Sunday, July 09, 2006

Cordele is a big deal

There are good weekends, and then there are good weekends ... like the ones which deserve running diaries. And this past weekend, one which featured a trip to Cordele, Georgia, is one of those weekends.

Why in the name Manny Delcarmen am I visiting Cordele you ask? My buddy Matt grew up there, and he and his wife Caroline were housesitting his father's 200-acre farm for the week. So The Wife and I, along with Ed and Lindsey, traveled down past the Fall Line and headed for the "Watermelon Capitol of the World."

Friday, July 7

The Wife and I embark on our journey to South Georgia, and it's not our first time in that neck of the woods. I've covered quite a few high school football games down there - including an excellent Commerce-Dooly County contest a few years back - and The Wife's father is originally from Waycross and Hahira.

Still, a pleasant drive altogether and as we approach the homestead, I get a phone call from Matt and Ed. Turns out they've been fishing on the Flint River all day (I'm instantly jealous) and saw a dead alligator at some point. As we are about the wrap up the conversation, I hear Ed shout 'it's a freakin' turtle!' Matt abruptly ends the phone call, and The Wife and I arrive at the house.

We get a brief tour, and it truly is an amazing house (I mean, real hardwood floors ... none of this Pergo crap). We've been there a few minutes, and Matt comes strolling in, and Ed is following him ... with a turtle.

Throughout this, I swear to you, he's intermingling quotes from Scarface with the theme from Crocodile Dundee. I couldn't make this up.

The turtle dance goes on for an uncomfortably long time, complete with Lindsey periodically shrieking, until Ed manages to kiss the creature on the head. After a mandatory washing, we all go outside to check on the ribs that Matt's been smoking for eight hours. While outside, I learn they caught nothing but did stumble across a place called Pat's which is down a winding and shallow creek. Now, there's a Pat's in Winder that's a decent little bar. This Pat's is a shanty that is guarded by ornary children. Matt decides he's going to go in and see if he can buy some beer. Pat's, naturally, doesn't accept anything but cash ... Matt puts $13 on the table and asks 'what can I get with this?',the lady points to the appropriate 12-pack and he leaves the money with her.

Upon returning to the boat, Matt just says 'floor it' and Ed, thankfully, asks no questions. At this point, the children begin to fling rocks at them as they tear away. This is primarily funny to me, because I envision it being significantly more dramatic ... like the dock falling away behind him as he sprints down it and dives headfirst into moving boat. It probably wasn't that dramatic.

No matter.

Just prior to eating, I'm helping get the kitchen ready for a meal of ribs, corn, potatoes and the like. At this point, for no real reason at all, Ed hollers 'Is McGinty getting in the water?' (I should probably point out, that Ed's had a few drinks by now). And, at this point, for no real reason at all, I rip off my shirt, spring outside and dive into the backyard pool (with Ed in tow, of course). All the while, The Wife is shouting 'Take out your cell phone ... kick off your shoes ... don't forget your wallet!'

This, admittedly, was good for a few laughs, and it was very refreshing. I'm now, however, sans one pair of shorts for at least a day. So we dry off, and we eat.

One of four ears of corn consumed by Matt.

The rest of the night consists of more swimming in the pool (this time with the appropriate trunks), discussion of a plan to rent a 20-foot boat Saturday afternoon and serenading Lindsey with a bevy of awful 1980s songs.

Saturday, July 8

Originally, the guys had planned to go fishing on one of the many catfish ponds that dot the property. However, we all overslept by, like, three hours so that plan was shot. Instead, the girls decided to take a walk and check out the surroundings. The guys decide to drive around the property. Matt gives us a brief history - typically they grow things like cotton and peanuts, but this year the gentleman who manages the land is letting the land rest and instead about 100 cattle are being raised on the farm.

So we pull up to a clearing overlooking one of the lakes ... one which features several tree stumps jutting out of the water. It is here that for only the second time ever in my life, I hold a gun. Like most father-son relationships, my dad taught me many things - how to fish, basics on power tools, etc. But the McGintys aren't hunters, so that wasn't something we ever did. Ed and Matt, however, come from a long line of hunters, and they decide I need to at least shoot a gun and these tree stumps make for the perfect targets.

It's a little unnerving, I'll admit it. But a .22 rifle is a good way to start. It's lightweight with little, if any, kick. Now ... I'm a horrible shot, hitting the stump only once out of, say, 18 attempts.

It was just like this, only minus the ability to aim.

