It's to be expected -- many of our memories fade or disappear with the passage of time. I hate that, but I understand that there's a function to it. If we were constantly being bombarded by old brain content, it would be hard to make new brain content, right? Also, our psyches sometimes suppress content that is disturbing or unproductive to our sense of well-being. It is possibly the latter mechanism at work for me in the case of an event I had completely forgotten about until reminded by my friend Lahna, my former next-door neighbor, a couple of days ago.

In the small south-central Wisconsin town where I spent my first nine years, where I first learned to walk, ride a bike, swim in a lake, where my dad was Mayor for four of those nine years, where I got freshly-made foot-long pretzels at the tiny bakery and bought 16 Magazine at the drugstore with a single shiny quarter, there is an annual event, much-beloved and now in its 85th year. There is no doubt I must have attended this as a child, and possibly did so several times.

Ladies and Gentlemen, today is the Delafield Coon Feed, held at the American Legion Post Hall.

Yes, that's raccoon meat they are serving up, along with ham, turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, sauerkraut, coleslaw, bread, and surely beer. 

And I had forgotten this. I am shocked and need to have a stern talk with my brain, for as disturbing as this kinda really is, it is also utterly awesome. This is SO WISCONSIN, in its strangeness and, yes, sweetness. Something I do remember about growing up in Delafield, even though I have specifically blocked out the COON FEED, is that I loved these kinds of gatherings. There was the potluck at the Christ the King Lutheran Church, the Pancake Dinner served in the cafeteria of Cushing Elementary, and the summer fair which I also now cannot remember the damn name of, but do remember that it was a celebration of OLD DAYS and history and the very old Hawks Inn would be opened to the public and I got to ride once in a Model T rumble seat in the parade. There were these events that brought the community together, young and old, and it felt like you really belonged to something.

I left Wisconsin for good in 1984, headed West, and never lived in a small town again. It was certainly the right decision for me, but I think a part of my character will always miss these quirky gatherings with so many familiar friendly faces, something that city life can never really provide.

Lahna also kindly informed me of this Sky Full Of Bacon mini-documentary about the Coon Feed, which you may now share in viewing, too. I swear to you my accent is not that heavy. Anymore.

If I were in Delafield today, I would absolutely turn up for the Coon Feed with a face-splitting grin...although I think I'd opt for the ham.

UPDATE: 3:32PM -- I just spoke with my mother, also 85, and she confirms that our family went to the Coon Feed every year we lived there, and that I ATE THE RACCOON, and that one year there was also BEAR on the menu, shot with special permission from the WI. Dept. of Natural Resources because the bear was bothering a bee farmer. OMG.