Last weekend Ashley and I had a wedding to go to in Springfield, MO. It marked the first time we officially “road-tripped” as a married couple and the first road trip we had taken in well over a year.
The wedding was nice, Springfield itself was a bit junky and the drive to and from wasn’t bad…Ashley did all the driving. (I had to get a book read for an upcoming magazine article I’m writing…more on that later)
On our way back, we saw miles and miles of signs for “Osceola Cheese”. Each sign told of “Free samples, 11 Clean Bathrooms and 1.5 Acres of Parking” Now I’m not sure what part of these signs made Ashley want to stop. But sensing her curios excitement we took a break and stopped in Osceola Missouri at the coveted Osceola Cheese Company.
What followed would be an experience I never expected. Independence surprised me with my Wrestling Shoe Shopping Extravaganza, but Osceloa easily eclipsed it.
As we pulled in I was immediately taken back as every paved parking spot was taken. Brushing that little tidbit aside, we entered. Over 100 people packed this medium size shop. 30-40 people lined up, shoulder to shoulder, in front of cooler after cooler of cheese. Everyone had a toothpick in hand and was feverishly opening small Tupperware containers of different cheeses and taste testing them. Everything from Smokey Jalapeno Cheddar to the classic American. These people were crazy!
Kids were crying, whole families were jockeying for bricks of cheddar, plain string cheese and dozens of other cheeses. People bobbing in and out of the line, grabbing handfuls of the stuff. You’d think it was the “last plain outta Vietnam!” or there was some national shortage of cheese. And it continued like this the entire time we were there. Absolute, organized chaos.
For over 15-20 minutes, little girls yelling “I want this kind!” Husbands yelling to wives, “Should we get the smoked or the regular?” Senior citizens hobbling in and out. Packs of children racing and weaving. Grown men struggling to hold onto pounds of cheese as they tried to get to the register.
After making our way to just a few cheese samples, the onslaught was too much for Ashley and I. We made our way through the trinkets and gift shop attached to the main building. We finally purchased something I can only describe as peanut-butter filled pretzel pillows. These little gems came highly recommended from the mother of four in front of us at the register. She dropped $17.50 on cheese alone.
Before we got back in our car, Ashley took a picture of me in-front of a giant Indian Totem Pole. I’ll post that soon. What it had to do with Osceola Cheese, I’m not sure.
But as we departed, I was glad we stopped. The cheese that we tried WAS free and the pretzel pillows were delish. Come to think of it, I didn’t check out any of the 11 clean bathrooms.