Don’t laugh. After quitting my job, I had planned to drive south this June for a southern road trip along the East Coast. The idea? To stop at the best mini-golf sites between Maryland and Florida for an in-family tournament while driving down the coast. Myrtle Beach and Orlando topped our list of vacation spots with excellent mini-golf courses, but a few off-the-beaten-trail locations in Georgia and North Carolina were also included.
Rodney has always bragged (see: lied) about his prized turquoise jacket for winning the National Mini-Golf Association (NMGA) title at some nebulous past date. He finds a way to shoehorn this imaginary title and jacket into any conversation whenever we’re golfing:
“This hole reminds me of when I won the NMGA championship and their fabled turquoise jacket. Only a man truly skilled in the art of the putt could conquer the course and himself for the sake of victory.”
To which, we’d usually respond:
“Dude, hit your stupid ball through the stupid castle.”
He’d get the final word though:
“Heh. When you’re a course record holder like I am, you see the world in a different way. You need to take your time, ya see? Look at all the angles and hone your skills, and you could have a record and a jacket too, Murph.”
A little explanation about that last statement. You see, the Murpheys are a pretty competitive family. Growing up with six brothers and a mother who cheats at all manner of card and board games (she’s quite proud of this personality flaw), bragging rights prove a valuable commodity in our clan.
None of this architecture is ‘necessary,’ per se, serving no other purpose than to tantalize the eye and imagination, and just so, I love every detail. Who wouldn’t want a windmill spinning atop their house, or a clam-powered faucet?
Details are important. Any fan of H.G. Wells’ science-fiction will inform you that ignoring the little things in life can prove fatal . . . you know, because all the aliens died in Wells’ novel War of the Worlds . . . because they never considered Earth’s micro-organisms . . . and because of this ‘tiny’ oversight of these microbes the space invaders ended up a ‘little’ dead . . . which is to say ‘very.’
Which brings me to my second point: subtlety. Subtlety is also a very important quality, especially in writing. However, in theme parks, the subtle touch is best left outside the gates, along with moderation and unapproved coolers. In a well-designed theme park, the act of walking or waiting should prove as entertaining as the rides themselves, engaging the imagination as well as the senses. At the risk of sounding like a dork, I enjoy the lure of another world, of the fantasy. To quote John Hammond: “I’m not talking about rides. Everyone has rides.” Continue reading →
Like a femme fatale, the curves here proved deadly.
The 3rd Annual Ice Cream Invitational. Every summer in Disney, Rodney and Ryan compete with Shannon and ‘yours truly’ in a sacred triathlon that tests the very limits of our body, our heart, and — dare I say — our sanity, a contest fit for gladiators (American or otherwise). The contest consisted of three rounds. The first grueling challenge sets brother against brother on the miniature golf course, and then the fiery hell of the tennis court . . .
Wait, why are you rolling your eyes? Seriously, whatever you THINK you know about miniature golf, forget it. Disney’s Fantasia Fairways is a theme park asylum covered in undulating green felt, reminding you why men have loved and cursed the bloody game for centuries. No cartoon castles litter the course. The pathway to the hole rises and falls like waves on a storm-tossed sea so there’s no ‘trick’ or ‘perfect putt’ to secure your hole in one . . . just luck and the pity of God. This was to be our battlefield — our Ragnarok, some may say days from now — and waiting for us at the end, a rich waffle cone, filled with soft-serve and seasoned with the blood and tears of our enemies. Continue reading →