George’s shoulder is healing nicely, his throat is better, and we are just starting to explore the area around St. Simons. On Friday, the sun finally emerged after an extended period of cold, wet weather. As is often the case here, airplane contrails made for interesting sky designs that evening.
On Saturday, we ventured off island to Darien, a small town on the mainland across from St. Simons. It has a beautiful river and marsh setting, a fleet of shrimpers, and Skippers Fish Camp, where we lunched on local shrimp, crabcakes, and collards and Q (that would be barbequed pulled pork for the uninitiated) that we ate outside while soaking up the sun and watching the river.
Darien was founded by Scottish Highlanders in the 1700’s and lies in McIntosh County, named for one of those early settlers. The shell-based tabby foundations of the old river warehouses are still standing.
McIntosh County achieved notoriety through Melissa Fay Greene’s 1991 book “Praying For Sheetrock”–one of the best book titles ever (you’ll have to read it to find out what the title means). The book is a fascinating account of the complicated racial and political dynamics in this small rural county during the 1970s and 80s, with a largely black population and a larger-than-life white sheriff.
I have no idea how the county has progressed since, although, aside from shrimping, it looks pretty economically depressed. There does appear to be a dependable revenue source in speeding tickets, however. In our brief visit, the most notable thing was the number of police cars pulling people over. The local police cars were tricked out with video-game-like pulsating sequences of blue lights on the tops, bottoms, and sides. They were pretty freaky, actually, and I would hate to have one light up behind me while driving down a dark highway. In any case, I recommend obeying the speed limit if you are driving through southern Georgia on I-95.
On Sunday the hordes descended on the St. Simons beach. It’s relatively quiet here in December and most days on my beach walks I only encounter a handful of people. But on this weekend, the last of the year and the hump between the holidays, the island was full of vacationers. They tailgated, clogged the restaurants, and headed to the beach. I sound like a local.
What struck me on Sunday was that the island was overflowing with life–lots of people for sure, and birds in exotic variety,
and, of course, dogs.
It’s been a good year for us. Retirement is sweet. We’re looking forward to next year.
Happy New Year to all of you.