Disney on New Years' Eve. What was I thinking?????|
For the first time in more than a decade, my mate and I ventured outside Reho for the holidays. Given our current economic diet we simply could not pass up an invitation to spend a week with good friends in sunny Florida.
Alas, we actually had to get there, which required cramming the car with two suitcases, two overnight bags, two sets of golf clubs, two Schnauzers, and two winter-weary humans.
It's a small convertible with a miniscule trunk. Our only hope was vacuum packing the soft stuff in the very rear of the cavity with only our very favorite golf clubs in the wider front area. The Schnauzers, various outer garments, a cooler and jugs of holiday cheer for our hosts filled the back seat.
Off we go, dogs seat-belted into place, heading south down picturesque I-95. Is there an uglier, more boring route? Oh yeah, the Jersey Turnpike, but then again that's just 95's northern leg.
Our favorite roadside attractions included a huge billboard erected by some pissed off people warning "Waldo, FL Speedtrap!" The Chamber of Commerce must love it. Sure enough, there was a black & white with sirens atop lying in wait. Thank you, billboard people.
We all have navigation systems now and it became very obvious when we hit a traffic snarl. Ten cars in a row, us included, peeled off like lemmings through suspect neighborhoods at the insistence of, as we call her, the bitch on the dashboard. We blindly followed the pack until we came out the other side of the back-up. But frankly, she could have taken us to the Amityville Horror House for all we knew. Does anyone else think this blind obedience business is a little spooky?
Ah, the gourmet food choices enroute. My favorite is Sonny's Barbecue, which, if I recall correctly was the last place I ever entered with an intact gall bladder. Sometime in the mid 1990s, returning from the South, I ate an enormous lard-laden dinner at a Sonny's and several miles down the road my gall bladder became an improvised exploding device.
As I moaned in pain, Bonnie said "I have to get you to a hospital!"
"Not in South Carolina you don't!"
And we drove non-stop, nine hours back to civilization so I could have surgery where we might be treated as a legitimate couple.
But this time we stopped at Sonny's for barbecue, safe in our knowledge that neither of us had gall bladders to abuse. Okay, it was a problem having all those baked beans and getting right back into the car. I swear, turnabout is fair play, and the Schnauzers sat fanning the air.
When we stopped for the night, the upshot of the ingenious packing system meant we had to off load absolutely everything in the trunk, splaying it all over the Motel 6 parking lot, just to find the bags with tooth brushes. So much for clever packing.
But after a mere 19 hours of driving we reached our destination.
Good friends, good food, good god they took me fishing. There's a reason there's no book called Shoes of the Jewish Fisherman. There I was, standing in the sun, waving my fishing pole around, feeling my skin prematurely aging, with nothing on the hook to show for it. Boring!
Of course, the three other fisherpersons were snagging trout and flounder and holy mackerel at a rapid pace, making me look like a slacker. Suddenly I felt a big tug at my line and managed to stutter "FFFish!"
"And she's a communication professional," said my spouse.
The captain escorting us grabbed my line, relieved me of a rather large silver trout and re-baited my hook. Gee, I've dealt with lots of rebates before but this was my first re-bait. "Fish!" I yelled, as the process was repeated and within seconds of my line landing in the water I got to shout "Fish!" all over again. Sixteen times.
When the sun set we pulled pants over our shorts, zipped up the jackets and shivered as we sped to shore. While the three amigos huddled in morbid fascination around the captain as he filleted the huge bucket of fish, I chose to sit in the car with the butt warmer on. If I'd wanted to see that many entrails I could just as easily watch Life in the ER on Discovery.
We breaded, baked and ate our trophy fish that night, then spent a day or two playing golf and looking at alligators. Simultaneously. It's a little hard to concentrate on your drive when a nine-foot alligator with bulging eyeballs is staring you down from twenty feet away. My game suffered, but I didn't lose any body parts.
Golf, fishing, sun, fun behind us, we headed home - with a last stop, on New Years' Eve in Disney World. First let me say I loved it and had a memorable time. But two things are clear. One, Disney is the only place I can spend more money per minute than in a casino. And two, nowhere in my entire life, including Times Square, have I ever been amid more teeming humanity, elbow to elbow, hoping for a good time. But it was Disney, so as crowded as it was, there was no actual rioting.
In the Magic Kingdom we made the mistake of going on a spaceship ride in Tomorrowland. Well the thing was made for our bodies from yesteryearland.
Somehow we managed to climb into the faux airplane, wedged into the fuselage like a stepmothers clodhopper in a glass slipper. "Good heavens, are we going to be able to get out of this thing?" I asked as it took off.
"Whamfth? said Bon, her face buried in my hoodie.
While we had a great view of the whole park from up there we spent most of the time worrying we wouldn't be able to extricate ourselves from the cockpit without calling out Goofy and the fire brigade. We eventually dug ourselves free but not without synchronized leg lifts and screaming.
Thinking that the oldie-but-goodie It's a Small World ride would be more hospitable, we were surprised to find they'd spent significant money to make smaller, lower boats that were considerably harder to get into since our last visit. Alas, it was a small ride after all.
But it was counting down to 2010 that was the biggest hoot at Epcot. We drank champagne in every "country" in the park, followed by a million bucks worth of fireworks.
All of which put us in a stupor as we flowed with the mass exodus to the parking lots. No problem; nobody was going anywhere. So we just put the seats back in the car and slept it off. Happily, the dogs were at the Epcot kennel.
It is not true that when you wish upon a star, anything your heart desires will come to you. My heart desired to be beamed up on January 1 and dropped back in Rehoboth, skipping the Waldo speed trap, Sonny's Barbecue, a thousand Cracker Barrels and all of I-95. Next time we fly to Tomorrowland.
It's great to be home.
Contact Fay at: FayJacobsrb@aol.com
Fay's website: www.FayJacobs.com
Fay Jacobs, a native New Yorker, spent 30 years in the Washington, DC area working in journalism, theater and public relations. She has contributed feature stories and columns to such publications as The Advocate, OUTtraveler, The Baltimore Sun, Chesapeake Bay Magazine, The Washington Blade, The Wilmington News Journal, Delaware Beach Life and more.
Since 1995 she has been a regular columnist for Letters from CAMP Rehoboth, and won the national 1997 Vice Versa Award for excellence. Her columns are collected in the books, As I Lay Frying: a Rehoboth Beach Memoir and the newly published Fried & True - Tales of Rehoboth Beach.
Fay is Publisher and Managing Editor of A&M Books, the publisher of the 14 classic Sarah Aldridge novels.
She and Bonnie, her partner of 25 years, relocated to Rehoboth Beach, DE in 1999. They have two Miniature Schnauzers and a riding lawn mower.