Monday, October 21, 2013

Corn Maze

Yesterday, my family and I made our annual hour-long drive up to a corn maze/pumpkin patch.  Sure, there are other ones closer, but we feel this one is worth the drive.

After being pointed to the farthest parking spot in the lot, we got out into the soggy, overgrown grass and headed toward the action.  Being careful not to slip on the slick, muddy path, we finally made our appearance among the hundreds of families, all ready for a day of country fun.  The smells of animals and warm kettle corn met us at different areas of the farm.  The sounds of children crying, screaming, and giggling were everywhere.

Dodging bodies, we made our way to the long lines for the food, figured out what we wanted and which lines we needed to be in, and then found the last available table in the slightly-protected dining area.  I chose a corn dog and a roasted ear of corn and I was glad that I did.  The coating on the corndog was slightly sweet and perfectly crispy on the outside and bready on the inside.  The meat was hot, juice, and flavorful.  Dipped in a bit of mustard, it was perfection!  The ear of corn was cooked perfectly and I had even slathered butter on it (which I don't normally do) so it was a special treat.  My mother shared a taste of her cider donut with me which was the perfectly spiced ending to my meal.

We then noticed that it was time for the Pig Show.  We arrived a tad late, so all of the seats were taken.  From where we stood, it was hard to hear the narrator barking out his lines.  Instead, we got an interesting view of the human errors - the only part of the show I actually enjoyed.  We left after only a few minutes - the show was geared more for small children and the youngest in our group was 14, so he wasn't enjoying it.  I think it might have been enjoyable if everyone in the group was in a silly mood, which we weren't.

We then headed toward the corn maze.  Upon hoisting ourselves onto the hay-bale covered trailers, we sat and listened to Farmer Bob giving instructions and hints.  He then led us in the same poem that he shouts each year, expecting us to repeat each line after he says it.  Long story short - keep your butt on the hay while the ride is moving.  The screaming toddler to my left made me more than anxious to get off the ride.  Her wet, clumpy eye lashes at the start of the ride made me worry that there might be trouble, and sadly, she didn't disappoint.

Now, this maze is pretty cool.  It's shaped like the state of Washington (where I live) with all of the roads and sites to see along the way.  It's pretty easy to get through, if that's your goal.  But, who wants to spend the money and then not get just a tad lost in it?  So, we decided to tour Washington and see some of the sights.  We had fun laughing at whoever was the current leader and had gotten us lost, we took silly pictures, and we enjoyed each other's company. 

Thankfully, the "roads" were hard-packed dirt (not mud, as some years have been) which was a pleasant surprise.  The corn was extra high this year, making the "mountains" a bit harder to see.  And this year they had added some extra trails and roads (we trekked through the "Pacific Coast Trail", which was narrow and fun.)  At each marked site, there was either a small sign, giving us snooze-inducing information about the site, or they had constructed a wooden version of the monument.  The mountains looked a tad bit like a couple of poles with a sheet draped over it.

Probably the funniest thing we saw in the maze was the adults.  They gathered around the little paper maps they were given, having serious, lengthy conversations about the best way to get through the maze.  I think they're missing the point of the maze, which to me is not to conquer it, but to have fun.

When we had successfully exited the maze, we saw the Jumpy Thingy.  It looked like those massive blow-up toys that you see in lakes - the ones where Bubba jumps down from a height onto one end, vaulting three screaming teenagers into the air and then into the cold water below.  Except, this one was half-buried in the ground, leaving the top bubble visible.  Shoeless children then bounced and giggled hysterically on the Bouncy Thingy, bringing a smile to anyone watching.  We were all sad that there was no Adult Hour posted.

Finally, we made our way to the bakery (the whole reason my son wanted to go to this particular pumpkin patch) to buy our treats.  I bought a pumpkin bar with cream cheese frosting and a pumpkin scone for later.  My son bought an enormous cinnamon rolls.  My pumpkin bar was moist and perfectly spiced and it was slathered with the perfect amount of a light and fluffy frosting, which tasted as I imagine manna might be.  I later found out that the scone had a light pumpkin flavor and was moist and almost cakey, unlike so many scones. 

My son is spoiled with a mother who enjoys baking and is good at it.  When I asked him how his cinnamon roll was, he told me it was a bit dry.  Cinnamon rolls are one of my specialties - the perfect amount of sugary, cinnamon filling, a light, slightly sweetened dough cooked to perfection, and then all topped by a mound of cream cheese frosting which I spread on while the rolls are still warm so the topping can melt into all of the nooks and crannies.  His roll from the bakery wasn't was he was accustomed to.

As we drove home, a sense of peace settled over me.  For me, this is the start of the holiday season.  I got to spend the day with my favorite people, having a great time.  I had thoroughly layered my clothes, so I was warm the entire time.  It was the type of warm I like - the snuggly warm, not the overheated, how can I get cool? type of warm.  Looking ahead, I see Christmas and Thanksgiving, which bring me great joy each year.  Life is good.

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