Saturday, August 8, 2015

The Valley of the Jolly

This morning I drove down a street shuffling along amongst the mild traffic.  I was headin' home from an errand.  No big rush.  Red light.  Green light.  Red light.  Green light.  The slow, rhythmic pace of the cars lulled me into a traffic trance which opened a tiny corner of the back of my mind where rarely anything exciting ever happens.  A tiny crevice within a wrinkle of a wrinkle.

Had you been a passenger sitting next to me checking your facebook news feed or texting friends that didn't happen to be sitting 18" away from you, you would have suddenly heard me sing out a random tune.

"From the Valley of the Jolly!"

And, knowing you as well as I do, without even glancing up from your newsfeed you would have responded with a hearty


Hearing no hearty response, my thoughts rounded the corner into Melancholia.  We are raising a generation of children that do not know to sing out

These marshmallow jewels constituted "good" candy because
they were a heck of a lot better than the lukewarm
boiled eggs  that we found in the back yard hiding in
potted plants and the elbows of trees.

Seriously, do they know about him?  Do they?  Do they believe in him like I did?  In my childhood world where a man in a red suit traveled in a sleigh propelled by flying reindeer and a giant Easter bunny hopped silently into our house to tuck individually wrapped "Easter Egg Hunt" eggs between couch cushions and behind chair legs, there was nothing weird about a solid green man wearing a caveman suit made of leaves.  Nothing weird at all.  Beyond a shadow of a doubt, we believed that there was a verdant Valley of the Jolly - Ho! Ho! Ho! - Green Giant.  It was a proven fact.

I have spent the last hour in search of the illusive Giant.  My search would rival any Sasquatch hunt that ever was or ever will be.  And.  What I've found so far is fascinating.  To me.

I won't spoil the joy of the hunt for you.  I'll just share a couple of juicy green nuggets of my discovery.

First, there was the Scary Green Giant commercial that would ensure parents that kids would run and hide under their beds leaving said parents alone on the couch to enjoy a cigarette and the Mickey Rooney Show.

I specifically remember the following commercial because it answered the question, "How do they slice the green beans diagonally?"

"Tender thick-meat beauties."

Before I send you out on your own personal quest to the Valley of the Jolly, I wanted to share with you a coveted item that was owned by my childhood BFF, Kristi.  She sold it a couple of years ago in an estate sale.  Her dad "brought it home from the warehouse" one day.  He worked for a food wholesale company.  Just like that.  "Here's your 4-foot Jolly Green Giant Rag Doll that no one else in the neighborhood will EVER have because their mothers will absolutely not fill out the little coupon and send $3.50 (plus the price of a 4-cent stamp) of their hard-earned money for a big green doll."  If he actually said those words, he was right.  My mom would have looked up from her sponge mop and said, "You've got a birthday coming up in March.  Is that what you want for your birthday?"  I fantasized that Mr. Hook would come driving slowly down Neal Street handing out Jolly Green Giant Rag Dolls From the Warehouse to one and all.  That never happened.

I've saved the best for last.  A song.  About the Jolly Green Giant' life.  It explains "why thuh cat's so mean."  Asparagus!

Now that I've planted the seed of curiosity in a tiny crevice within a wrinkle of a wrinkle of your brain, I recommend that you begin your quest here:  

Enjoy the journey.  I'm heading south in search of the Frito Bandito:  The Man.  The Myth. The Legend.