The Adventures of BJ and Tony Morris

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St. George Island, Florida
August 2006
"The Tale of the Two Ton Table"

Our German daughter Carina came to visit us for a couple of weeks this summer.  While she was here, she requested that we go to the beach for a few days.  We wanted to take her to Bermuda or St. Thomas, but the terrorist bombing plot in London made us leery of braving non-revenue travel with all of the new carry-on restrictions. 

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We decided, instead, to impose on our friends Pat and Steve and invite ourselves to their beach house in St. George Island, Florida.  Tony and I had spent the weekend with them two weeks prior and had a wonderful time.  I sent an email to Pat asking if we could come.  She insisted that we do, and said she and Steve were considering coming down too since they had some “items” they needed to bring down.  Their items included a stone patio table (aka the "two ton table"), six chairs and two kayaks.  They were going to rent a U-Haul trailer, but we insisted on doing the hauling in our pick-up truck.  We decided that our Mazda B4000 truck would not be comfortable for three people on a 6+ hour trip, so I volunteered to fly to Panama City and let them pick me up there.

On departure day, Tony and Carina met Pat and Steve at their Newnan home which they call “Green Acres”.  Tony and Carina report that the home in no way resembles the shack from the TV Show Green Acres.  After some maneuvering (and sweating), they got the truck loaded with the two ton table and other items and started South. 

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The two vehicles caravanned until they drove through a rainstorm and the packing material on the patio set sent spitballs onto Pat and Steve’s car.  Pat and Steve then decided to lead instead of follow.

I took the 2:30 flight which two weeks prior had been delayed almost two hours, but not today.  Today, it arrived early, putting me at the Panama City airport almost three hours ahead of my ride.  I entertained myself with the owner’s manual for my new phone, trying out all of the new features including the camera. 

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Finally Tony called to say they were almost to the airport and that I should look for the “Beverly Hillbillies” coming to pick me up.  When I walked outside, I noticed that there was a Bay Town Trolley stop.  If I have another long layover in Panama City, I will remember to take the trolley somewhere since I have exhausted all of the airport entertainment. 

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Before long, I spotted the "Beverly Hilbillies" approaching the airport.

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Carina balled herself up and took the center seat for the rest of the ride.  We finished the audio book that they had been listening to. 

When we got to the beach house, Pat and Steve came down to help us unload the truck.  I got to see first hand what they were talking about as all 5 of us carefully lifted the table off of the truck.  Once they got it in the house, Tony and Steve rolled the table top up the steps to the third floor, with Pat helping them negotiate the corners.  Carina and I were poised with the phone, ready to dial 911 if the table should spin out of control back down the steps, taking the boys with it.  They gingerly placed it on the porch and went back down for the rest of the chairs and table parts.  That was enough activity for the day.  We had grilled Bubba Burgers (which after much speculation, we finally figured out [by reading the box] were shaped like Texas).  Pat, the activity chairman, brought out the Scrabble game after dinner.  Carina and I teamed up to beat the others.  She has an amazingly good grasp of the English language to be able to play Scrabble in English!  I could only play German Scrabble if I got the letters “B” “I” “E” “R”. 

The next morning, Activity Chairman Pat gave us a chance to have coffee before beginning the first activity: Table Assembly.   Thank goodness for power tools!  The table went together quickly.  The only difficult part was turning it upright. 

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After breakfast at the new table, it was time to head to the beach.  Going from the house to the beach is very similar to hauling the two ton table, except without the benefit of the truck.  The funeral tent, six beach umbrellas, a folding table, 5 chairs, 4 sea hammocks, 2 kayaks, a cooler and two beach bags have to be taken to the beach and set up. 

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Steve is very particular about the umbrella placement, maximizing the shade-age.  (Pat and Steve’s trademark is to add “age” [pronounced “edge”] to the end of words.)  

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Once all of the equipment was in place, we enjoyed relaxing and reading our books until it was time for the next activity.   Kayaking.  When we had visited two weeks prior, Pat and Steve had rented a tandem kayak and loved the concept.  The tandem was too heavy, so they purchased two single kayaks. 

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The first launch did not go quite as smoothly for Pat as she had hoped. 

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But soon she was on her way.  When it was my turn, I had no problem with the launch, but a wave turned me and the kayak over in the middle of the ocean.

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I was able to right the boat and pull myself back up on it, but I was face down, so I had to roll over and sit up without tipping over.  I called it the “rolling mount”.  After our check-rides, we retired to the shade to wait for the dolphins. 

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As soon as we saw some fins, Pat and Steve raced to the kayaks and launched in pursuit.  You could almost hear the “Hawaii 5-0” theme song playing in the background.  The next dolphin sighting had Steve and me rushing to the kayaks.  We got really absorbed in following the dolphins and before we knew it were too far out.  Fighting the current and headwinds made it difficult to make much progress, but we finally made it back in.  When the waves thrust me up onto the beach, I invented the “rolling dismount.” 

The next activity was a trip to the market for me and Pat.  We made a list with only two items, but decided we didn’t need to take it with us.  We could remember the two items.  We got veggies at the market and then stopped at the seafood stand for shrimp and amberjack.  When we got home and saw the list on the counter, we realized that we had only gotten one of the items.   We had a big laugh at ourselves.

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Dinner was delicious grilled amberjack and veggies.  We tried to eat at the two ton table on the deck, but the monster mosquitoes drove us inside.  The post-dinner Texas Hold ‘Em Poker tournament went on past midnight and finally became a showdown between me and Steve.  We were going all-in on almost every hand, just trying to end the game.

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Saturday was pretty much a repeat of Friday, except we left the beach early so we could go into Apalachicola for dinner.  After a little browsing at the quaint shops, we had a delightful meal at Verandas. 

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The evening activity was supposed to be the movie, “Crash” but we weren’t able to stay awake for it. 

With the exception of Pat & Steve’s sunrise stroll on the beach and Pat’s solo early morning kayak ride, Sunday was another repeat of Friday.  Carina finally tore herself away from her book long enough to try out the kayak.

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Since it was our last day, we stayed out on the beach until almost sundown before we started the drag back to the house.  

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Tony and Steve loaded their old round oak table onto the truck to be delivered to “Green Acres”. 

Dinner was “Must-Go”, as in “Everything in the refrigerator Must-Go.”  We had leftover fish, chicken, rice, shrimp, broccoli and asparagus.  Everyone was so tired, I couldn’t even get anyone interested in playing Tiny Pictionary (a variation on the traditional Pictionary invented by Pat’s mother where the pictures can be no larger than inch). 

Morning and time to go came much too early on Monday.  Tony and Carina dropped me at the Panama City Airport for a 9:26 flight.  Two of the previous evening’s flights had cancelled and passengers were rebooked for the morning, so the flight left full without me.  I had two hours to kill before the next flight, but I was afraid the trolley tour might not get me back in time.  I read my book over a cup of coffee and soon it was time for the next flight which thankfully had a seat for me. 

Tony, Carina and I all arrived home at the same time.

BJ Morris