As mentioned in my last post, I was definitely a TV kid. Especially on Saturday mornings, between cartoons there was this one commercial that got stuck in my mind from repeated viewing: “In the valley of the giant, ho, ho, ho…” If you’re “of a certain age,” you’ll recognize this as the jingle of the Jolly Green Giant, chief mascot of Minnesota Canning Company (MCC), a vegetable cannery in Le Sueur, Minnesota known for, among other items, their frozen peas. As the story goes, in the 20’s MCC started using a new variety of pea, the Prince of Wales, which was big, oblong, wrinkled and rather sweet and tender. In order to sell this oddly-sized and shaped pea, the company leaned into its peculiarity and named it the “Green Giant.” The original mascot, however, wasn’t always the smiling green fellow in the leafy toga we see today. Rather, in his original form, he was a scowling caveman wearing a bearskin! Can you imagine buying vegetables from that guy? Anyway, the brand took off and MCC Later introduced the Green Giant’s much smaller friend, the Little Green Sprout, essentially a smaller version of the Giant who enthusiastically taught kids the importance of produce, healthy eating, and farming. And oh yeah, eating Jolly Green Giant peas and vegetables.
I am aware of none of this history as I pull into Blue Earth, Minnesota. All I know is that there’s a 55-foot statue in this town of my favorite pea company, and I have to see it. For some reason I can’t explain, I love roadside attractions. They just intrigue me. Whether it’s a green giant, a UFO research center, or a dinosaur graveyard, I’m fascinated by the type of people who thought, “Hey, this is a business I must bring into the world!” I will say that the Jolly Green Giant statue is VERY impressive! Standing there on his over-sized soapbox, with his arms on his hips, he looks into the distance with a confident gaze, suggesting the world is moving in a positive direction. He seems to be suggesting “If we just eat more peas, everything will be all right!”
Now, if only Little Sprout can get a statue, we will truly have world peas.
(What attracts your curiosity? For me, it’s roadside attractions. Whatever your own thing is, try this thought experiment. Ask yourself what types of places or activities excite your curiosity and enthusiasm? What is it that draws your attention? Has it always been that way, or did your interest start at a certain age? Was there a mentor involved? In many ways, you are your interests. They can be a cool clue for not only who you were in the past, but who you will be and what you may be doing in the future.)