20 November 2007

Vacations of Doom

Tomorrow I'm flying away to the beach to spend Thanksgiving in the surf with my parents. Glory, hallelujah! The day after Thanksgiving we're planning to visit Charleston, SC, because I haven't been there since I was about 5-years-old and I feel like taking in some Southern culture. When we were in Charleston last, we ate at a restaurant called the Atlantic House, and it was built on stilty legs out in the ocean. As you ate, you heard the water crashing around the supports. The James brother declared that he had never been so close to death. I told myself over and over again that all those servers (I probably actually thought the term waitress because it was 1983) came to work every day and they wouldn't keep returning, if they thought they were in mortal peril. Then I tried to tune out the distinct voices of the deep sea creatures (the weird kind with no eyes because they live sooo deep in the sea--cousins to cave crickets) that I heard calling, "I'm going to eat that little one when she fallllls into the ooccccean."

I frequently felt my life was in danger on family vacations. I remember sitting in the back seat of the car with my brother, splitting a peanut butter and jelly sandwich as we drove up the back side of a mountain. I KNEW that would be our last meal, so I let him have the slightly bigger section of sandwich. And there were the times we hiked out into the desert to see rocks with almost no water and we, the little children, got tired and refused to carry on and my dad continued hiking and we all sat on a rock and wept because we were sure he'd never come back (and he had the car keys, which was the really important point) or the times we drove over mountain passes that dropped off into deep chasms on both sides and we knew we were doomed.

The thing is, I looked up the Atlantic House last week to see if we could eat there this week. These are the photos I found:

The second picture is from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Weather Service Collection of Images. You will note that, apparently, at low tide, the restaurant is pretty much standing on dampish ground. The restaurant is FEET from the shore. If the floor broke open and you fell, you'd be most in danger of breaking a leg, not being swept out to sea. My memory of the Atlantic House may be slightly inaccurate. It's possible we didn't reach the restaurant by submarine as I had assumed. Our vacations may have been safer than I imagined. It would appear that my parents may not have been attempting to kill us on vacation all those years.

All the same, we won't be eating at the Atlantic House. It was destroyed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989.

1 comment:

Amy said...

This post cracked me up. And you're still winning my award for best blog-updater. Have fun at the beach!

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