The Observer listing is specific—”Possibly Washtenaw County’s most baffling corn maze, this vegetable labyrinth features over ten miles of paths that form intricate space-themed designs.” Sounds like fun, right?
My kids and I park in a field, meet up with two other families, and head out. A wooden staircase attached to a giant platform sits at the edge of the cornfield. “What’s that?” I ask my smarty-pants friend Dan. He looks up briefly, continues covering himself with bug spray, and says, “The last person through the maze is sacrificed to the corn gods.”
The kids are excited. Dan’s daughter Shea—wearing her purple skirt and flowered sandals—runs ahead of the boys, shouting orders. Once we’re inside, my ten-year-old and his friend Ben break off from the rest of us, armed only with a cell phone. Now our group consists of four adults, three first-graders, and a preteen, Josh, who looks perturbed. “Hey, Josh,” I attempt. His eyes narrow. “Hey.”
The little kids pretend to be scarecrows, carry giant corn stalks like flags, and announce that the Skittles on the ground were intentionally left as landmarks. They run ahead while the grown-ups chat, and we foolishly let them navigate.
Every so often we encounter other parties: a bunch of kids who ask, “Have you seen a bunch of kids?”; some older teens; a family with a newborn infant. Somewhere nearby, a group of girls are screaming for someone named Mitchell. We’re actually having great fun until we run into a series of dead ends and can’t find our way out.
As the light fades, Dan runs ahead a few times, coming back to report whether or not it’s clear. The younger kids are getting tired and complaining. Josh produces some M&Ms, which he shares with me. He’s less crabby now and starts taking the lead.
I’m annoyed but don’t panic until the cell phone rings. “They made it out,” Mary reports of my son and hers. “Tell them not to go anywhere,” I say. Great—I’m lost in a cornfield, and my poor kid will see me sacrificed to the corn gods.
By now it’s completely dark, and we’ve all had enough. The mosquitoes are eating us alive. “We should have stayed with Ben,” Mary says. “He just came from hockey practice. No bug would get within fifty feet of him without passing out.” My littlest guy’s crying that he’s thirsty, Shea’s mother is carrying her, and I’m wondering why on earth anyone would pay to do this. Fortunately, Josh finds a map on the ground and uses it to get us out, a true hero who’s accomplished what none of us adults could.
Right before we exit the maze, Dan mutters, “This is where it ends up like Lord of the Flies,” and starts singing, “A three-hour tour . . .”
The Talladay Farms Corn Maze continues every Friday and Saturday through November 2.