There were many highlights to our night at the wintry Kennywood, like when the young-20s guy at the petting zoo fist-pumped me for wearing a Chiodos hoodie (of course this made Henry frown), and Katelyn asking me, “Which one is your wedding ring?” after admiring my rococo collection of finger ornaments.
“Why golly, that’s a good question. You should ask HENRY that as soon as we get off the ride,” I exclaimed in my most seraphic drawl.
You may have heard the faintest echo of Jonny Craig’s melodious pipes at that precise moment. That was just the sound of another addition to Team Erin, my friends.
Best mascot ever. I’d totally take him to the prom.
The News Crews
We get it! Christmas lights in an amusement park is a novel idea! How much footage of shivering park guests do you really need, WTAE? I was doing an excelsior job at ducking from the camera, until Chris, Katelyn, Chooch and I were on the Paratrooper and the cameraman was aiming right for us. There was pretty much nowhere to hide at that point. I hoped that maybe that footage would be cut, but Chris told me we made the news after all. I didn’t get any heckling texts from my asshole friends, so maybe they were all too busy watching a Teen Mom marathon.
Holy shit, it was cold! And you know what makes winter feel even colder? Riding spinny rides.
Kari mentioned that last year they had a s’mores making station and I pretty much fixated on that all night. Kari promised we could look for it after the kids got their pictures taken with Santa, who was set up on the platform of the Racer. (Chooch totally had a panic attack because he was afraid he wouldn’t remember what to tell him — oh, to have such trivial things to stress about. You know, like: WHAT SHOULD I WEAR TO THE DANCE GAVIN DANCE SHOW OMG?!)
That Dutch Wonderland place had s’mores stations when we were there in 2010, but Grumpy Henry wouldn’t let us indulge. This time, he didn’t want to say no in front of our friends, I guess (even though he initially tried to convince me that there was no such s’mores station and that it was just a regular snack bar where he could buy warm soft pretzels for HIMSELF — until I frantically pointed to the sign that said S’MORES MOTHERFUCKERS.
So Chooch and I each got the fixins for some s’mores action. The goddamn newscrew was over at the hobo fire, filming no one making s’mores (seriously, no one had started making any s’mores yet). I hung back, determined to boycott mainstream news. (Besides, if it’s not on MTV or twitter, it’s not real news anyway.)
Finally, they retreated, and thank god because I don’t think Western Pennsylvania was ready to see me completely ass-fuck the art of s’mores-making. Henry was helping Chooch roast his marshmallow, which would be normal in most familial structure, but one must realize that I am not actually in any position to responsibly twirl anything flammable above a roaring fire without the supervision of several experienced adults and probably a firefighter would be a smart addition, too.
“Blow it out!” Henry screamed after my marshmallow burst into flames for the first of eight times.
“I can’t! I’m afraid!” I screamed back, whipping the kindled marshmallow around in the air.
“You can tell you’ve never been camping,” Henry muttered, grabbing the stick off of me and snuffing out the flame. There was a young couple standing near us, watching this all play out and openly laughing.
I was not happy about that.
Henry returned the marshmallow to me said, “Don’t stick it all the way into the fire,” right when I stuck it all the way into the fire.
And then it burst into flames again.
I gave it a hard whack off the side of the fire pit thing, and there went my marshmallow, already engulfed in flames, into s’mores hell.
The couple laughed harder and then said, “Aw!” in mock-sympathy.
“Just go get another one,” Henry sighed.
Chooch volunteered to get one for me. When he told the ladies behind the counter that he needed a new marshmallow, he shook his head with disappointment and added, “It’s for my mom.”
Oh whatever! Maybe if Henry had made mine for me too, I’d be enjoying a delicious camp fire staple that I don’t even really particularly like that much, but that’s besides the point. There was brand new principle surrounding this activity now.
My second marshmallow did not treat me much better. And that couple was still standing there, being backseat roasters. “Hurry, blow it out!” the man hollered after I lost focus and let the fire lick my marshmallow again. And when I got the flames to subside, his lady cheered. This went on and on, with them pausing every few seconds to make out, until my patience ran out and I retreated to a picnic table with one half-kindled marshmallow. The other side was completely cold and firm, so assembling the s’mores only resulted in crumbling graham crackers and 100% unmelted chocolate.
It tasted like crap but I forced myself to eat it with a scowl. Chris had to turn away. I’m not sure if it was because he didn’t want me to him laughing, or if just couldn’t bear to see a boy scout tradition debased.
Fuck a s’mores.
Freezing our faces off on the Paratrooper.
Henry, probably still criticizing my s’mores skills.
Afterward, we all went to Eat n Park, where I washed away my s’mores shame with a grilled cheese and we played 20 Questions and basically just repeatedly guessed everyone’s butts.