Tuesday, November 24, 2009

It was positively CornMaizing....

I've lived here in Louisiana for a little over 7 years now.  In all that time, although I've been invited and heard it mentioned every year about this time, I had never made it out to the Hickory Corn Maze.  I can now not only check that off my list, but also check off conquering my fear of evil eyed children coming out of the rows of corn in order to kill me with sickles (thank you Children of the Corn).

I don't know that I was actually invited along this time.  Hannah was for sure invited, I think I then invited myself when I heard that my friend was insane enough to not only let my daughter come but also allow each of her other two children have a friend thus making the ratio 6 to 1.  Thus putting my friend at horrendous odds.  She obliged whether it be for the company or for safety reasons.

We made the ride out to the maze and along the way realized that we better stop to get flashlights lest we lead 6 kids (two of which are 5 yr olds) into a dark cornfield.  Sadly this thought didn't occur to us while we were at home and could take the flashlights that we own and would cost us NOTHING.  Nope.  We were two complete and total jackasses and made it almost 1/2 way there before making this stunning realization...it was almost 5p, it gets dark around 5:15p...we will be traipsing through a darkened maze....nah, we don't need lights!

We pulled into a Dollar General and made a beeline (after getting mumbled directions) to the "hardwares section".  Section, to me, would denote that this was an area...in reality it was maybe half an aisle long.  There sat our gleaming torches for just $1 a piece.  We snagged 4 for the group then headed to the front to grab batteries. 

My friend may have rationalized that we needed these flashlights for "safety" reasons like tripping or falling, but me?  I saw things in a different light, per say.  Maybe no one else cared about being in the dark and spooky cornfield but I know for a fact that I had to fight the urge to buy 5 flashlights, just for myself, and a role of duct tape.  NO the duct tape was not for the childrens mouths although in retrospect that would have been an amazing idea for the 5yr olds...it would have been to secure 3 of the 5 flashlights to the following areas, one on each foot and one to my head like those coal miner hard hats.  Then of course the other two would have been for my hands.  Did I mention my huge slight phobia of corn fields and the demonic children, particularly the one named Malchiah from Children of the Corn?  Did I??  DID I???

But I put on my big girl panties and only bought my alotted two.

Deep breath.   Ahhhhhh.......

I may have taken my calming breath too soon because when we made it to the front of the shoe box sized store we found that although there were two able bodied individuals up front with two cash registers, there was only one woman working.  When I turned to look at my friend I noticed that although we were third in line we weren't last.  The line was stretching down the stationery section aisle and people were looking pissed!

At that very instant I felt that being in the car with 6 moody kids was better than being in here.  My friend and I just kept exchanging glances with one another and I kept looking outside to see if A) any of the kids had jumped ship from the SUV left idling in the parking lot or B) was it rocking back and forth to the point that we may need to worry that someone was being attacked by one of the other occupants of the vehicle. No one jumped out or was maimed in our absence although I cannot be sure as to how the clerks in the store fared once we had purchased our items and left the remaining long line of customers. 

A good 20 minutes later we were making our way back out to the parking lot.  We made a mental note that we would allow one flashlight per pairing.  One for the moms, one for the 5yr olds (which was sure to start an argument), one for the teenagers and finally one for the middle kids.    We made sure that the flashlights were all the same color for the kids to prevent blood shed.  Our flashlight was a different color and would have gone completely unnoticed as such if we had been just a tad bit quicker when installing the batteries.  As we tried to get the flashlights ready I revisted the idea of the duct tape when the 5 yr olds became obsessed with the idea of holding the flashlights and kept asking over and over and OVER to "just hold em, not use em...just hold em".

Another 10 minutes of driving and we were at the corn field.  We made our way down the winding  driveway and into a clearing with the cornfield set back a ways.  There was no one there and no lights.  What the hell??  It looked closed.  Immediately the kids started asking if they could get out.  My friend and I just stared blankly at one another.  Again...what the hell??  I picked up my Crackberry and quickly found the website for the corn maze.  Right on the first page of the website it listed the dates and the times.  Only one problem.  The thing opened at 6p and it was currently 5:07p.  We would either need to spend 53 grueling minutes (yeah...7 minutes less than an hour) in a vehicle with the kids -OR- attempt to come back another time before it was set to close for the season.

We weighed our options, with each ticking second which happened to feel like minutes but sadly were not.

The Pro's to staying....

1) We had already driven out here.
2) We had the flashlights.
3) The kids each had a friend with them.
4) This would really be the only time we could do it.

The Con's to staying...

1) Shit seriously making this list only ate up like 1.5 minutes...OMG, that means like another 51 1/2 more minutes of sitting in this vehicle with these kids???

We went with the pro's list and then after waiting in the car for another 20 minutes, let the kids out to tear up the place.  That bought us another 10 to 15 minutes and the final 15 minutes was spent telling them (mainly the 5yr olds) to stop running and slamming themselves into the ticketing building and the port-o-potty and each other and "for the love of God put down that stick before someone seriously gets hurt".

Mercifully 6p came and we bought our tickets.  We had already squashed the dreams of the tweens who had wanted to go through the maze unaided by saying "that we should all stay together it will go quicker".  Apparently the ticket taker didn't know this because one of her first questions after asking if this was our first time at the maze was to ask if we would like to go in separate groups to see who could make it through the fastest.  The tween girls bout came out of the their clothes thinking that this meant that they could go alone.  Thankfully we didn't have to be huge meanies because then she clarified that they would need to be accompanied by someone 16 yrs or older.  Luckily, we had two of those so after some quick deciding we chose to let the teens take the tweens and that left us sporting the little ones.

