Now, I know it’s stupid that I was watching TV at 5:45 Saturday morning while on vacation, but I was really enjoying ESPN’s coverage of the World Baseball Classic game from the Tokyo Dome. (I also watched Sunday morning’s game).
The first round of the tournament was wrapping up Monday, while the second round begins this weekend…
Speaking of the WBC, oft-injured Braves’ third baseman Chipper Jones was forced to leave Sunday night’s game against Venezuela in the sixth inning after straining his oblique muscle. Team USA manager Davey Johnson said in a news conference he didn’t think Jones would be available for any of the rest of the tournament.
I’m all for the whole “World Cup” aspect of the WBC, but do these guys ever stop think to about what they do to their employers? What position they put them in?
Sure, it’s an honor to play for your country and all that, but Chipper Jones is about as sturdy as an umbrella made of toilet paper. That he’d play for the US team- or that the Braves would let him, knowing his history of injury- is just amazing to me…
New outfielder Garret Anderson is temporarily on the shelf, too- and says he doesn't know when he might be back in the Braves' lineup. Anderson strained his right calf muscle jogging before Friday night's game against the Astros. The team figures he’ll miss at least 10 days…
So, yeah, I actually had a vacation last weekend. Shelby and I went to Ellijay Thursday after work to enjoy some mountain air and let me just say- I love my GPS.
It’s a bit of a drive- about an hour and a half from Shelby’s (and, for once, I managed not to lead-foot it the entire drive)- but you’re going into the mountains and there’s at least pretty scenery (unlike I-16, which I have declared the single most boring boulevard anywhere). Our second cabin rental was definitely an improvement over the first (where the hot tub and fireplace both were non-functioning).
See, the first thing I did when Shelby and I got there Thursday was make sure the fireplace worked. And the hot tub (Shelby promised impending homicide should the hot tub not be operable- "I'll fucking kill someone" is what I seem to recall her saying). In fact, everything was in good working order.
After we checked out the cabin, we turned around and headed back out (‘cause, you know, there’s always something you forget) to get a few groceries.
Interesting fact #1 about Ellijay: there is no Kroger. There were plenty of them twenty-some-odd miles back towards Atlanta, but our choices were Ingles, Food Lion and Piggly Wiggly. We decided on Piggly Wiggly, since it was close to the place we were staying, and close to the restaurant we’d chosen for dinner.
Interesting fact B) about Ellijay: there are a LOT of mountain folk there, and it’s not even really in the mountains. They’re more like hills. That doesn’t change the fact that I had no problem imagining quite a few of the people we saw in the grocery store celebrating nuptials with their siblings. 'Cause, by mountain folk, I mean there were some scary looking, inbred mofos.
I have to say, though, I was impressed with the prices at Piggly Wiggly- and the quality. Especially their “house brand” potato chips and Caesar salad dressing. Both were .99- and both tasted quite good (Shelby said we'd be stocking up on the dressing our next trip to Savannah). After loading up with the stuff we wanted, we went to grab some take out from a place called Jolly Roger Seafood.
My hopes weren’t high- the place shares its parking lot with a gas station, and appeared to seat about ten. I was impressed when we went in, though. No fish smell, and good looking cuts of seafood on ice at the counter. Shelby and I decided on take out: We were on vacation, we wanted drinks, and this place didn’t have any (in fact, the other restaurant we went to, The River Street Grille, didn't serve booze, either. We were all wondering 'what the hell?'
Interesting fact #3 about Ellijay: the old people there are creepy. Another factor in our decision to get take out from Jolly Roger was the two glowering codgers sitting across from us. The woman had a look on her face like she was all set to pull a hunting knife out of her pocket and chop off her companion’s ears if he didn’t pass the salt fast enough. That was also the only thing I heard either of them say in the entire 15 minutes we were there ("pass the salt [motherfucker was implied, though not spoken]", not the “I‘ll cut your ears off part“- she just had that look, you know?).
We went back to the cabin and ate dinner on the deck, looking down onto the Coosawattee River. It was very peaceful, and- despite my initial doubts- Jolly Roger cooks a fine piece of mountain trout.
After eating, I decided to walk down to the river. After all, one of the selling points of the cabin was the river access and being able to “Enjoy a riverside fire down below in the fire ring roasting marshmallows or looking up at the stars.” The path to the river was steep. I worried the entire way down that I was going to slip and go tumbling down the hill like Jack, except there wouldn’t be a nursery rhyme ending, and I’d be screaming profanities the entire way- at least until I came to a stop, at which point I’d probably be dead. After getting some pictures along the river, I made my way back up- at which point I still thought I might die, because my heart was trying to pound it's way out of my sternum, and my legs were calling me three shades of a sonofabitch for taking on the climb.
Interesting fact D) about Ellijay: You need to be part mountain goat and part owl to navigate the path down to the river at night. Actually, that’s more about the property we rented, but you get the idea.
And that was our Thursday. Friday, I got up around 5:15 or so and watched some TV (Shelby is not an early riser) until grabbing my camera and tripod and heading outside. I managed to get some pretty decent shots of the stars, even to the point of capturing some of their “movement” across the sky. (Sooner or later, I’ll get them posted on Flickr.) Once my toes got cold, I went back in and watched some more TV and waited for Shelby to get up.
We went out riding through the community (they call it a resort, but whatever) and looked at the houses, riverfront, Canadian geese, deer running through people’s yards, the Elefant got chased by a dog, then a cat and- by that time- Sandi called to say they were nearby and that the directions were terrible.
Interesting fact #5 about Ellijay: People in Ellijay evidently give directions along the lines of “turn left at Bubba’s house”- even if you have no clue who the fuck Bubba is and are using a Swahili to English dictionary to ask them.
It was evidently a good thing I used the GPS to get us to the cabin where we were staying, because Sandi said they went about 15 miles out of the way following the directions the rental agent of the place had provided.
Eventually, they made it. We spent the rest of the day hanging out, grilling and consuming obscene quantities of adult beverages. At the cabin, though.
Interesting fact F) about Ellijay: No WAY you should risk a DUI there, because (where we were staying, anyway) running off the road would give you an equal chance in either death or citation. Seriously- they’ve never heard of guardrails. And it seemed every road had an "oh holy shit" drop off just beyond the pavement.
Sandi and Jim rappelled down the hillside to check out the creek and came back up as the steaks were coming off the grill. They’d seen bones in the river. The better part of a skeleton, actually. Both of them were convinced it had come from a child.
I’ll pick up the rest of the story next week…
Back when Bean Spouts started, it was mostly about sports. It has (quite obviously) gotten away from that original format, though I do still run in the sports section.
No one has demanded that I go back to the original sports format (as far as I know, anyway), so I’m thinking a name change might be in order. I’m just not sure what to call it. I mean, it will still be Bean Spouts, but anyone have any suggestions about what the “tag line” should be?
Please keep it clean. And not a ridiculously drawn out descriptor (that’s why I’m asking for help instead of coming up with one that would be of novella length and not leave much room for the column). Capisce? (Sandi’s immediate suggestion is the “‘Reminiscent Ramblings of Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine’” but she thinks there may be copyright issues.)