Saturday, May 14, 2011
Oysters & Corndogs
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.