We all had to stand and listen to the rules of the corn maze before we could enter.  These are the ones that I can remember:

1) There is no screaming or trying to scare people while in the maze. (I liked this rule because I felt it would keep me safe from some jackleg trying to reenact Children of the Corn)

2) If you ever get lost or need help just call out "corn cop" and someone will come and assist you.

3) There is no use of fowl language used inside the corn maze, remember the corn have ears so they are always listening. (I'm not making this shit up...these were her EXACT words)

The teens with tweens in tow made their way into the maze first.  I had to keep myself from doing the happy dance because on the upside for me, 5yr olds tire quickly of holding things like flashlights thus allowing adults to carry them and therefore decreasing the chance of sickle carrying demon children from jumping out of the cornstalks to slay me.  Just a thought.

We made our way into the maze and I gotta be real honest within the first 30 seconds I thought to myself "what the fuck are you doing here this is downright creepy"...but then one of the little ones started talking about poop and I figured no scary movie I've ever seen has the mom dying while trying to dissuade a child from talking about bodily functions.  Figured I was safe so I relaxed and enjoyed the trek.  And oh what a trek it was.  We were so turned around that within 15 minutes of entering we were right back at the entrance.  The lady that took our tickets said that if you ever get to a point where you need help just call out "corn cop" and someone will come to help you.  I foolishly thought that these individuals would announce themselves.   Feeling completely overwhelmed and going in what we believed to be circles we called out for what we deemed to be our corn savior the almighty "corn cop".  That son of a bitch came out of no where through the corn and I am pretty sure I peed my pants a bit.

I told my friend that the next time we think about calling out for one of those fuckers I need to prepare my bladder.

We finally began to move and make our way to the different points on our map.  This years maze was  the phrase "We Stand Up For Freedom".  We began in the "M" of Freedom and began to get truly lost around what we believed to be on of the "E's" but were then corrected by the first "corn cop" who said we had made it to the "F".  By the time we made it to the half way point we'd been scared half to death by a shadowy "corn cop" who seemed to appear and reappear as if out of thin air.  I disaffectionately named this person Jedidiah because it sounded creepy just like him and we all agreed we didn't like him one bit.  We felt victorious that we had made it halfway through without any major incident of demonic sickle wielding children or accidents with the two boys we were coraling.  We purchased some drinks and momentarily contemplated leaving the maze but figured we made it half way, why not finish it.

About 10 minutes later we were cursing ourselves, albeit silently so as not to be thrown out of the maze.  The friend that my friends little boy had chosen to bring along as his companion for the outing began to describe in detail how he hadn't been feeling well earlier that day and was punctuating his story by farting every so often and burping in between that.  I don't know how I had gone from leader to caboose but this was the most unfortunate timing for the switch.  Another 20 minutes and we, well mostly me, had given up the silent cursing for actual audible commentary of our completely lost status.  We called out for a "corn cop" who told us we were close to be on the right track to finding our way out.

We bought what he was selling about how we were at a certain point on the map and this is how we should hold the map and blah, blah, blah another 15 minutes or so and should be out.  Then he went off to help a crying child that was part of another group and once again we were in the corn...lost...and frustrated.  We tried to figure out where we were on the map.  No dice.  The kids were getting tired.  Hell we were getting tired.  We called the teen and tween group and swore that we could hear their voices just a few rows over.  They were of no help to us.  The boys complained more of being tired and we continued to march them up this row and arrow that corner and "just down here" and "hey I think I see a light over there" and finally we had had it.  We began a somber "corn cop...oh, corn cop".  Then it began to sound desperate "corn cop...we need you...please, corn cop".  The boys even chimed in a time or two.

I then contemplated getting completely belligerent in an attempt at being escorted out of the maze, but decided that wouldn't be a good example for the boys.  But a few seconds later both my friend and I were feeling desperate and I told the boys that if the "flippin corn cop doesn't hurry up and get his butt out here  I am gonna make one or both of you cry so we could get some speedy help like that other crying child from earlier".  Amazing what the treat of child abuse can do for you...we had a corn cop on us like white on rice.

He asked, ever so politely, if we would like him to show us where we were on the map so we could finish alone.  We emphatically and in unison answered NO we just wanted to get out.  I have to admit the poor guy was super nice and even took us to some of the few last clues on our map and let the boys do them.  One was saying your ABC's while alternating your arms in an up and down position with every other letter.  For instance you started with your hands in the air for A then down for B and so on.  Wherever you landed determined whether you went left of right.  The boys started out in sync and then lost it around F which made me laugh and make a joke about "this is what we get for sending them to public school" to which our guide said he was homes schooled.  Way to bring on the creepy Children of the Corn feeling dude!

Another 10 minutes and we were free of the corn.  The boys were ecstatic, but I think we were happier.  We waited for a few minutes for the other kids but then we saw them coming from the car and realized they had finished WAY before us.  As we loaded up the kids we commented on how much fun this turned out to be and as we made our way back out onto the road and on our way home we looked back to catch some of the kids sleeping in the back seat clutching the corn they had gotten as a souvenir. 

Not every night that you choose to have 6 kids can turn out so well, but we had to admit it was pretty fun.  The best part was that after traipsing them here, there and everywhere through a cornfield for 2 hours they would sleep like logs and truly that is the most precious thing of all.

I slept pretty good myself and I didn't have one nightmare of a sickle wielding demon child although I couldn't seem to get the smell of the one little one's farts from my nostril.  Kids...they are just plain cornmaizing!


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