The Bearded Iris

A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

Cornhole

Well since nobody has come forward with that one-way ticket to ANYWHERE, I had no choice but to go to Cub Scout Family Camp with my brood yesterday.  I love that my 9 year old son is a Cub Scout…I do.  He has a blast and it is always very wholesome, good clean fun, which I suspect is good for growing children and is in somewhat short supply around my germ-invested cesspool of a home.  Soap carving, anyone?

But I have two problems with the whole Cub Scout camp-out thing.

1.) They have a very strict rule that no alcoholic beverages are allowed at camp.

2.) The other moms and dads are very nice.  I mean VERY nice.  Like the nicest people I have ever met.

In other words…I do not fit in there at all.  And being in the balmy, great outdoors around very nice, responsible, not-funny parents and 30 loud, screaming, little boys running amok and carrying pocket knives really makes me want to soothe myself with a cocktail or two. I’m bad. I know.

But I muscled through the pain and managed to really enjoy myself, even though I was disturbingly sober. And there were a few high-points that I’d like to share with you, because if I don’t, I’m going to explode.

First, let’s talk about Cornhole.  Oh, where do I start?

OK. The facts: Cornhole is a real bean-bag toss game that originated in Ohio. The board looks like this:

Seriously. I’m not making this up.

Apparently, people who play this game are very passionate about it. The dimensions of the board are strictly regulated, as are the bean-bags, the distance between the player and the board, the scoring, etc. However, I had never heard of this “game” until Cub Scout Family Camp when one of the very very nice dads brought his Cornhole supplies to share with the group. So naturally, when I walked by and he asked me “if I wanted to play Cornhole” with him and his sons…I almost crapped my pants.

“Excuse me?” I stuttered. (Wow, maybe this camping thing won’t be so bad afterall!)

So he clarified. Pointed to the board. Tossed me a bag of dried corn. And we played. And you know what? It was really, really fun! But I was DYING, ya’ll.  Because I couldn’t control myself and made a snide crack about how I had never heard the term “Cornhole” outside of the prison movies that I so enjoy watching and HE TOTALLY DIDN’T GET IT.  He cocked his head to the side and made that face like “Huh?” And I realized that not everyone shares my wickedly dirty mind and that I should probably not attempt to joke around with Cub Scout Dads. They are very nice. And very straight. And to some of them, Cornhole is no laughing matter.

But thank God for my husband. As soon as I finished my Cornholing session with Mr. Ohio, I ran as fast as my stumps could carry me to tell my man about the game and we giggled until our faces hurt.  We don’t do that very often…my husband is actually one of those Nice Cub Scout Dads…but luckily for me, I must have rubbed off on him a bit (wink wink) because he does appreciate a good butt-hole joke from time to time. Not often enough, I say, but we’re working on it. I’ll keep rubbing.

So one more really funny thing to share, if you don’t mind.

The Scoutmaster organized an “Iron Chef” competition between the boys. The kids were divided up into three teams, given access to a pantry of processed foods, and taught various outdoor camp cooking methods. One of which is the Dutch Oven. Honestly, I should force my son to stay in Scouts just for the material. Hmmm, more ass-related humor. I wonder what Freud would say about that. Clearly I am trapped in the Anal Stage of Development (and I’m not blaming my parents…I’m not). But anyhoooo, let’s just say that listening to these nice nice dads very seriously teach the group the art of the Dutch Oven was almost too much for me to bear. Oh how I longed to have someone pull one of my fingers! Pick a finger, any finger.

