Erica Lucke Dean

"Making the world a better place, one book at a time."

I need a vacation

Another day…another pig chase. Can I just say I’m getting tired of chasing pigs? I think this may have permanently turned me off on bacon. Bacon! That’s like saying, “Chocolate? Oh, no thank you, I’ve had plenty in my lifetime.” You don’t just stop desiring the delectable taste of bacon. Well, I do. After chasing pigs, I think I can say I’m not interested in pork, ham or bacon anymore. But I am interested in taking a vacation.

A. Nice. Long. Vacation. Somewhere I won’t run into pigs. Somewhere like the beach. It’s been a long time since I’ve been to the beach. I think the last time I went for fun was the time my sister and I took the kids to Savannah. And that was forever ago. We had a blast on that trip.  But like most things involving me, it wasn’t without incident. 

We rented a two bedroom beach condo in the sleepy little town of Tybee Island, Georgia.  It was right on the sand, just a bit of a walk through the dunes to the water.

Our plans were to cook most of our meals at the condo so we could splurge on dinner in Savannah a few nights during our trip.  But after a quick outing to the grocery store we discovered we had a little problem. The kitchen was supposed to be fully equipped with everything we would need for our stay but there were no pots or pans.  Only microwave safe bowls.  Nothing that could be used on the stove top or in the oven.  Our lunch plans were ruined.  It is impossible to make hard boiled eggs without a pot of water to boil them in.

Or is it?  There was a microwave. 

Don’t worry. I was smart enough to know that you can’t microwave eggs in the shell to cook them.  They’ll explode. And that would be bad.  Eggs need to be boiled in water in order to reach a hardboiled state.  But of course, you can boil water in a microwave.  I’d done that many times.  So I figured if I boiled the eggs in the water in the microwave it should solve all of my problems. 

So, I filled the microwave bowl with cold water, placed half a dozen eggs in the bowl and set the microwave for ten minutes.  I didn’t want to overdo it. 

I may have overdone it. 

It’s amazing how much power is packed inside a tiny little egg.  When an egg explodes, it sounds like a gun shot, and when more than one egg explodes, well…it blows the door off the microwave!

There were bits of egg literally everywhere.  Egg hanging from the chandelier, egg clinging to the popcorn ceiling, egg on the baseboards…the back of the sofa…in the air ducts…my hair.  And the entire room smelled like an egg fart.

After the initial shock wore off, (and we’d checked each other for bullet holes) we all broke down into fits of hysterical laughter. I called the management company and they sent over pots and pans right away. 

The microwave wasn’t actually broken, but I’m sure it was never the same.  It’s impossible to get that much egg out of the vents. 

Every vacation needs to have at least one catastrophe, and that was ours.  No one was hurt, so we were free to experience the rest of our vacation.  Most of which was spent at the beach. 

Our vacation house was separated from the water by a dune with lots of thick tall grasses.  There was a path every twenty yards or so, but the paths were narrow and long.  You couldn’t see the ocean until you were most of the way down the path.  It would be easy to lose a flip flop or snorkel if it was dropped on the way to the beach, so we had to keep a close eye on the four kids. 

Even then, my sister liked to take midday naps so we made several trips through the dunes each day to the water.  By the third day, we knew the trail like the back of our hands.  Or so we thought. 

I don’t remember which of us had the brilliant idea to trek out to the water after dark, but there we were—kids in tow—walking from the condo to the path with our towels and cameras and not a single flashlight between us.  A security guard stopped us on the way and asked what we were doing.  He was a nice old man with white hair and glasses and he walked a little hunched over, but he seemed to know a lot about the area.  We told him we wanted to see the beach at night, and he offered to walk us to the water by the light of his security guard issue flashlight.  We agreed that it would be a great idea.

He started to the path, and as he led the way, he spoke…

In a very thick, very unusual accent.

“Gotta be kefful out hyar ‘specially at naht.”  He started.  We understood most of what he said, and the rest we picked out by context.  “Gotta watch out fo’ dem snicks!”  

Snicks?

It was dark, but I’m pretty sure we all looked at each other and mouthed the word back to him.  “What’s a snick?” One of us dared ask.

“Snicks!  You know…”  He waved his hand in a slithering motion “snicks!” 

We all stopped moving for a second while it sunk in.

“Specially dem rattle snicks!” 

I grabbed my kids’ shoulders and pulled them closer to me and my sister did the same with hers.  “Rattlesnakes?” We asked in unison.

“Oh yeah.  Gotta watch out fo’ dem rattle snicks.  Day sting a bit!” He went on as if he was talking about a mosquito, or a bee. 

We didn’t have a chance to reply before he went on again.  “And deez raccoons out hyar…Day got da rabies.  Gotta stay away from dem else you be foamin’ at da mouth!” He dragged out the last part of the sentence in grand dramatic fashion and gestured with his hands to make his point. 

We got it!

We broke through the trail finally and we were standing on the beach, the beam from the flashlight barely reflecting off the waves in the distance as they crashed against the sand.  We were out of the dunes, and away from any rattle snicks or rabid raccoons. 

“Ok den.  Y’all be kefful now.”  He waved the light again, sending a wash across the sand before turning and heading back the way he came. 

We wandered away from the dune and headed toward the surf to dip our toes in the warm water and let the kids play along the shore line.  We had no intention of staying out late.  It was actually way darker than we expected.  There was no moon that night, and without the flashlight, it was hard to make out more than the shapes of the waves in front of us.  We hadn’t spent more than ten minutes alone out there—there wasn’t a single other soul other than us on the beach that night—and we were ready to head back.

We quickly corralled the kids and turned back toward the dunes. 

It was very dark.  Very, very dark.  Without help from a flashlight we couldn’t see the narrow opening to the trail we had come down.  The crazy old security guard who had warned us of stinging rattle snicks and raccoons foaming at the mouth had left us out there without a way to get back!

We gripped our children in each hand and walked toward the dunes to find the trail.  We had strayed around the edge of the water long enough to completely lose our bearings.  We decided to hike along the dunes for several yards in each direction until we could find an opening. 

That took a while.  And it didn’t look like the same path we had taken down to the water, but we didn’t have any other options.  With visions of coiling snakes and rabid raccoons in mind, we started up the trail.  We made noise, snapping a towel out in front of us as we walked—with at least two of the children crying “we’re going to die out here aren’t we?”—and we hoped that if anything was in the path ahead of us, we would scare it away. 

When we finally reached the building, we were on the back side.  We decided to creep around the other side so the security guard wouldn’t see us return.  We sort of hoped he wondered if we all drown out there.  Or maybe struck down by giant venomous snakes.  He might be telling that story to unsuspecting guests now…as he walks them down to the beach at night.

“Gotta be kefful out hyar…some folks disappeared few years back.  Got bit by dem rattle snicks and day done drowned!”

Until the next time…I’ll be watching out for the rattle snicks in my own back yard!  I hear they sting a bit!

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