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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Oysters & Corndogs

Michael and I made our way out to Windy Corner Market for lunch today. Even though it was raining cats and dogs, the place was packed.  While we waited in line to order, a table cleared and Michael  shooed me  to grab it. It was convivial and very hectic, belying its remote location in the countryside. Apparently, the regulars of Windy Corner knew exactly what to do and how to order. Their precision in the chaos was fascinating. 
We went  for lunch.  Specifically, I went for the Fried Oyster Po-Boy.  Although impressive, the rest of the menu didn't matter.  It was all about the oyster po-boy.  I've not had fried oysters in quite some time. I couldn't wait.

A server shouted, "Michael" over the noisy crowd.  He raised his hand and she brought our baskets of food to the table. Wow. 
All Po-Boys come fully dressed---shredded lettuce, tomato, Windy Corner Special Sauce and sliced pickles on 8-inch brioche rolls.
Yep. Nestled in a humble plastic basket, the gorgeous brioche roll bulged with  select oysters fried in seasoned cornmeal.  Lisa's remoulade was drizzled over the top with lettuce, pickles, special sauce, and tomatoes underneath.  I actually made noises when I ate it.  The first bite of oyster exploded through the crunchy cornmeal, squirting sweet oyster juice down my throat.  G-spot. Oyster bliss.  I'm re-evaluating my fondness for raw half-shelled oysters.  The Fried Oyster Po-Boy was perfection in a plastic basket.

The drive to Windy Corner Market conjured up a flood of memories from my college summers spent masquerading as a gigantic furry raccoon at Beech Bend Amusement Park in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Yep.

The undualting tree-canopied road to Windy Corner reminded me of the long tree-canopied entrance to Beech Bend. During those summer days, the drive to Beech Bend represented the calm before the storm.  Ricky Raccoon was my name for two long hot summers.  Along with Orange Orangutan, Red Monkey, and  Purple Blob,  we made merry with the patrons of Beech Bend Amusement Park. It wasn't a hard job, but it did have its challenges.  Back then, well ventilated foam fabricated costumes didn't exist.  Basically, my costume was a sleeping bag covered in raccoon fur. My head was huge and heavy with a 2 foot long nose.  After it was strapped on, I used my meshed mouth to see and navigate.

The costumes were hot.  Very hot.  We had to take salt pills every two hours to retain water. Although melting under fur beneath the beating sun every day was tiresome, it was also great fun. The four of us spent our days strolling through the park making children happy, posing for photographs, and dancing.  Ocassionaly, the park managers would make us climb onto rides in full costume.  Photo ops?   Thankfully, those misguided attempts to prostitute our adorableness ended the day my raccoon head flew off while riding the Pirate Ship.  Gravity.  It scared the children.

We took mandatory breaks every two hours.  Housed over the video arcade game room, we shared our breakroom shed with a kit of pigeons. Day in and day out, we rested in their roost. We followed the rules. There we were, three sweaty monkeys and one wet raccoon gasping for air in a pigeon roost.  Just imagine it. Histoplasmosis, anyone?  Negative.

After hanging our furry sleeping bags to dry before the next day of frolicing fun, we'd clock out. The animal kingdom with time cards. Go figure.

I ended every day with a corndog. Bliss.  Fried in days/weeks/months-old oil, the corndogs at Beech Bend Park were amazing. They were always extremely hot and deeply browned from old oil and over frying, crackling with every bite. Yellow mustard subdued the heat and tamed the aroma. They were hot, huge, and delicious. I loved those corndogs. Park food. My food.

Windy Corner Market.
Beech Bend Amusement Park.

With a gazillion degrees of separation between the two,
the roads to reach them felt familiar.  Thought provoking.

Haven't thought of my raccoon days in a very long time.

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