Morning Coffee Blog: Jim’s Bench

Back from a lovely four days in New York City. Still not quite ready to shift into work mode, so taking a day to recalibrate the brain cells.

Just before the trip, Leia on the Discord server (shoutout Leia, also join the Discord) asked if I was bringing any puppets to NYC. There is a rudimentary plan to bring The Oracle and/or Frankie to The Museum of the Moving Image Jim Henson Exhibit at some point, likely next year, in a “full karmic circle” trip since that’s where the seed for O:P was really planted, however this trip wasn’t that. This was just a little getaway for my partner and me since we hadn’t had one since the beginning of the pandemic.

However, it did get me thinking.

There is a section in the South end of Central Park called The Mall, and within that a stretch called The Literary Walk, so named for a number of statues of literary and culturally impactful figures. The benches that line the Walk all have plaques on them, dedicated to people or events. The plaques are part of an ongoing campaign by the Central Park Conservatory called “adopt a bench” and can be purchased for a not inconsiderable sum of $10,000. One such plaque (purchased, apparently, by Jimmy Dean) is dedicated to Jim Henson.

While bundling The Oracle or Frankie off wasn’t on the agenda, what if, I thought, I brought my Kermit, and we made a little pilgrimage? It was an attractive thought, and after determining that yes, there would be enough room in the suitcase, we set off to do exactly that.

There is a decent enough description of the location of the bench on The Fandom Muppet Wiki, but it did take a moment of hunting to find. However, on a lovely sunny Spring day, myself, my partner and my very own hand-made Kermit, did a pilgrimage that many puppet folk before us have done. And I took care not to reveal the plan to the Discord until the moment we were there, which was delightful.

It was very special, and worth the moment of confusion (and then delight) at airport security when the inspecting agent asked to open the suitcase. But now I’m back, NYC working it’s always-reliable magic on me, and gearing up to descend once more into The Puppet Mines. Do join us for this Wednesday’s build stream (Wednesdays 11am ET on Twitch and YouTube) as I try to remember how to make puppets.

But now, coffee.

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