We had a rare weekend where we spent the whole time on the island (well, with the exception of breakfast in town on Sunday). And it was SO. MUCH. FUN!
We started with the Beach Bum Parade, an annual tradition on our little island where we get wet and wild before the official “start” of tourist season (Memorial Day weekend) and the subsequent onslaught of traffic, visitors, people who don’t know the rules of biking, etc. The first year we lived here, Jack was just a toddler and we, along with another couple and their toddler, thought, “What fun! A water parade!” As we walked toward our usual location from which to watch the parade (Tybee has A LOT of parades), some soaking wet kids who looked to be 5 or 6 started running towards us and I thought to myself, “Surely those kids won’t shoot water at an adult, much less one they don’t know.” I was, of course, wrong on both counts. The parade floats shoot water at the parade watchers and vice versa, and no one is safe. And thus began my love/hate relationship with the Beach Bum Parade.
Jack and friends prepare for battle.
Before and after the parade, we gathered at a friend’s house down the street. Prior to departing, we fed the kids (ok, grown-ups, too) pizza, pigs in a blanket, and other snacks while they attacked one another, soaking each and every kid to the core, despite our admonishments not to use all of the water supplies and dry towels before we even got to the parade. They were shivering and whiny as we left to join the real fun. This year, our location was perfect–there was a police car stationed to block off the street, so the adults could hang back in a self-imposed dry zone while still keeping an eye on our screaming, water-spraying offspring (first rule of [water] fight club: no shooting water at police!). As an added bonus, when the kids came running up to us, shivering, we told them to hunker down next to the police car’s wheel and warm up with the exhaust heat being put out by it–hooray for awesome parenting!
One mom (who shall remain nameless but whose bosom will appear in a picture further down in this post) stuck her beer in between her boobs so her hands were free to wield her water gun. We decided it was actually a brilliant idea, nicknamed it the Boobzie (get it? boobs + coozie!) and have a plan for a Kickstarter campaign. Feel free to comment on this post if you agree it’s pure genius and want to donate funds.
All in all, the adults that wanted to remain dry were able to do so, the kids had a blast (heh heh), and it was the best Beach Bum yet, IMHO. If you listen to the audio on the video clip, you’ll hear the kids’ rally cry/mantra of “Cheaters!” against their Goliath-like opponents.
Jack and I spent the day at the beach with Boobzie and family while Tyler kayaked over to Little Tybee and Jack’s Cut (not named after our Jack, although the last time we kayaked over as a family, our Jack cut his foot on an oyster shell and proclaimed its new name “Jack’s Cut Foot”). The boys ran around catching minnows, digging up olives (the shell kind, not the martini kind), and collecting various specimens for their “touch tank” including a whelk and two of the tiniest starfish I have even seen. Seriously, they were the size of a kid’s fingernail–I don’t even know how they could’ve found them! The tide was super low, exposing a huge swath of marsh mud that the boys loved slopping in (in the interest of full disclosure, so did the other two parents. I tried to go along, but my disgust was pretty evident). They were literally up to their knees in it, making “mud angels” in it, and relishing getting covered in it from head to toe, then squishing their way back to the ocean to clean off and do it all over again. I wish I had some pictures, but I never think to take my phone to the beach.
I thought I spied Tyler kayaking back–it looked like him, his hat, his red kayak, and even though he had left with a friend, it didn’t seem beyond the realm of possibility that he would’ve decided to come back solo. So there I am, jumping up and down and waving, trying to flag him down and show him where we’re camped out, and Jack is screaming “Dad!” at the top of his lungs, but he didn’t seem to see us. He finally pulled up to the shoreline about 15 feet away and I started to approach him, and then realized this guy had no tattoos on his biceps. Um…so, not Tyler. Later on, we did see Tyler and his kayaking mate, and they immediately responded to our crazy waving. After they passed us to go put-in at Alley #3, not-Tyler came back and we all laughed that maybe he was hoping I’d come talk to him since I had expressed such fervent interest.
