Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The REAL meaning of dos equis!

For those of you that don't know, we live on lovely Lake Lanier. Lovely, that is, when they are not draining the lake to send water down south to the Apalachicola River Basin so that the oysters can have enough brackish water to thrive. I am an animal lover, heck I've got seven rescue cats, but enough is enough. My dock has been on the ground four out of the last seven summers...aarg!

Since there is basically nothing I can do to change the water situation or my frustration levels, I decided that this year we would take our family vacation to the beach near Apalachicola, so that we could at least enjoy some of the world's best oysters living lavishly off of the excess of my backyard!

It was mid afternoon on a Sunday, the temperature was in the nineties with humidity so high that you could almost taste the salt in the moist air. It was the perfect atmosphere for beer and oysters. Driving along a side road we came across a raw bar that looked as if it was a weathered old wooden shack that someone had forgotten about several hurricanes ago. It donned three 8x20 foot shutters that clipped to the ceiling, providing bar seating as well as exposing an inner bar made of an old surfboard where the headlining selection was Pabst Blue Ribbon on draft. If you felt satisfied you were more than welcome to write your comments on the graffiti covered walls. Picnic tables were scattered under a rusted tin covered porch area that was graveled with crushed oyster shells. It was perfect.

We grabbed a picnic table and placed our order with the waitress, waiting patiently for our treasures to arrive. That particular morning I had eaten extra sparingly, knowing full well that we would be finding fresh ocean vittles for lunch and I wanted to make sure that I was good and hungry. The beer came cold and fast, going down easy in the sticky, salt air. Anxious, hungry, and now a little bit buzzed I started fiddling with the hot sauce bottles on the table, wishing our food would come quicker. Hmmm, there was a bottle I didn't recognize. I picked it up and rolled it between my fingers noticing that the label read that it was made by a local named Ed Creamer out of Port St. Joe, FL. "Hot Damn!" I laughed to myself as I whipped out my phone snapping a picture of the bottle and quickly sending it via instant message to my old friend Amanda, who happens to have a father with the same name, Ed Creamer.

I was completely tickled, reveling in the strange coincidence, enjoying the island atmosphere, drinking beer with my family and friends, texting back and forth to Amanda "It says it's an oyster's best friend!" as I fed yet another packet of saltines to my two year old. The one thing I wasn't doing was noticing the two red XX symbols underneath Ed Creamer's signature on the label.

The oysters arrived and we dove into them, spreading their sweet, raw flesh on crackers, topping them off with horseradish, Tabasco, and lemon. Of course I opted for Ed Creamer's sauce...for it proclaimed right on the label that it was an oyster's best friend and at this particular time, so was I. I smiled readily as I doused my cracker creation with the hot sauce and shoved it in my mouth eagerly. What happened next I will remember for the rest of my life.

My mouth was closed because the oyster and cracker together was a rather large bite. I was chewing and suddenly felt my eyes begin to water as they blinked rapidly. Looking around the porch I spotted the old black and white sketch of an oyster eating pirate with smoke coming out of his ears as he rose from the sea. Yes, that was exactly what was happening! This had to stop! I was sure my head was about to blow off. I scanned the table for some sort of relief as I tapped my hand nervously wishing I could locate a fire extinguisher to put a damper on the flames that were rapidly scorching my lips. My close friends were unable to offer any consolation because they were too busy falling off their seats with explosive laughter as they pointed their fingers in my direction, covering their mouths with their other hands to muffle their obnoxious, unsupportive noises.

Suddenly my little two year old angel reached across the table, handing me her cup of ice water, spouting, "Here you go, Mommy". My heart stopped. I am not sure if it was my tears that got her or the smoke coming out of my ears, but she empathized with me, and I grabbed hold of that water cup, sticking my tongue deep down into the ice cubes quicker than you could say Jack Robinson. My lips, tongue, and entire gastro intestinal tract ached deeply for the next twenty minutes and although the ice water probably acted more as a placebo effect, it was the most sweet, thoughtful, and appreciated offering and I loved her for it. I suddenly realized that in one brief second she had just made up for the fifteen hours of un-medicated labor. That's my kid!

So the moral of the story is that the REAL meaning of dos equis, XX, is PROCEED WITH CAUTION! There are Habaneros in that sucker!!!!

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