First, a welcome to this world to Ellis Parker Floyd, newborn son of Alex and Kristen Floyd.
Ellis is an eighth generation Bryan Countian, if my math is correct, and he comes from great stock
My only advice to Ellis (apart from looking before you leap and treating others the way you want them to treat you) is that when it’s time to pick a college, go to Georgia Tech, Georgia Southern or the University of South Carolina. Anywhere but UGA or Clemson. Those people are too uptight. PS. And don’t go to Florida, either. Gators still wear mullets.
Second, some housekeeping notes about Vidalia onions.
1. The Pembroke American Legion Post 164, which I think I am a member of, is selling "genuine large Vidalia onions again."
Cost is $8 for a 10-pound bag, $15 for a 25-pound bag. Delivery is in late April or early May. This is a good deal and supports the post’s many, many, many charitable endeavors. You can email B.J. Clark at email@example.com for more information. He’s in charge.
2. The good folks at the Richmond Hill Exchange Club are also selling Vidalia onions to support their good works, such as scholarships and a certain kids fishing tournament that has become a beloved institution in South Bryan.
The onions are a deal, $6 for 5 pound bags, or $10 for two 5-pound bags (you save $1). They’ll be available for pickup in mid-to-late April, and you can pre-order from any Exchange Club member. You can also email Bob Whitmarsh at firstname.lastname@example.org or Lynn Bennnett at email@example.com.
And if you’ve never tried it, Vidalia onions are great on the grill. Or off it, for that matter.
Now, for the main event, because the question inevitably comes up.
Somebody: "You going to St. Patrick’s Day this year?"
Me: "No way. Savannah’s St. Patrick’s Day has gotten too big for my britches."
What’s more, with predictions of 500,000 people attending this year’s festivities, I think it’s gotten too big for Savannah’s britches, too.
Besides, these days I’m a peaceable man and I like peaceable things that don’t involve hundreds of thousands of large, inebriated and tattooed women stomping around River Street looking for a place to relieve themselves because the lines at the Porta-Johns are too long.
But, well, there was a time about a quarter century ago when I was very much into trekking down to River Street to run amok with thousands of other Irish-for-a-day-idiots.
Much of it I can’t remember.
What I can remember I share now, sanitized, and in chronological order for ease of reference.
My first trip as a presumed adult to St. Patrick’s Day in Savannah occurred in the middle-late 1980s, when I was in the Army and stationed at Fort Bragg.
I was dating a girl who lived in Richmond Hill (a Richmond Hill High School graduate, no less, who ultimately wound up marrying a West Pointer, I think) and a bunch of us put on green stuff and made the trek down to River Street, hooting like howler monkeys. Of course, it wasn’t quite as crowded in those days as it is now, but it was no less a party. I recall (vaguely) my girlfriend, a rather upright and sensible person, at some point and for some reason that escapes me now wearing a broken Styrofoam cooler around her neck trying to "Walk like an Egyptian." She also was drinking beer through a tube from one of those hats with can holders on the sides and, well, I do not recall how we got home, but apparently we did.
Fast forward a year or so (I don’t exactly recall which year) and I was down in Georgia with some Army buddies. The Richmond Hill girlfriend was no more, and I was bacheloring it. At some point, after much alcohol, I wound up alone on a Riverboat cruise ship and was admiring the way the moonlight sort of glittered on the water (I once had a poet’s soul, I’m told) when all of a sudden this lady with glasses who looked and sounded like Edie McCLurg (look her up, she played Ed Rooney’s secretary in "Ferris Bueller’s Day Off" and said "he’s a righteous dude,") came up to me and asked me if I would kiss her.
"No m’am," I said. I had beer goggles on, but they weren’t that strong yet.
Truth is, I would’ve kissed her, but her husband was with her. In fact, he was on his knees, hanging onto her belt and drooling up at me through these large, thick glasses that made him look like Stephen King on a bender.
"He’s had a bit to drink," she said, and smacked her husband upside the head. "Now, kiss me."
I ran away. They followed me around the boat for a bit, the poor guy hanging on to her belt and knee-walking behind her, steadily saying things like "blublees" while she tried to kiss me.
I am proud to say we never kissed. But the next day was awful. I think I got alcohol poisoning because for the first time in my life my eyeballs hurt. I’d never had that happen before, and never have since, not even in Germany when we drank things designed to turn American soldiers into newts.
My last trip to River Street for St. Patrick’s Day was in 1992. I was about a year away from getting out of the Army and stationed on Fort Stewart with the old 24th Infantry Division. Me and some buddies went down and at some point ran out of beer money because we spent it all on beer. One of my friends, who later got married and became responsible but at the time was a genius when it came to being stupid, decided that we could quickly rectify that.
"Let’s belly dance for beer," he said, and took off his shirt. My other buddy did the same. I followed suit and we started belly dancing our way around River Street getting paid.
It was still daylight when we started and midnight or later that we discovered tired bartenders at one of those basement bars really liked it when shirtless soldiers dropped in from the basement window, landed behind the bar and started belly dancing at them.
Erin go bragh, folks.