I’m a big fan of Twinkies. I actually consider them comfort food, even though I’m not entirely certain that they qualify as actual food. Odds are they are more along the lines of chemicals bonded together by other chemicals filled with more chemicals, none of which are actually compounds that we were meant to put into our bodies…But they taste so good. Truth is, I don’t get to have Twinkies very often, which is a good thing. If I had them on a regular basis I’d be even fatter than I am right now, and let’s face it, I’m a fat guy.
But, as usual, this blog really isn’t about Twinkies, nor is it about raccoons. It’s actually about walnuts and coffee. However, there really is a Twinkie – Raccoon connection, believe it or not.
I don’t actually watch that much TV (Got subject whiplash yet? Good… Just put on this neck brace and sit back…)
Like I said, I don’t watch much TV, but I do turn on the idiot box from time to time in order to catch the news, and a couple of programs that we regularly watch. Of course, whenever positioned in front of the glowing toob you will be bombarded by radiation, but that is beside the point. You will also be bombarded by commercials. Some of them funny, some of them not, some of them that just plain resonate with certain individuals. Case in point, the Twinkie commercial with the raccoon that sees a snack cake falling out of the sky toward him – in the end it’s actually a snowboard, and that leads us into the line “where’s the cream filling?”
But back to the walnuts…
There I was at Meeman-Shelby State Park in Tennessee. I was a guest speaker at FoS (Festival of Souls). I had showered (so that I wouldn’t stink) and made myself relatively pretty (so that I wouldn’t scare children and small animals) and then made my way up to the dining hall for a cup of coffee. Breakfast proper was still an hour or so off yet, so I sat out on the back “patio area” with the other early risers. We drank our coffee, grunted at one another, told stories that none of us can remember now (it was early), and just generally did the morning thing. All around us, Autumn was happening – and when I say happening, I mean it was in full swing. Now, one would think I mean leaves turning, leaves falling, chill in the air, all that sort of stuff, and actually, I do. However, there was more. You see, that area is populated by a large number of Oak and Walnut trees, therefore we were surrounded by the constant – and I do mean constant – clatter, rattle, thud, and thump of falling acorns and walnuts. So much so, that it went on all day and all night. Around the clock. And, it made walking the paths to the cabins an exercise in dodging nature’s attempt at carpet bombing the invaders (the invaders being us).
As we sat swilling caffeinated brew, a distant thunk, clatter, tink, clomp, ping, thud sort of noise met our ears. This was followed by a skitter that grew louder with each passing millisecond. Now, something I should probably mention is that the dining hall has a vaulted ceiling, which means that the roof is EXTREMELY high. Moreover, this expanse of asphalt shingles is sloped at a pitch resembling an Alpine Ski Jump ramp. No, I am not exaggerating (this time).
At any rate, I was downing some coffee as the skittery noise echoed louder and louder. Suddenly, it ended with a sort of “tick, thunk, swoosh” all mashed together. The bizarre noise was followed by a voice next to me that calmly stated, “Incoming…”
I looked up in time to see a walnut. At first it was sort of walnut sized, maybe even a little smaller, however the problem with it seemed to be that it was growing in size at an alarming rate. Initially I had one of those Sheriff Carter (Eureka) moments, wondering what manner of Global Dynamics experiment had gone awry and was causing this walnut to grow – or perhaps the rest of us to shrink. Fortunately, my first cup of coffee for the morning elected to kick in at right about that very moment. I ducked as much as a fat guy straddling the bench of a picnic table can duck in the split second I had left. The walnut, that at this point had blotted out the sun, parted my hair.
Yes… It grazed right across my scalp with plastic comb-like precision. In less time than it took for me to blink, it hit the bench immediately to my rear with a loud crack-thump! But it wasn’t finished yet. Ricocheting at warp speed, the new trajectory launched nature’s smart bomb back into the air. A sonic boom exploded behind us as it broke the sound barrier, and that was followed by the clang, clatter, and crash of a #10 can - that had heretofore been used as an ashtray – being picked off the back picnic table.
And, much like the raccoon from the commercial, I didn’t even get a Twinkie for breakfast.
More to come…