Melanie Glinsmann

Writing my way through the cubicle jungle one day at a time

Field of Dreams and Cheese Balls: Why Being Silly Sometimes Makes the Best Memories

  1. What do those electric orange puffed cheese balls and Little Debbie cosmic brownies have in common?

For most people, the answer is absolutely nothing. For me and my best friends from high school, the answer is twenty-something years of laughs.

 

Like most 14-year-old girls, my friends and I enjoyed the occasional slumber party. Staying up late, watching movies, and eating junk food was a right of passage of sorts. But those slumber parties took on a new meaning my freshman year of high school. At the beginning of the second semester that year, I went to see JFK, starring Kevin Costner, about the assassination of President Kennedy. While discussing the movie with friends, I learned some of them hadn’t seen some of Costner’s other big movies. From there, the planning evolved quickly. What started as a simple slumber party to binge watch Kevin Costner movies before binge watching was a common term, turned into an annual birthday party.

I had several Costner movies on those lovely old VHS tapes, so I volunteered my house for the party. (Of course, this was all decided before I bothered to mention the idea to my parents.) In the process of planning for our slumber party, I learned that Kevin’s birthday was January 18, which happened to be a Saturday that year. What better time to have a Kevin Costner movie marathon than to celebrate his birthday?

We planned the party for Friday night, the 17th, so we could stay up watching movies as the clock rolled over to the 18th. My mom bought snacks for us, including the aforementioned cheeseballs and brownies. We ordered pizza for supper, and after my parents went to bed, we set up sleeping bags all over the living room.

With the VCR loaded up with the first movie, my friends and I settled in for an all-night marathon of Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Dances With Wolves, Bull Durham, and Field of Dreams. The later it got, the funnier the movies became. We paused and rewound the videos to watch parts we missed. We quoted lines that made us laugh. And then, things got really weird.

Somewhere in the middle of one of the movies (I don’t remember which one though), a mini food fight broke out. It began innocently enough when one friend tried to throw one of those little orange cheese balls into another person’s mouth. Then an orange snowstorm ensued, with those cheeseballs flying across the living room in all directions. I still don’t know how the brownies made it into the mix, but somehow, pieces of brownies wound up all over the coffee table. (Side note: When we moved after my senior year, the movers found a couple petrified cheeseballs inside the piano! No idea we were that good of shots firing those things across the room.)

Naturally, we had to repeat the Kevin Costner birthday bash the next three years. Even as seniors, when slumber parties were no longer all that popular for “young adults,” we still planned our party for the weekend around his birthday. We still had cheese balls and brownies.

 

To this day, over twenty years later, we still laugh about those parties. Looking back, the best part of those nights wasn’t about the movies or even the Great Cheeseball War of 1992. It was about memories. Those memories, no matter how silly or childish, still bring a smile. Although we now live in different states and haven’t seen each other in person in years, as January 18 approaches every year, we take to Facebook to post pictures of cheeseballs on each other’s pages. We still quote our favorite lines, some serious, but mostly the corny ones (“I have a brother!” from Robin Hood is a particular favorite.)

 

Sometimes, we even still buy cheese balls.

One of my partners in the Great Cheese Ball War sent me this text today. (1-17-18)

 

 

The next time you and your friends are doing something silly, maybe even a bit childish, don’t worry about how silly or childish you might feel. Or, if you have kids who are acting a bit silly with their friends, don’t worry about having to clean up the living room.

 

Those could turn out to be memories of a lifetime for you or your children.

 

Embrace the silliness, and have some cheese balls.

(And happy birthday, Kevin.)

 

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