Janie Slater, White Fence Realty

Easy, Breezy Tybee

In Past Columns, Writing on 10/05/2009 at 4:56 pm

Every year about this time I feel the lure of the ocean. The weather warms, the days lengthen, my bare feet itch for the feel of sand and surf, and my chalky-white skin screams, “tan me, tan me!” When I”m knee-deep in the routines of life”kids (husband included), bills, meals to fix, house to clean”I often find myself daydreaming of Tybee. There is something about Tybee that is just so…right.

Cleve and I have traveled to Destin and Panama City and Daytona and so on and so on. Those are some fun beaches… some of them beautiful. But Tybee is Tybee. No frills. No consumer-crazy mess (yet). It”s not overdone or overrun. I don”t have to try to look like anything or act like anything at Tybee. I can just be my own cut-off-jeans-and-t-shirt sloppy self. And it”s easy. Just park at the 14th street parking lot right next to the pier. Everything essential is right there”bathrooms and food. I like easy. Kids are absolutely in their element at a beach, aren”t they” Think about it: wide open spaces, endless sand, which means endless play, the constant rhythm of the waves to distract and delight, and they have your practically undivided attention. All I usually do is just sit there mindlessly watching them and everyone else with my mind lazily chewing on passing, random thoughts like a cow chewing cud. Carolina or Jo-Jo will occasionally look over to make sure I”m watching them, which I am, while my mind is far away considering the routes and destinations of cargo ships leaving Savannah”s ports, or remembering some scene in a Hemingway novel, or puzzling over how Chloe uploads such complex information into Jack Bauer”s PDA so quickly, thus averting national disaster”every single week.

I enjoy the wide open mental space the beach affords. Space to drift and mull things over. With virtually no shopping distractions (like at the mall), I get to really people watch at Tybee, too. I”m always amazed and refreshed by some people”s inhibitions. There is always the woman who, despite her obvious long-term affinity for things akin to Krispy Kreme donuts, nevertheless dons the two piece bikini I could have barely pulled off in high school. And there she walks, looking like a sack of taters bound by two slim scraps, as if it was the most natural thing in the world to do. My hat”s off to you, fearless woman! You couldn”t pay me enough to do that. Only by force”with sedation or mind control (again, I”ll make reference to Jack Bauer) of some sort. But it is for this very reason that I admire anyone who would so boldly march up to societal norms and brazenly slap them in the face. Just fearlessly be yourself, I lecture myself. Every year.

Tybee isn”t your place to brag about. (snootily: “We just spent a lovely week at our condo in Destin.”) But it”s a place to be your real bare-bones self”without pretension or fuss. That”s why I always can”t wait to get there.

For oodles of info on fun at Tybee, including the upcoming Arts & Crafts Festival on April 22 & 23 or the July 3rd fireworks on the beach, go to http:\www.tybeeisland.com.

(column originally published 19.APR.06 by Janie Slater, Metter News & Advertiser)

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