It’s a small ride after all….
Disney on New Years’ Eve. What was I thinking?????
For the first time in 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.
Off we go, dogs seat-belted into place, heading south down picturesque I-95. Is there an uglier, more boring route? Our favorite roadside attractions included pictures of fetuses on anti-abortion signs and a huge billboard erected by some pissed off people warning “Waldo, FL Speed trap!” The Waldo Chamber of Commerce must love it. Sure enough, there was a black and white with sirens atop lying in wait. Thank you, billboard people.
Lots of us have navigation systems now and it was eerily obvious when we hit a traffic snarl. Dozens of cars, 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 led us to the Amityville Horror house for all we knew. Does anyone else think this blind obedience is a little spooky?
Ah, the gourmet food choices en route. My favorite is Sonny’s Barbecue, which, if I recall, 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 explosive device.
As I moaned in pain, Bonnie said, “I have to get you to a hospital!”
“Not in South Carolina you don’t!”
So 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, filled with plenty of gall, but gall bladderless, we stopped at Sonny’s, with nothing left to lose. Just dignity. It was unwise eating all those baked beans and getting right back into the car. Turnabout is fair play: the Schnauzers sat in the back fanning the air.
But after a mere 19 hours of mindless 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, feeling my skin prematurely aging, with nothing on the hook to show for it.
Of course, the three other fisherpersons snagged trout, flounder and holy mackerel at an alarming 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 grabbed my line, relieved me of a large silver trout, and re-baited my hook. I’ve gotten lots of rebates in my time but this was my first rebait. “Fish!” I yelled, the process repeating itself. Within seconds of my line landing back in the water, I shouted “Fish!” again. In all, sixteen times.
When the sun set we pulled pants over our shorts, zipped up our jackets and shivered, speeding to shore with our haul. While the three amigos huddled in morbid fascination as the captain gutted the fish, I sat in the car with the butt warmer on. If I 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 impossible to concentrate on your tee shot when a nine-foot alligator with bulging eyeballs is staring you down from twenty feet away. My game suffered, but I still have all my body parts.
Golf, fishing, sun, fun behind us, we headed home—with a last stop, on New Years’ Eve in Disney World. I did love it, but two things are clear. First, Disney is the only place I can spend more money per minute than in a casino. Second, nowhere in my entire life, including Times Square, have I ever been crammed amid more teeming humanity, pushing and shoving toward a good time. But it was Disney, so as crowded as it was, there was no actual rioting. At one point even Mickey got testy.
In the Magic Kingdom we made the mistake of going
on a spaceship ride in Tomorrowland which was made for our bodies from yesteryearland. We climbed into the minuscule airplane, wedging ourselves into the fuselage like a stepmother’s clodhopper in a glass slipper.
“Good heavens, are we going to be able to get out of this thing?” I asked as it rocketed upward.
“Whamfth? said Bon, teeth lodged in my hoodie.
We had a spectacular view of the whole park from up there but spent most of the ride panicked we’d need Goofy and the fire brigade to get us out. We eventually dug our thighs free but not without synchronized sit-ups and screaming.
“Hey, maybe that oldie-but-goodie It’s a Small World ride will be more hospitable,” I said. Frankly, 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 counting down to 2010 in Epcot was the biggest hoot. We downed champagne in every “country” in the park, watched a million bucks of fireworks usher in the new year and then tried to leave.
Ha! In a champagne stupor, we swept along with the mass exodus to the parking lots. No problem; nobody was going anywhere. Amid a symphony of beeping as owners pressed their keys, hoping to find their cars, we just put the seats back in our vehicle and slept it off. Happily, the dogs were bunking with Pluto at 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 beans, Right-to-Life billboards, a thousand Cracker Barrels, and all of I-95.
M-I-C, see ya real soon, K-E-Y why? Because next time we fly in a wide-bodied jet.
Fay Jacobs is the author of As I Lay Frying—a Rehoboth Beach Memoir and Fried & True—Tales from Rehoboth Beach. Contact her at www.fayjacobs.com.