Tyler finally rejoined us around 4 and we decided to pack in all in and head to Huc-a-Poo’s for an early dinner. Boobzie picked up our hostess from the previous night and her son. Once arranged at our table for 10, I noticed the differences in our approaches to toting the necessities: hostess simply had $40 tucked into her tank top; since I was driving, I had my wallet with ID, etc.; and Boobzie had an entire purse, complete with the biggest black (fake) Sharpie I had ever seen! Naturally, I asked Jack if he would like a mustache and, being my son, he agreed.
What do you mean I’m not 21? Just check out my sweet facial hair!
Next came Tyler, then hostess, then Boozie’s husband, who said he wanted a cat face like the guy from Kiss.
I think I did a pretty good job on the last likeness, no?
Two funny things to note at this point: the cat face got us all trying to substitute “meow” for “now” like in Super Troopers, and there was an uber hetero dude wearing a super obnoxious shirt that said “Show Me Your Kitties,” so our cat friend went up to him and told him he liked his shirt. The guy started to be all “thanks, man!” and then took one look at the cat face and literally took a step back. Only one of Boobzie and kitty’s sons wanted in on the fun, but he went all in, including a tribute to Uncle Leo’s eyebrows.
Since Boobzie was driving, she didn’t want to give the cops a reason to suspect possible DUI by crazily magic-markering-up her face, so she opted for this classier, decolletage decor, for which our waiter immediately complied by donating a beer.
The shenanigans continue.
At this point, other people (read: complete strangers) starting noticing our silliness and also wanted in on the fun. There was a table of women behind us who all asked for some facial flair:
There was even an older gentleman at the bar with a full, grey beard who raised his beer to us every time someone else joined the ‘stache club. Since he already had full on facial hair, I asked him if would like me to draw a Frankenstein-esque scar on his cheek so as not to be left out. He delightedly agreed and proceeded to tell me that he once played Frankenstein in a play years ago!
You might ask what our children were doing the whole time we were coloring on people’s faces? Well, they were enjoying playing corn hole, which means basically throwing bean bags at one another in their case. Until Stayin’ Alive by the BeeGees comes on, then all bets were off while they get their groove on.
Perhaps the frosting on the cake to our markers on the face was the traffic jam leaving the island. Since Boozie and her crew couldn’t get off Tybee to head home, we all decided to go back to hostess’ fab pad and continue the fun. Except that her affianced wasn’t expecting company, much less his love with silly drawings all over her face, and he was in no mood for our loud crowd. Nonplussed, we carried on without him.
Our final weekend day just happened to be our 13th anniversary. We celebrated by heading in town to Clary’s for breakfast. They were publicized in “the book,” as locals refer to John Berendt’s Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, but we just like their menu and consistently good service. There is dog-friendly, outdoor seating, so there’s always a chance to pet someone else’s cool pup to boot. After breakfast, we headed back to Tybee to meet hostess and her fiance for an afternoon on their boat. The plan was to spend the day on the beach at Little Tybee, but as Steinbeck said, “the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” (Can you believe I remember that quote from high school English? Shout out to St. Viator and Brother Ruhl!). It wasn’t yet low tide as we made our way out and the creeks and estuaries that make up the route were too low to navigate, so we went out to sea thinking we could hug the coast and go the long way. That didn’t work either. So we worked our way back up past Cockspur Island and around to the Bull River as, by that time, the tide had turned.
Our circuitous route in red: we covered Wassau Sound, Tybee Island, and lots of back- water. It’s breathtakingly beautiful when you are in the creeks and estuaries, surrounded by marsh grass with no buildings in site, and the water spreads before you like a living highway.
This was taken before I lost my hat for good; Tyler’s flew off but we were able to circle back and retrieve it.
Here is a quick video of the boys trying to eat chips on the speeding boat:
When we finally returned to the marina, tired and sunburned, one of the local shrimp boats was docked and sorting through their catch. Most of this gets supplied directly to places like Lazaretto Creek Seafood, where you can buy it by the pound to go, and Coco’s, where they’ll cook it for you.
We never actually made it to Little Tybee, but we spent the day on a boat in the water, which is just about the best way I can think of to pass the time, take in the beauty of our surroundings, and remember what brought us all to this island paradise, and living the dream, in the first place. After all, it’s the journey, not the destination, that matters, right?