Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Grey Skies Can’t Dampen Family Fun

March 27-30, 2011

Tybee Island

After a month-long draught and a couple weeks of temperatures hovering in the 70s and 80s, a storm front has pulled in and decided to stay awhile—just in time for our family vacation at a Tybee Beach house.

On Sunday, Dick and I got an early start at the house, bringing over beach toys, stocking the cupboards and refrigerator with a starter food supply, and procuring a beach wheelchair for Meredith, who broke her tibia and fibula just last week. We were so warm that we changed into shorts and tee shirts before test-driving our wheelchair options on the beach.

An hour before the Glover clan from Cincinnati was due to arrive, a ferocious storm blew in, with 40 mph winds propelling marble-sized hail like bullets. The air temperature plummeted twenty degrees, and all the crushed ice hail in the dipping pool spa cooled the water by ten degrees. Dick and I had two buckets in our room catching leaks from the roof.

It is Wednesday now, and we have not seen the sun yet.

But, that has not stopped us from having lots of fun.

Monday we took a trolley tour of Savannah, and then stopped for ice cream at Leopold's, Savannah's favorite ice cream parlor since 1919. The Cincinnati contingent agreed it was good, but not quite as good as Graeters, a Cincinnati institution since 1870.

Then we visited our house, where Dick had set out a crab trap in our lagoon before we left for Tybee. When he pulled in the trap, he had caught a blue crab, which we all examined, then let go.

The twins have gone swimming in our little spa pool twice, while the rest of us have lounged around the porch bundled up in our sweaters and jeans. We have had lots of leisure time to read, watch big screen television and play dominoes together.

Yesterday, we had an afternoon without rain, so we all headed to the beach, pushing Meredith in her beach wheelchair, provided compliments of the Tybee Volunteer Fire Department. Dick and the twins flew a kite. Matt and Harrison played a little bocce ball. Bridget and Natalie and Molly built a sand village surrounded by a big moat, then Matt helped to build Mount Vesuvius towering over the town. (Natalie has been studying Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius, and provided us with the pertinent details.)

Last night, Dick and I introduced everyone to Low Country Boil. Our extremely well-provisioned beach house has a Low Country Boil cooker on the front porch—a propane burner topped by a huge pot with a steamer basket inside-–and the guest book includes a recipe for this regional delicacy. Our answer to the New England clam bake, Low Country Boil is made by boiling up water with a whole lot of Old Bay Seasoning, then tossing in red skin potatoes, followed 15 minutes later by corn and kielbasa sausage, followed about 7 minutes later by shrimp. Traditionally, the boil is served by pulling out the basket and dumping it on a newspaper-covered table. We covered the table with newspaper, but used a big platter to serve it, out of respect for our $500 damage deposit.

After dinner we all walked into town for ice cream at Tybee's best purveyor—a little store offering home-made gelato. The verdict—better than Leopold's but still not as good as Graeters. A spitting mist of rain began as we were finishing up our ice cream and walking home.

Today, the rain continues with a vengeance. Looks like a great day to head to the movies . . .

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