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Issue 05 – Saint Anselm 2021


Holiday World

On a theme park.


Tucked away in the recesses of the American mind, down the street and to the left of flyover country in a cul-de-sac once occupied by Amish of German Catholic descent, past an Archabbey named Meinrad, a farm named Huber, and towns named Ferdinand and Johnsburg, one travels on winding paths or four-lane freeways which empty into driveways like some vascular system working its way through America’s heart. It is a land that, in its natural condition, is so densely wooded that it is inimical to human life. The patches of forest left behind the cleared planted field and homestead are monuments to a people who through blood and sweat managed to live on this land. (Making, as it were, a garden in the wilderness.) Through such places, if one finds the way—no easy feat given the infrequency of cellular service—one will come to the enchanted land of “Holiday World.”

Those who believe implicitly or otherwise that secular materialism is the only philosophical vision of reality that holds water have not beheld the wonders of a land where there is, to paraphrase the Prophet, an eternal fountain whose waters never end, flowing with Pepsi and Sunscreen. Modern certainties are laid, like infants, abed in this land of promise where advertisements proclaim, “This much fun could take all summer!” Visions of a social media-suffused culture that clamors for individuals to “perfect” their bodies before exposing their bare flesh give way to the reality of excess stomach fat hanging over two-piece bikini bottoms in the Splashin’ Safari Water Park. People drift effortlessly from the sunscreen station to Pepsi Oasis, running fingers over fleshy arms and rolled backs, filling cups with Sierra Mist (or, in a reflective mood, Orange Gatorade or peach iced tea). Barefoot and exposed in this unknown part of southern Indiana, men, women, and children pace through heat, through storm, through wind from water slide to water slide seeking momentary joys and escapes from the pressure. The pressure of heat and humidity, but also the pressure of being routinely excoriated by the national press for being too fat, too racist, and too religious.

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About the author

Justin Redemer