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A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S WORM DATE

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Kids have tried for years to come up with new and unique ways of dating. It is, however, safe to assume that the brother-and-sister team of Jeff and Mary Roylance have come up with such a one-of-a-kind date that no one else will dare, or want, to copy it.

It was a worm date.Don't adjust your glasses. You read it correctly. A Worm Date.

Worms were the slimy theme for the evening and from the word go, worms remained the operative parasitical subject.

The duo's double date began with a worm scavenger hunt. The event included begging neighbors for old fishhooks, caterpillars and any loose slender, soft-bodied, segmented creatures that were slithering about.

From the scavenger hunt the foursome went on to worm sculpturing. Worms of all shapes, colors and sizes emerged from otherwise formless clay. "They're really crazy looking," said Jeff's formerly unsuspecting date, Brittany Smith, 16.

By 9 p.m. the foursome - including Mary's date, 17-year-old Brian Moody - were tightly packed inside a newspaper recycling bin preparing for a worm dinner. Jeff and Mary had previously decorated the bin with worm-motif butcher paper, worm-like crepe paper hanging from the lid, and even a picture reading "Dirt, Sweet Dirt."

"It doesn't surprise me that Jeff would do this," Brian said. The four Murray youths then ate worm food consisting of spaghetti, Knox blocks (jiggling in worm-shape) and a worm (not warm) pasta salad. For dessert, the Roylance duo served their guests a delicious(?) concoction of gummy worms floating in pudding with a dirt-like Oreo crust on top. Yum.

The evening ended the way it began, as the teenagers played a worm version of Pictionary, where they had to design whatever worm word they were given while their partner guessed what it was.

How did Jeff and Mary come up with this definitely different dating diversion?

"You can give Jeff the credit," said Mary, 16, deferring to (or blaming) her older brother. "I think he pretty much came up with the worm idea."

Apparently 18-year-old Jeff is known for his crazy, innovative dates. He has orchestrated candlelight dinners on the State Street overpass near Murray High School as well as dinners in the back of pickup trucks. He is currently thinking of picnicking in a cemetery.

"Every date he goes on is cheap and creative," said Mary, opening a different can of worms. "Don't tell people that," Jeff replied.

What did Brian and Brittany think of such silliness?

"It was different," Brian said.

"Definitely," agreed Brittany. "I've never been on a worm date before. And I've never been in a garbage can."

So how do you top a worm date?

"You can't," said Brittany.

"With a cherry," countered Mary.