Gus, the horse

Gus, the horse

September 03, 2018


Caption: One hundred years ago this Labor Day Weekend, CCB&G founder, Doug Michael (seen in foreground with his horse, Gus), braved the chilly weather (remnants of the last ice age) and delivered his first batch of sprouted whole-grain bread to the Bakers Guild Cafe in downtown Bloomsburg, PA.

Also depicted in this historic photograph are Dr.s Cyrus P. and Lydia D. McIntyre, eagerly awaiting fresh-baked sprouted grain breads, pita and CCB&G’s not-yet- world-famous Flax Granola.

According to archived records, the McIntyres were also treating Gus for a peculiar condition in which the CCB&G draught horse self-identified as a cow. Michael recalls, “I would holler, ‘Giddy-up, Gus’ and Gus would look back at me and ‘moo’.”

Michael said that the McIntyres recommended Electric Shock Therapy (commonly proscribed in those days for most every little thing). However, Michael opted to publicize Gus’s peculiarities. That led to the two of them touring extensively on the vaudeville circuit and a stint as featured performers on the Ready-To-Rise Radio Hour with Jarvis Fleischmann of Fleischmann’s Yeast Co. "Those were good times," said Michael, "and good for business."  But, as their fame rose, Michael lamented that Gus took up smoking and turned haughty.

"He acted all high and mighty for a horse who thinks he’s a cow," explained Michael. “For one, Gus wanted to get out of the bread business. He had this idea that we needed to package and market pre-digested cow-cud as a dietary supplement or weight control bromide or something along those lines. I remember there were quite a few in the bovine community who loved the idea but everyone else and I mean everyone else laughed at him. It hurt him, I'd say.

"I tried to turn him back around," says Michael. "I got him a bit and a halter and a carrot bouquet for his birthday. But he just snorted and said neigh to all that." Records show that, soon thereafter, Gus ran off and fell in with a gang of longhorns - rampagers- who wrecked havoc across a wide swath of Missouri. Once the dust settled, the cattle were corralled and sent up to Chicago while Gus was taken straight to the McIntyres.  

"I only saw him once after that," recalled Michael. "The shocks hadn't knocked the cow out of him but he was changed. Didn't recognized me. Later, I heard he joined a circus act. It was him and a goat who thought he was a Kangaroo.  They were billed as 'Gus and Jumping Billy' for anyone who might remember." 

Michael reflected. "It's always a challenge to find your way in this world but Gus showed me that you just have to be who you are and the heck with what everyone else thinks." 

And has he thought any more about Gus's cow-cud idea? "Oh, yeah, but I'm too late," said Michael. "We had a batch tested and, wouldn't you know it, it came back a hundred percent gluten-free. Now I hear it's about to be the next new thing. Cow-cud chips, cow-cud dips, cow-cud cookies, cow-cud-just-about-anything-you-can-think-of.  Yep, Gus was ahead of his time. I will say that."

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