Yesterday was a wonderful extra weekend day. Matt and I spent the day outside at Zoo Atlanta and then finished up with an early dinner at Antico. If you live near Atlanta do yourself a favor and check it out. It is absolutely the best pizza I’ve ever eaten in my life! http://www.desanopizza.it/
Before anyone thinks that I didn’t take the time to appreciate the meaning of the day, hold your horses. I am beyond grateful for the men and women who have given their lives for this country. I just think it’s a shame the direction the whole idea patriotism has gone. I struggle with disassociating it with the craziness of the ‘Murica crew that seem to love to cloak their zealot ideas in the red, white, and blue. It may seem a bit overly optimistic or unrealistically ideal, but my favorite amongst all Memorial Day associated posts was this:
Our greatest shame as a race is that anyone ever has to die for freedom. For those we remember today, their sacrifice was not conditional, nor should freedom be. The most fitting tribute would be an end to all strife, oppression, and injustice. Please let their deaths not be in vain.
And I think the poster took it down, because I couldn’t find it this morning. Looking through rose colored glasses or not, I appreciate the sentiment behind this statement.
With that out of the way, today I’d like to share a bit of what was happening in my life last Memorial Day. This story involves (as do many others) one of my very favorite people in life, Bee, my bestie. He’s a complete goober and that’s why I love him. He’s neurotic and quirky. He’s hilarious and caring. He’s like a unicorn with a glittery mane. By this I mean he’s somewhat like a mythical creature and also that at times I’ve seen him with a glittery mane. I’ve actually also seen him dressed as a unicorn. And he’s tied to some of my very favorite memories.
So last year Bee took a trip home with me to Branford. Now I don’t want to spoil a future post or twelve that will be dedicated to Branford, so let’s just describe it as a very typical, super-small, southern town. The current population is 720 people. I typed it into Google images and what came out was a collage of river/spring photos, mug shots, people in cowboy hats, and stuff related to the school (which was a K-12 when I grew up). So overall, a fairly accurate representation if you sprinkle in roughly one church for every 20 citizens.
Nice place to live is somewhat relative. But growing up there was nice.
Bee is obsessed with Branford. I think he just loves going there because he honestly can’t believe places like it exist. Plus he adores my parents. I’m almost certain that at some point in my life Matt and I will go home for a holiday and Bee will already be there making cookies with my Mom. It’s insane.
So we decide that Memorial Day will make a great trip home sort of weekend. Bee has a family wedding in St. Augustine which is a doable drive and we plan to tube the Ichetucknee River. What followed was a series of unfortunate events that made for a ridiculously hilarious weekend. This is kind of par for the course when Bee and I get together.
Day 1- Bee gets into a wreck 30 miles from my house on the way to the wedding.
Some barefoot teenage girl hits him in Lake City*. Everything is fine. No one is hurt. But I’m sure Bee was quite a site on the side of the road reading this poor girl the riot act. First of all, his car** is brand new. Secondly, it’s hot out and he’s wearing linen pants for which the humidity is doing nothing.
*Lake City is like Branford’s slightly fancier cousin. It has a Walmart y’all.
**Bee’s car is named Priestly. As in Miranda Priestly. As in The Devil Wears Prada.
Day 2- The Ichetucknee ruins Bee’s life.
This is the Ichetucknee.
And here it is again. Insanely beautiful.
We get to the tube center and rent a raft. Bee drops me off at the spring head and then drives to end of the float trip site (because there is no parking at launch), catches a shuttle, and meets me back at the spring head. Now in this time (it was about thirty minutes) I hear probably my favorite quote of the trip. Some old man wants to take his water bottle down with him (this is a no-no) and his wife tells him, “Honey I saw a sign that says prosecutors will be violated, so you had better not take that with ya.”
Bee and I, both clad in matching tanks and bandanas, start jogging to the launch site. We’ve decided to pretend we are training for The Amazing Race. We are actually telling people this. And they’re believing us.
Prior to leaving the house. Ready for training.
I secure Bee’s car keys in my pocket and SAFELY tuck them into the raft. About fifteen minutes into the water, Bee decides that a better place for the keys would be tied to his bandana. I tell him that, “I don’t think that’s a good idea.” He ignores my advice. As per usual.
Bee decides to get out of the raft and into the water.
Bee’s keys decide this would be a good time for a swim as well.
Bee’s keys now rest in the Ichetucknee somewhere around the first stretch of the three hour trip in a large area of swaying, underwater plant life.
Now the trip isn’t nearly as fun as it was a second before and we start swimming like we are in the Olympic trials.
Day 2.5: Bee gets friendly with a Water Moccasin.
I’ve read that these snakes rarely get in trees, but I know what I “think” I saw. Bee was entangled in a tree at the water’s edge and attempting to push us back into the current. His hand was about an inch from the snake when I screamed. We swam a lot quicker after that.
A snake! A snake!
It starts raining. We finally make it to the end. The closest phone is at the Ranger Station a mile away. When we get there and call my parents, I have to scream into the answering machine because of course they are screening their calls.
Yes, my parents still have a land line and use an answering machine to know who’s calling. Someone should really invent a better method for doing such.
Day 2.75: I want a watermelon and boiled peanuts.
Aside from missing a text from Matt (because we were in that super gay part of our relationship at the time……not sure we’ve made it out of it quite yet AND because my phone and wallet were locked in Bee’s car), I was most concerned about not getting a watermelon and boiled peanuts on the way home. I’m a great friend huh? Bee’s car is stuck at a river parking lot, the nearest keys are at the bottom of a river or in ATL and I’m worried about peanuts…literally.
Dad came through with both. Crisis averted.
Bee’s car is towed to Gainesville which is the closest real city and the home of the amazingly awesome FL Gators. Go Gata!
Day 3: Car dealership is closed for Memorial Day. Extra day in Branford! Score!
Day 4: After $200+ for new keys, we start on our way home.
Right around Lake City we see a tornado*.
I don’t have a picture of the twister, but here’s what it looked like driving out of the weather.
And here’s Bee being angry because I insisted we drive AWAY from the tornado and not pretend we are in the movie “Twister”.
*Bee is obsessed with tornadoes. He has dreams about them.
So overall, it was a great trip home! I was going to say that I wish this were an out of the norm kind of experience for me and the Bee. But it’s not. And I wouldn’t have it any other way!
Stay positive & love your life!
Listening to: Modest Mouse – Satin In A Coffin
Eating: Leftover Antico’s and a salad.
Reading: Just started “Specimen Days” by Michael Cunningham
Random fact: I somehow considered myself a vegetarian in HS, but ate chicken and fish.