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Beaches, and Three-Quarter Fried Chickens

MACON,GA.- Pretty soon, I’m taking my family over to Tybee Island. We started going there back in 1986, and have continued to do so each summer since. We’ve had some great times there over the years, and, even though Will and Alison are almost grown, I still think they enjoy it just as much as they did as kids. I kinda get a kick out of that, if the truth be known.

Each time we go there, my mind slips back to my first ever trip to the beach with my parents. I was ten years old when Ed Jr. decided that he would take us all to Jekyll Island. He announced it to us at dinner one evening, and Brother and I got so excited that we both had to pee at exactly the same time! Our minds raced with what all we were going to do there, so, needless to say, the days passed slowly by until we finally got to the Thursday that began our adventure.

Our trip actually began the night before when we all went to sleep - Ed Jr. demanded that we all get in bed by nine pm, telling us that we needed to be rested up for the drive that lay in front of us. Because we’d bunked down so early, Brother and I woke up around five am the next morning and immediately ran into Ed Jr.s‘ bedroom in order to wake him up. Ed Jr. cussed like a sailor when we did, but Brother and I figured that the earlier we got up, the earlier we’d begin traveling. Ed Jr. did finally get up, cussed some more, and then we all started getting ready to leave.

We ate breakfast and completed our bathroom duties by 7 am, so Ed Jr. figured that we might as well begin our trip. We all piled into our 1964 white Plymouth Valiant, whose one distinguishing feature was this huge metal air conditioning unit that was literally bolted onto the floor of the car. When he started up the car and switched it on, our breath became clouds because it got so cold. Ed Jr. remarked that we were getting maybe nine or ten miles a gallon at best with it turned on, but we didn‘t care. We were going to the coast cool, calm, and collected, even if it took us six hundred gallons of gas to do so.

We’d barely gotten out of the driveway when my dad announced that he needed to fill up the car. We pulled over at the next available gas station, and, while waiting, Ed Jr. told Brother and I to go inside and grab ourselves a cold drink. We didn‘t have to be told twice, so we both ran in and grabbed two orange sodas that were twice the size of a regular soft drink. When he finished pumping the gas, we all piled back in and took off towards the Golden Isles of Georgia.

We’d made about ten miles when I discovered I had to pee, really, really bad. Brother was crossing his legs and tapping his feet as well. My mother, noticing that we were both vibrating the car, demanded that Ed Jr. stop at the next place with a bathroom. Ed Jr. got really mad, told us all that we all had cat kidneys, but he did pull over at the next place. Thank God.

This pattern continued over the next seven or so hours that it took us to get over to Jekyll because of those big oranges, and the fact that Ed Jr. was driving a tad conservatively, averaging maybe fifty miles an hour the whole way down. And what was it like when we finally did get there? Let me quickly summarize our experiences:

  • Ed Jr. ordered three-quarter fried chicken dinners for each of us our first night in the motel restaurant. I kid you not, three-quarter fried chicken dinners. I’ve wondered to this day what they did with the fourth quarter of those chickens, as there were no “one-quarter chicken dinners“ listed on the menu.

  • He got mad at me when I informed a waitress that I’d never had an olive before.

  • He couldn’t sleep good in a strange bed, and had an even harder time getting accustomed to a strange toilet. As he told me, “A man needs comfort during his morning constitutional, and I just couldn’t relax on a toilet that so many strange butts have sat on.”

  • He swam in the ocean one evening until something with a black dorsal fin brushed up against him. At that point, he became the second man ever in history to walk on water.

As my mind now wanders back to the present, I have to smile. I don’t know for sure how many olives, three quarter fried chickens, or close-to-the-shore sharks we’ll find on Tybee this year, but I’ll sure smile when we finally do arrive, both for the new memories we’ll be creating, and for those that continue to pass further into time...

Submitted by:

Ed Williams

Ed’s latest book, “Rough As A Cob,“ can be ordered by calling River City Publishing toll-free at: 877-408-7078. He’s also a popular after dinner speaker, and his column runs in a number of Southeastern publications. You can contact him via email at: ed3@ed-williams.com, or through his web site address at: www.ed-williams.com.





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