As I sat with Rob, Catfish, Dax, Zonker and Georgia at 5:30 in the morning on the second night of the â€œGeorgia Writers Workshop,â€ I realized that I was still awake, because I knew that once I finally went to bed, it would be over, and I didnâ€™t want it to end. Sure, there would still be Sunday morning to help clear out the rubble of the night before; there would be handshakes, and hugs from those who rose at about the same time I did; and there would be the promises to â€œdo it again,â€ but I sure hated to see it end. I donâ€™t know a better way to describe the experience.
Rob has often said that he never met a blogger he didnâ€™t like, and I could not agree with him more.
The weekend started when I met Eric and Mrs. Straight White Guy at the Jacksonville Airport, as they would be riding with me to Jekyll. Having previously met them in Helen, Georgia in the fall, it took about one tenth of one second for the blabbing to begin. Of course, with the blabbing comes the almost-missed turns, requiring me to execute a couple quick highway Immelmanns. I could hear Mrs. Straight White Guy in the back seat grabbing for the â€œHoly Shitâ€ handle over the door. I figure that sheâ€™s not used to doing highways with a Jersey Road Devil. In truth, she had nothing to worry about, because in Jersey we may not know shit about hunting gators, but weâ€™re damned good at handling highway exits. Itâ€™s in our blood.
After we arrived at the hotel and checked in, I was about to cart my bags and guitar up to the second floor, when I heard a voice from the suite on the first floor say, â€œWell look who it is. Hey Jimbo, put that shit right down and get in here.â€ I was greeted by Rob, Catfish, Sam, Samâ€™s bride, Velociman, the Velocibride, Recondo 32 and the always-lovable Georgia, whose greeting consists of â€œCome here baby and give me a hug!â€ The room was already full of beer, liquor, and a five-gallon pail of the infamous Chatham Artillery Punch, which tasted infinitely better than it looked (a bit like the contents of a mondo spittoon). Eric and Mrs. SWG appeared a few minutes later, having followed the noise to Party Headquarters.
â€¦ and so it beganâ€¦.
Before long, Dax showed up, and so did Michele and husband Kevin. Next was Zonker (clearly the gentleman of the mob — heâ€™s got the pictures, from Helen and from Jekyll â€“ oy!) and then my already old buddy (even though we had not yet met) Christina. Christina was accompanied by her redheaded friend and bodyguard, who was excellent company and also damned easy on the eyes. Next Denny popped in, as did Kelley and Key, all of whom are survivors of the Helen Blogmeet.
Later, Mr. Helpful came around (from Seattle!). Winning the â€œprizeâ€ for traveling the farthest to get to Jekyll goes to go to Rube, who introduced us to Augie, his beautiful lady (who won my heart by presenting me with an excellent bottle of fine German brew), both straight from Germany! Sadie and her intended zoomed in, as did Ward (a/k/a Mr. Moogie). The following day Moogie came onto the scene, having swapped child-rearing duties with Ward. The last to arrive was jmflynny, who clearly must have taken a side trip to the Fountain of Youth before coming to Jekyll. I already knew that she is a wonderful writer, but I had no idea that she is also exceedingly pretty. I regret not having much of a chance to shoot the breeze with her. Next time, for sure.
On the first evening, after some introductory drinking, we all trekked off to watch Ken, a longtime blogger friend (not to be confused with my bodyguard Ken, who could not make this blogmeet) and his lady take vows on the beach, and we joined them in a ceremonial slug of Makerâ€™s Mark. Some of the lady bloggers did readings at the ceremony, which was presided over the Right Reverend Recondo 32. It was cool, and it launched an evening of serious drinking, hell raising, bullshitting and music making that lasted into the wee, wee hours of the morning. We also placed a call to Jersey Blogger and the co-organizer of the Jersey Blogmeet, Kate. I wish she could have been there, but I know she was with us in spirit.
The next morning I ran into Eric at the continental breakfast, where he saw me do the â€œI need milk and lots of itâ€ routine, which provided a solid base on which to have our real breakfast (cold beer) with Georgia, who was already sitting outside in the sun and doing a Pabst Blue Ribbon. In no time, the mob of Jekyll Vulgarians showed up to join us in
a scintillating discussion of writing styles an afternoon of drinking, bullwhip cracking and, for the athletes in the group, a game of half-rubber (Itâ€™s a Southern game played with half a sponge ball and a broomstick â€“ go figure).
I joined the group that broke away for a little solid food at a local eatery, where I had my first glass of â€œsweet tea,â€ (with a side order of beer, just to keep the buzz alive). I also ate a hushpuppy, something that one has a hard time finding in a state where most of the restaurants end in a vowel followed by an apostrophe â€œs.â€ (e.g. Tonyâ€™s, Angeloâ€™s, Joeyâ€™s).
Following lunch, there was more
literary discussions drinking and hell raising, until it was time to play poker. The Lovely Christina had organized the game and, considering that there were ten well-oiled players, it ran like a Swiss watch. Eric was the first to go down in flames, followed shortly thereafter by Yours Truly. Losing so early sucked, but it provided me with more time to concentrate on beer drinking and bullshitting. Rob, who regularly â€œcogitatedâ€ over his cards ended up beating out Catfish to take first place. Mrs. Sam took third. Rob wound up with the panties. Someone has pictures.
After dinner at a local steakhouse (â€œTables for thirty-two, please, and we donâ€™t have a lot of time to wait aroundâ€), we headed back to Party Headquarters for a night of serious partying
We were joined by Robâ€™s brother, who looks so much like Rob it is downright eerie. He is an ass-kicking guitar player, who can also sing his ass off, and he came to play. He and Rob have been playing and singing together for years and it shows. For some tunes we had a total of five guitars cooking, including Eric and Denny (who wowed the crowd with a couple surprise kazoo virtuoso performances). We were backed up by Kelley and Mrs. Sam, who I referred to as the â€œBlogettes,â€ and forevermore shall they be so known.
We played, sang and drank for hours, taking turns leading the way with tunes. For me, it just doesnâ€™t get much better than that. I took a short break from pickinâ€™ and grinninâ€™ to talk to my buddy Dash. Damn, I sure wish he could have been there too.
As the hour got later, people began to drift off to bed, no doubt propelled by ever-increasing blood-alcohol levels. Eventually we even put the guitars away. Finally, it was the wee hours of the morning, and there were just a few of us still awake, which brings me back to my original point.
I hated to see it end.