He may be only 15 years old, but I guarantee Peter Parson's career path is cooler than yours. The sophomore at Central Catholic has been farming berries for most of his life on his family's farm, he recently joined the Sauvie Island Fire Department, and on fall weekends, he serves as a "Corn Cop" at the giant corn maze at the Pumpkin Patch.
Pete was raised on Sauvie Island, the youngest of the four legendarily handsome Parson brothers. The eldest, David, started working at the maze when he was 15, and John, Paul, and Peter followed suit. This year's maze, designed by Pumpkin Patch owner Craig Easterly, is in the shape of a giant old-fashioned bicycle that covers six acres of cornfield—a detail that will be lost on most maze-goers unless they get a chance to fly over it. Pete spent August constructing throughways and dead-ends, and from Labor Day through Halloween, he'll help herd the crowds through the cornstalks. While some intrepid folks master the maze in 20 minutes, others take hours. People have been known to get thoroughly lost in the complicated labyrinth, but that's nothing to worry about as long as you've got warm clothes, good conversation, and Corn Cop Peter Parson to the rescue.
How long have you been building corn mazes?
Maybe five years? My brother Paul and I started very young, nine or 10. They called us "the children of the corn."
How is a corn maze built?
My boss Craig designs the maze and marks everything off with blue dye and flags. We cut down all the corn in early August. By late August we're raking out the path so it's smooth and putting up netting so people can't charge through the corn and ruin it.
What do you use to hack down the corn?
How many hours a day are you out there, swashbuckling corn?
I worked about 8 am to 11 am in August. Now on the weekends, I work at the Pumpkin Patch from 10 am 'til 4 pm. I run a balloon slide, work at the corn maze, and closer to Halloween I'm a haunter.
What does haunting involve?
Basically I just put on the scariest mask I can find and jump out of the corner at you.
Do you ever get lost in there?
No. I have it memorized.