As the Georgia Bloggers were
getting shitfaced on sipping Velocimanâ€™s Artillery Punch in Helen, Georgia (a slice of Bavaria in the Peach State), two carloads of the Usual Suspects headed off on Friday for Cape May, the beautiful Victorian town on the southern tip of the Garden State. We packed light in order to leave room for the Usual Suspectsâ€™ signature Traveling Bar. The weather could not possibly have been better. Here some highlights:
Kickoff: As is our custom, we began the
drinkathon festivities at the Ugly Mug, one of my favorite saloons. Instead of ordering the customary Ugly Mug fare (bacon cheeseburgers or Philly cheesesteak sandwiches), some of us decided to go for something slightly more nutritionally responsible, so we ordered chicken Caesar wraps. Obviously, that decision must have been the product of a brain fart, as the wraps were lousy. (Note to self and other Usual Suspects: Stick to greasy stuff at the Ugly Mug. They do that well.)
The Stardust Shrink and his Ocean view Digs**: We had all been invited to party on Friday and Saturday at the beautiful summer digs of the Stardust Shrink. As in the past, Stardust proved to be a host extraordinaire, with a boundless supply of good humor and great stories. We assembled for
the continuation of the drinkathon cocktails and snacks on the deck overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, which was constantly cooled by an ocean breeze. Quite simply, it doesnâ€™t get much better than that.
The Veritable Feast: On Saturday, the group was joined by the Stardust Sister and her husband, Bill the Griller, and the Stardust Mom (see below). As the gang
slugged down Margaritas as if they were lemonade sampled Margaritas, the Stardust Sister and Bill the Griller got to business preparing a mondo meal, which supplemented the lobsters (which had been alive a few hours earlier) that the Stardust Shrink killed steamed and chilled. Bill the Griller cooked up a pile of baby back ribs and a bunch of chicken breasts that were beyond excellent, while the Stardust Sister took care of the baked beans, veggies and assorted other great things to eat. The food was wonderful.
Some Fun Stuff: If youâ€™ve come to think that the only thing the Usual Suspects do is eat and drink, shame on you. We do lots of things while we eat and drink. Here are a few examples:
This year the Stardust Shrink (who is also a real, honest-to-goodness magician â€“ he goes to the conventions and stuff) rendered us speechless with some close-up magic. He repeated the â€œCard in the Little Boxâ€ trick that he had done for us last December. Damned if I can figure out how he does it.
He also unveiled a new one, which involved what appeared to be a lighted orb, slightly larger than a marble, which he seemingly produced from nowhere. What followed was a lightening-fast display that was performed so as to make it appear that the orb was sailing at high speed back and forth between his hands, in one of his ears and out the other, in his nose and out his mouth, and even into the mouth of one of the Usual Suspects, causing her to do a panic spit, obviously believing at some level that he really shot this bullet-like flaming orb into her mouth. (Clearly, we are the perfect patsies for a good magician.)
The rules were that we were all to be prepared to tell at least one joke following the Saturday Feast. By this time, everyone was pretty well oiled, so you can imagine the hilarity that ensued as each person, in turn, had the â€œstage.â€ A â€œprizeâ€ (a chicken shooter, or some such thing, as I recall) was given to the person telling the best joke. The Quietly Sinister Linda took home the prize for a joke that was so salty it would have made a Chief Boatswainâ€™s Mate blush.
Yes, we did a few tunes. However, what made this time special (at least for me) was that it marked the debut of my new “Road Axe”. I was most pleased with its performance. I think that, in the future, I can confidently leave the vintage Gibson at home, safe and sound.
Da Bonus: Perhaps the biggest treat of the weekend was that Doris, the Stardust Mom, was in attendance. This marked the first time that Mrs. Parkway and I got to meet the Stardust Mom, about whom we had previously heard wonderful things. The Stardust Mom is into her eighth decade on the planet, but she has a gleam in her eye that would rival that of a twenty-something. It takes only about ten seconds after meeting her to realize that: (a) you instantly like her, and (b) youâ€™ve just met someone very special. Not one to sit around watching Oprah, the Stardust Mom still mows three acres of grass on her power mower and tends to the gardens everyday on her â€œspreadâ€ in Pennsylvania.
Staying right in the middle of the action, she told a joke (a spicy one, I might add) and howled with the rest of us at everyone elseâ€™s jokes. The clincher for me was when she described how she decided to try parasailing this year. Yep, parasailing! She said, â€œIâ€™d never done it, and it looked like it would be fun.â€
We were quite taken with this gracious lady.
It was a helluva weekend.
**They are not the digs pictured at the top of the post. The featured picture is typical of the Victorian homes in the town of Cape May.