From here, we begin to put some things together and head out to Lake Blackshear to begin our boating adventure. Ed and I are given the task of stocking the cooler, so we head to Arrowhead Grocery, though "grocery" is a mighty loose term for that establishment. They sold eight-packs of Coke and Sprite, and by "sold them" I mean price-gouged us for $3.89 a piece. Still, it's that or nothing meaning the concept of supply-and-demand is still alive and well, so we buy a few packs, some beer, plenty of snacks and some ice.

It's a sweet boat, and we all determine we need to own a boat and do this each weekend. We ride around a bit and then do a little tubing.

Our fearless captain leads the S.S. Cordele into unchartered waters.

The Wife and Lindsey try to figure out this whole "staying-on-the-raft" thing.

Ed and I are keeping an eye out for another Pat's.

The Wife, Caroline and Lindsey seem to like the boat.

Ed was really into just idling in a cove, though we tried to convince him that he could enjoy the Bud Light in the boat.

So it was fun. I had a spectacular wipeout, one where I skimmed across the surface of the water for a few feet, only eclipsed by Ed's final ride where he did three complete body rolls over the surface of the lake before sinking like a rock.

The only problem is ... The Wife gets horrifically seasick. I tried to warn her of this, but she said it'd be fine as long as we were moving. Well, we were moving ... in circles as we towed the inner tube. So on several occasions, she got up to be ill, only to have it pass.

Still, one terrific close call sent her and I back to land for the final 30 minutes.

Let's just say, it went south shortly after this was taken.

After the boat, we had back to the farm where we enjoy a fish fry, though that's a grand understatement. We fried everything - from chicken wings to french fries to hushpuppies ... and, coupled with some ice cold Miller High Life and Waylon Jennings, it made for a spectacular evening.

Sunday, July 9

Our final day, and Matt does some yard work and I prepare pancakes and sausage for breakfast. The ladies leave early, while we stay behind and finish cleaning the house. Aside from letting me try my luck with a 12-gauge shotgun - and I don't have much luck with it - this is supposed to be a non-eventful day.

Matt, Ed and I make a trip to the massive Farmer's Market in Cordele, head up to Macon where we eat at the Texas Cattle House for lunch and then get ready to polish off the final leg of this journey.

And that's when we hit it.

The onset of the worst traffic jam in I-75 history. We're just 200 yards from an overturned Suburban and U-Haul, complete with all sorts of household furniture scattered across the four lanes of the interstate.

What follows is an agonizing two-hour wait in the heat.

Imagine this, times 40, sitting on blacktop and it being about 95 degrees.

One of the stranger things I picked up on was that people don't particularly like sitting in their cars. I mean, the second we stop people are flying out of their vehicles ... as if the ability to walk around and loudly complain will somehow move this process along.

Still, after the first hour we were kinda stir-crazy. So Ed moved to the boat.

The couple in the truck next to him, for some reason, really thought this was funny. Matt and I laughed, sure, but not to the extent they did.

So we get moving and finally get back to Athens around 6:30 p.m. ... after leaving around 1 p.m. for what is typically a two-and-a-half hour drive. Still, it just added to the drama of what was a very entertaining weekend.

I missed out on the Flint River, but did see Ed hold a turtle. You take what you can get.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dude, I hope you don't think I'm crapping on your political commentary, but your travel posts are the best.
Maybe it's just the Flatlander in me happy to hear news from the homeland. You and Julie should delve even deeper into SoGa and hit Hahira and Waycross one of these days.
BTW, I remember that Commerce-Dooly game ... went to overtime and screwed us on deadline.
It was freezing and that was absolutely the worst stadium I've ever been in.
I don't know how you sent, but I had to phone in a box score to the AJC, for which I received full correspondent pay despite being assigned a story, so I guess it wasn't all bad.
And then because we shared the round-trip ride and I was coming down with the flu, you got sick a few days later.
(In voice of Jimmy Fallon)
You're welcome, J-Mac.

Marty K

12:54 AM  
Blogger hillary said...

I think it's because we get to see the pool-jumpin', beer-drankin' side of McGinty, rather than his fine upstanding Young Democrat side.

7:35 AM  
Blogger ctrosecrans said...

i'm just digging a marty kirkland sighting

12:03 AM  
Anonymous Trey McElveen said...

Sounds like a good time, Jmac. I wish I could have been there, but work and family vacations and the like interfered. I hope to see you guys Sunday. It's been a while.

8:29 AM  

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