What I Did on My Summer Vacation
Author: Paul deVere
(Note: Author Paul deVere was forwarded this e-mail from one of the “friends” below who thought it might inspire an idea or two.)
Date: August 1, 2007
Subject: Family vacation news!*
Hey, everybody! We’re back. Marjorie’s got a little sun poisoning, but it’s clearing up real well. And Bud Junior’s pretty proud of the welts on his leg where, as he puts it, he was “attacked by a man-eating jelly fish and lived to tell about it.” Mary Lou’s sunburn is just starting to peel, and I now know what poison ivy looks like (three leaves), and I’m healing just fine. Those doctors on Hilton Head know their stuff! If you asked me where you should take your next vacation, I would immediately tell you to go to Hilton Head Island! Granted, there is a little strangeness to it, but what’s a vacation all about?
Just because we were from “up north,” as all of our waiters and waitresses always commented (Down on Hilton Head, they call them all “servers.” You’ve got to learn the lingo.) We sure didn’t feel out of place down there in what they call the South Carolina Lowcountry. In the parking lot outside our condo (They call them “villas.”), it looked like the entire states of Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Jersey were visiting. In fact the only time I really noticed a South Carolina license plate (They call them “tags” down there.) was when some idiot forced me off something called a traffic circle and I almost had to drive to Savannah, Georgia before I could turn around! More about those circles later.
And it sure is “low” in the Lowcountry. I was able to set the new digital altimeter I got with our new SUV at “0.” Can you believe? I could have sworn it dropped into the minus figures in a couple places on that island, but Marjorie said that was just my imagination.
Now the food, well, that was something else. Our condo, I mean “villa,” had this great little kitchen, and Bud Junior and Mary Lou just about worked that microwave to death with hot dogs and miniature pizzas. One night, we left the kids at the “villa” watching some DVDs and eating junk food—yep, they’ve got a Blockbuster and Wal-Mart and everything down there—and went to this fancy restaurant. Not knowing the local cuisine, I ask our “server” what she’d recommend. Are you ready? She said, “Shrimp and Grits.” I wish I had a camera to get that horrified look on Marjorie’s face. She ordered a seafood platter of some sort, but I said that I was game. May not sound that appetizing, but I had it twice more before we left. But watch out for the iced tea. They make it so sweet you swear your teeth will fall out after one sip. Don’t even talk to me about “boiled peanuts.”
If there was a downside, it was those traffic circles I mentioned. For some reason, instead of a good old traffic light, they have put these circles at two of the busiest intersections on Hilton Head. First time we hit one, Bud Junior had to use the GPS in the SUV to get us off. True story.
While I’m complaining, I may write their little paper down there—it had a good Sunday comic section, I’ll say that—about LIGHTS! They don’t have any! We went to that fancy restaurant in daylight, but it was totally dark when we got out! (That’s when the idiot ran me off the circle and I started heading for Savannah.) And when we got to our “villa,” I walked in on this half-dressed couple, it was embarrassing for all of us, especially since Marjorie started yelling, “Your Dad ate grits!” at the kids as soon as we walked in. Turns out we were two “villas” down. Couldn’t see the blasted number.
I suppose I should clear a few things up about Hilton Head for those of you who’ve heard of it. The alligators in the ponds (They call them “lagoons.”) down there are the real thing. Bud Junior was shooting a video of one sunning itself and a little white poodle comes into the picture. And the next thing he knew, the little white poodle and the alligator disappeared!
And much to Marjorie’s surprise, those palm trees (They call them “palmettos.”) you see on the post cards are the real thing. When we walked out of that restaurant, Marjorie walked up to one of them, touching it and said, “Don’t know how they do it, Bud. They look so real.” Well, that set a couple, probably locals since the guy didn’t have any socks on (Nobody around there wears socks.), doubling over with laughter. Another little embarrassing moment.
Yes, I did get to play golf. The guy who built the course was probably a sadist. There was water everywhere! And where there wasn’t water, there was sand. And when they say “rough,” they mean it. The pro who treated my poison ivy rash with meat tenderizer (I’m not kidding!) Right before the ambulance came, claimed they don’t plant the stuff on purpose. I kept my thoughts to myself.
Well, the sad day came when we had to leave. I figure Mary Lou will get over her crush on that lifeguard at about the same time her sunburn heals. It will probably take that long for the rather strong odor to dissipate in the SUV caused by the bait shrimp Bud Junior stored in the our cooler. (We started noticing it after we were on the road for five hours.) The big palmetto frond Marjorie insisted we strap on to the top of the SUV so she could show you folks they, indeed, are the real thing, made it without busting up too much.
And me? Well, the poison ivy rash spread to some places I’d rather not discuss, but it’s healing nicely due to that meat tenderizer the doctor said I should keep applying. Just before we left, we stopped at Sam’s (Yes, they have a Sam’s.) to get me a ten pound bottle of the stuff. That rash can really spread if you’re not careful.
??*All our love, from us “beach bums,”
Bud, Marjorie, Mary Lou and Bud “Shrimp Bait” Junior*??
P.S. Bud Junior’s alligator/poodle video on YouTube already has over 6,300 views!