We hit the road last weekend, heading for the beach (or is it The Shore down here?) as this was the last weekend we would have before school, and possibly a new job for me, started up. If I get this gig I will be heading to Connecticut for several weeks of working/training before the new restaurant opens here in town; and The Girl starts High School this week, so this weekend would truly be the last call, y’all.
We looked at the available options that didn’t involve an airport: Hilton Head, which is a monochromatic little beach community, much like the domed city in The Truman Show, where all the buildings are built in similar architectural style, and all painted white. I had seen The Prisoner on PBS years ago, and the pictures of Hilton Head gave me the heebie-jeebies; so our other options were the Redneck Riviera down on the Florida Panhandle, or Savannah and the beach on Tybee Island. Too much reading of online hotel reviews put us in “analysis paralysis” and we couldn’t decide where the hell to go. We (I) settled on Savannah as it is the prototypical “Southern” town, with its historic buildings, Forrest Gump’s bench and all that crap. I booked a room at a hotel in the Historic District so we could do some walkabouts in all their little squares and parks, yet still be close enough to head to Savannah Beach on The Island and fry.
Last time we went to Savannah we had fallen into one of the “Tourist Trap” restaurants where the service and food were so bad that a manager finally had to wait on us. They were so weeded that someone had, in a panic, set the Iced Tea re-fill pitcher on the floor in the middle of the dining room. I kid you not. So, needless to say, once was more than enough for us with regards to that particular genre of restaurant. We were certain that a town with hundreds of two hundred-year-old buildings must surely have more to offer in the way of authentic Southern cuisine, so we turned to the wife’s Droid and, after a little more research, decided to seek out The Two Bubba’s BBQ.
The Two Bubbas were (are?) located in a neighborhood well north of the touristy section of town so, on a wing, a prayer and the good graces of the Droid’s Navigator application, we were off. I guess we should have made use of one of the Droid’s lower functions as an actual telephone and called the Two Bubbas first, because as the irritating voice on the Nav program informed us our “des-tin-AY-shun is on the left” we were pulling into the parking lot of a most decidedly closed Two Bubbas BBQ. And not just closed for the night kind of closed, but closed in a Charlton Heston “Omega Man” kind of way. The deck in front was covered with a month’s worth of pine needles, and there wasn’t so much a single Bubba to be found. All that was missing was the tumbleweeds. Only two stray cats were there to greet us, neither of which was wearing overalls, so they were obviously not the Bubbas. As our original quest had been for some great fried chicken, we turned once again to the all knowing Droid, using the Urban Spoon “slot machine” to find a place called Sweet Potatoes, which turned out to be blessedly close by.
Sweet Potatoes is in an unassuming little strip mall near a Food Lion (yes, that’s actually the name of a grocery store down here, one obviously higher up the food chain than the Piggly Wiggly). A few jokes about your “Mane Place” for groceries, and them being “the Pride” of grocery stores were flung about; and we realized that the quality of the humor in relation to the uproarious laughter it incited was indicative of just how low our blood sugars really were. We needed to eat, and Sweet Potatoes was quite the find. A cute, brightly painted dining room, great fried chicken, pot roast, and a huge Catfish Po-Boy for Alex, all of which were priced ridiculously low. The Fried Chicken entrée was $8.50, including a one-dollar upcharge for all dark meat. I’m sorry, I must have missed the Time Portal at the entrance that took us back to 1975. Here is a link to their website if you don’t believe me. Portions were huge, the food great and we had the sweetest Meadow Soprano look-alike for a waitress. It seemed unfair that a 25% tip on our check came out to only eight bucks, so we left her a ten.
Before we had embarked on this culinary pilgrimage we had been watching TV in our room, and a commercial had come on for the “Shake Weight”. For those of you who’ve seen this thing, I don’t need to go any further. For those of you who haven’t seen it, suffice it to say that the “Shake Weight Workout” is the Gay Man’s equivalent of the pole-dancing regimen in the “Flirty Girls” exercise tapes. Demonstrated by several smiling, waxed-chest guys in short-shorts, The Shake Weight Workout targets a specific muscle group with a certain repetitive motion that most guys would need to work on only if they wanted to be truly ambidextrous in their practice and administration of self-abuse. You Tube has several hilarious parodies of The Shake Weight, but they cant’ compare to the unintentional humor of the original.
After our Back To The Future dinner at Sweet Potatoes, and a nice day of baking on the sand at Tybee Island, we returned home to find a large branch from an oak in our front yard had chosen to let go, almost snapping the power line to our house. Our neighbors had called Georgia Power, and they had come out to deal with the power line threat. With the chainsaw they’d obviously had with them, they could have cut the branches into manageable pieces in about three minutes. But, being true to the work ethic shared by most utility companies and Public Servants, they had done only the bare minimum amount of work possible: taking the branches down, cutting them just enough to move them out of the way, and leaving a six-foot high pile of limbs and brush in our neighbor’s front yard.
Fortunately we have some very cool, if slightly confused, neighbors (they fly the Rainbow Flag, but park their pick-up truck on the lawn. Gay Rednecks?), and no property damage had been done by the fallen branches, so everything was coolio for the present. We thanked them for calling the power company out to do what they did, which was the apparently the bare minimum, and called it a night.
Trying my best to be The Good Neighbor, the next day I attempted to cut and hack at the jungle of oak branches using the somewhat pathetic tool choices available to me: an electric saws-all with a four inch blade, an electric hedge trimmer, and a pair of garden snips were all I had to cut through limbs, some as thick as 12 inches. After a couple of hour’s effort that yielded an embarrassingly small amount of result, I gave in and hit the local Big Box for an electric chainsaw. My new Man-Tool went through the old oak like buttah, and I spent the better part of that day cutting, hacking and bagging up the debris.
The saws-all had been mildly effective; but due to the springy nature of the thinner branches and the reciprocating motion of the saw, I had to operate the thing one-handed. I used the saw until the blade was literally turning blue from the friction and my arm ached to the point that amputation was becoming a viable alternative. I now know why they call it a “Reciprocating Saw”, as for every unit of work it does, it reciprocates with a commensurate amount of aches and pains for the forearms and wrists of the users.
If only I had made note of that 800 number for The Shake Weight I would’ve at least been able to change hands.