After the cooking demonstration, the three teams were each assigned a secret ingredient to incorporate into their dishes. My team’s secret ingredient was popcorn.  Now, I was just lurking on the edge of the group, having to follow my 19-month old son, Bucket Head, around and make sure he didn’t wander off and get eaten by a bear, so I wasn’t really helping the kids choose the menu.  But watching these other nice nice moms and dads strategize and play to win was fascinating. The main requirement to the contest was that the kids had to do all the cooking….the parents could only supervise and control the cooking fuel.  But when I learned that they were stumped about how to use the popcorn in their dishes, I had to butt-in.  They were deciding to just do a simple trail mix of popcorn and nuts when I sidled up to one of the more assertive moms and asked her if we had access to marshmallows and butter. I then planted the seed in her head that if we made popcorn balls out of the popcorn, it would be a real crowd pleaser and something that the kids would have fun making.  And that nice mom hopped on my idea faster than an Ohioan on a stiff ear of corn.

Now, I’m not used to being listened to by anyone other than my team of well-compensated, highly skilled psychiatrists, so suddenly being thrust into the mix of an Iron Chef competition with a team of chefs reporting to me was quite the power trip.  Suddenly, Bucket Head was fending for himself and I was melting butter and marshmallows in a Dutch Oven, fixin’ to lead my team to a sure victory. You know that phrase “too many cooks in the kitchen”? Well, imagine the chaos when you’re talking about an outdoor camp style kitchen with propane fueled burners and a very enthusiastic team of very competitive nice nice parents and their 6-9 year old boys. It was mayhem. But the popcorn balls were my idea and I was not going to let my team down, dammit! That is a dangerous position for a suddenly sober dirty minded not nice nice mom like me. The pressure!

Well we oiled up the hands of these 7 little kids, and I gotta tell you, I don’t think their hands were all that clean, ewww. Boys this age are notorious nose and ass pickers. But rules are rules and we had an Iron Chef style ticking clock to beat, so we greased ’em up and let them dig into the pot and grab handfulls of gooey popcorn and mold them into balls. It was messy. It was sticky. It was germy. But it was really cool. And having all those nice nice moms and dads suddenly listening to me, following my lead, and singing my praises was very empowering. Thank GOD it worked.  Just look at my glistening balls. Aren’t they gorgeous?

Fast forward to the judging. My husband, who has a talent for garnishing, helped the boys plate up the other dishes and deliver them to the judges with those germy popcorn balls decorating each plate like something you’d see in a real restaurant…and I’m talkin’ about a classy joint like The Cracker Barrel.

You should have heard the “ooohs” and “ahhhhs” from the judges and other campers. The popcorn balls were a HUGE hit. In fact, the lead judge exclaimed that he hadn’t eaten an old-fashioned popcorn ball since he was a child and the nostalgia of it really touched his heart.  Yep, those germy sweet and salty balls o’ mine won our team first place! They even recognized me by name in the award ceremony. It may be one of my proudest moments. (Note to self: never underestimate the power of balls, and also, I really must get out more.)

© 2008 The Bearded Iris

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4 comments on “Cornhole

  1. Not Drowning Mother
    October 27, 2008

    Will you just look at that picture of the corn on the Corn Hole board… Isn’t it just screaming ‘meat and two veg” with the leaves either side? Of course the corn hole itself is going to be nearby… “just around the corner”.

    As for ‘pick a finger, any finger’… you make me laugh!

  2. MM
    October 27, 2008

    Yeah, there’s one of these touring fairs in rural England except it’s called “Sod. Oh My!”

  3. brigidday
    October 27, 2008

    I love cornhole. We have a set! Though not with flagrant corn painted on it. When I needed to look up the specs for making the bags, my friend stressed “don’t search cornhole, you have to type cornhole the game” I forgot once. Now that would make those Scout Dads blush…

  4. Iris
    October 28, 2008

    Oh you three are killing me!!! Rolling. On. The. Floor. Laughing. “Meat and two veg” with the “hole just around the corner?” Perfect. Such a way with words NDM. “Sod. Oh My!” … oh you dirty dirty man, MM! (Love it!) And “I love cornhole!”…Brigid…oh honey…does your husband know that? So funny about how to search for it on the Internet! Mmmmm, blushing Scout Dads. Now that’s HOT!

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