And I Can Cook, Too

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

July 28, 2006

The Secrets in the Celery

Our week in Cape May came to a close, and my husband and I were back to Delaware to visit with sister Amy. Amy is the mother of the aforementioned 2 year-old, not to mention a person in her own right. While in Cape May, I’d noticed that 2 year-old Caspian was strangely attached to a stuffed toy that looked like a stalk of celery, but with legs and a face. I came to learn that “Mr. Celery” is the mascot of Wilmington’s baseball team, the Blue Rocks. For reasons known only to Caspian and that special little fairy that makes small children do adorable things, Caspian had developed a Mr. Celery obsession. Mr. Celery was all he thought about. And all he talked about. The child carried the toy everywhere, periodically threw his arms in the air and shouted “Celery!”, wiled the hours away babbling “celerycelerycelerycelerycelerycelerycelerycelerywoohoo!” Naturally, I was curious to discover what the celery fuss was about. Upon the discovery that there was a Blue Rocks game the following day, I insisted that we go and get to the bottom of the Mr. Celery Mystery.

We arrived at the stadium, bought our tickets, went inside and found our seats. Noting that two of the reasons people go to baseball games in the first place are for the hot dogs and beer, Amy and I took off for the snack bar. Along the way, we ran into Amy’s friend John, who as it happens works at the Blue Rock Stadium. Ten minutes later we were comfortably situated in a skybox and enjoying complementary refreshments. I felt we’d discovered the first clue to the celery appeal. As we watched the game (the Blue Rocks were getting their butts kicked but I digress), I delved a little deeper into the celery lore. Hard as it is to believe, turns out choosing a stalk of celery to be a professional athletic teams’ mascot started out as a joke! Years earlier, the stadium had hosted an “Eat Five A Day” campaign, and the organizers had left their vegetable costumes behind. During what I can only imagine to be a rather uneventful Blue Rocks game, a couple of ball boys dared another one to put on the celery costume, wait until the Blue Rocks scored, and go out and run around on the field. The daree complied, and a star was born. You see, it’s not just my nephew. Wilmingtonians of all ages, shapes, and sizes love Mr. Celery. As I was mulling over the celery phenomenon, there was a shout from the skybox balcony. The Blue Rocks had scored! Mr. Celery was on his way! We crowded to the front of the box, our eyes peeled on Celery Lane. Mr. Celery did not dissapoint. He came running onto the field, his arms in the air, singing “Woo-Hoo!” along with that song that goes “Woo-Hoo!”. He high-fived a couple of folks in the front row, and then he was gone. At that moment I understood. I wanted him back. I no longer cared if the Blue Rocks won, lost, or how they played the game, I wanted to jump up and down with a crowd of thousands shouting “Woo-Hoo!” to a stalk of celery.

I did not get what I wanted. The Blue Rocks were soundly defeated and Mr. Celery was gone. Dejected, we left the stadium. But not before I stopped off in the gift shop to buy myself a “Property of Mr. Celery” tee shirt.

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