstein, who is a dromedary (the technical name for one-humped Pennsylvania snow camels), was not wandering Route 309 aimlessly, as some apocryphal reports had it. When the storm hit, he was on his way to the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia to make a guest appearance at special event.
His handler, Megan Hudock, took him out of his trailer and walked him alongside the van so that there would be less weight coming up a rise. “He was not stuck or camel towing our trailer,” Hudock said on Facebook. In fact, according to a Q and A which Einstein did with The Morning Call in Allentown, he was only outside of his trailer walking in the snow for about five minutes.
Five minutes is all it took, however, to transform a petting zoo favorite into a cult figure that made appearances in Time and People Magazine.
“He was very compliant and considerate to help out and and walk for a few minutes,” Hudock said.
The job at the Kimmel Center was not an exception. Einstein routinely does such “gigs” around the area, and in the wake of his celebrity, he will be meeting the public this Friday. Einstein, along with Peaceable Kingdom Petting Zoo, will be at Thrifty’s Auto in Coopersburg, located at 241 South 3rd Street, from noon to 2 p.m. “He can’t wait to see everyone,” the zoo says.
Two more Einstein appearances are slated: later on Friday in Hellertown at Morris J. Dimmick Park from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., and on Dec. 7 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Molly’s Irish Grille and Sports Pub in Bethlehem.
As for the condition of Einstein, whose species is known for its desert habitat, after braving wintry conditions? “He is home safe and sound back to giving kisses,” Hudock noted. And really, the snow was not such a big deal. Though the dromedary is native to the deserts across North Africa and the Middle East, temperatures can drop preciptiously in the evening. What’s a few minutes on Route 309 compared to a night in the Sahara?
Image courtesy Twitter user @miss_brittttt