Sunday, April 20, 2014

Better Than Sochi: Easterlympics 2014

It's a little known fact that Eggland's Best products are the strongest of their kind. Remlers know that because we often throw them across the yard, only to have them bounce and roll to a stop. Another little known fact is that to crack open an Eggland's Best product, it's best to hurl (ahem, Megan Tucker) it into a plunger, at least ten feet away.

These athletic achievements and many others were the highlights of yesterday's annual Easterlympics, which took place this year (and every year) on 10th Court at Tybee Island.  Three teams vied for the first place position so that they could take home that precious prize--a pack of gum. But when it comes to the Easterlympics, we're all winners (at least at some things).

The event began with the dress the bunny competition, at which three teams had five minutes to dress a five gallon water jug like a rabbit. The judges had a difficult time scoring the masterpieces. Team Randy (Randy, Nancy, Alisha, Kelley, and Travis) was the only group to have a smiling bunny:

However, Team Stephen (Stephen, Brett, Cole, Jelly, and Megan) earned the highest score because their bunny could smoke cigarettes and drink beer. Clearly the contest was biased as the judges had been supplied by event sponsors R. J. Reynolds and Anheuser-Busch.

But it was not yet time to crack open a cold one because the next event--the jelly bean toss--followed immediately. Teams had to toss jellybeans across the yard into various sized cups to earn points. Kind of like corn hole, only with jelly beans and smaller targets. And lots of yelling. Here's a third little known fact:  Jellybeans bounce.

That event was a wash because we ate all the jelly beans.

Well, not all of them. We still had a few left for the third event--dropping the jelly beans in bottles. Blindfolded. I didn't understand why the blindfolds were necessary. By that time we were all on such a sugar high we couldn't keep the jellybeans in the spoons. But nobody asked me. And nobody paid any attention to who won that event. I have a feeling there was some cheating going on.

Stephen's the only family member with vision so bad he had his corneas replaced, but still Laurie thought it was necessary to blindfold him.

Out of jellybeans, we moved on to rubber bouncy balls. The object of the event was to throw and catch them in plastic ice scoops. By that time, I'd dropped out of the competition and focused on action photography. I don't know who won that event either, but I can say that Davis's and Lawson's lacrosse experience helped them. And Kelley channeled her teenaged softball days as she deftly caught each ball in her scoop.

As it turned out, the ball toss was just a preliminary for the most exciting event:  the egg toss. In past years we tossed and caught with our bare hands, like normal people. But this year we decided to up the ante. We had to catch our eggs in toilet plungers. I don't know where Laurie found these plungers. They must be for the toilets in Barbie's town home. But the rubber part was just big enough for an egg, so we broke out the Eggland's Best and commenced to throwing.

As Lawson demonstrates, teams earned extra points for wearing silly hats.

The above video captures the excitement in digital high def. The winners of that event were Davis, Lawson, Justin, and Ben. We're so proud.

Oh, I forgot. Somewhere in there was an egg hunt.

By the time the awards ceremony came around, everyone was too confused to figure out who won the pack of gum. I just grabbed one and ran with it. Everyone else dove for the fried chicken or the beer cooler. Unlike the official Olympic games, the Easterlympics don't stand on ceremony. We raise no flags, we stand on no podia. No one sings the national anthem. But we sure laugh a lot. And nobody goes home hungry.

Stephen and his siblings

Nancy and her boys

Monday, April 14, 2014

Lawson At 15

Lawson introduced himself on April 15, 1999 at 11:00 am. Just shy of ten pounds, and two feet long, I think he was glad to get to of the confined space that was my stomach. When JoJo came to the hospital to meet him, the first thing she was was, "That child looks just like Hugh Lawson." And he did.

He has always been tall, and along the way he grew a head of light blonde hair, so that he resembled a combination of my Daniel and Davis relatives. He has Stephen's laid back personality and my sense of humor. I don't know where he got the big feet. Suffice it to say, he's grown into a unique young man.

So every April 15th, we light some candles and enjoy some cake and ice cream--a welcome treat after juggling all those W-2s and 1099's--and wish a happy birthday to one swell tax deduction. So today's post reflects on fifteen years of Lawson's mark on this world:

For Lawson's first birthday, Davis made him a cake, and Lawson would have liked to eat some of it, but there seemed to be some discussion as to whether to light the candles. Lawson waited patiently for a decision, all the while knowing he would have been able to blow out those candles quicker if he'd lit them himself.

Even at one, he was smart beyond his years--rather, his year--but he was still chill enough to let me do his hair like a Sleestak.

By the time he was two, he'd grown more hair. And he'd decided to make more of an impact on the world. So he became a superhero. And he taught his grandfather how to drive a tractor.

But saving the world wasn't really Lawson's style. He preferred to stay close to home. So during his third year he took a summer job washing cars. 

Still, every now and then, the world still needed his help--like the time Bops got lost at the farm. We thought we'd never see her again, but thank goodness Lawson went out and found her and brought her home.

During his fourth year, Lawson decided to become a train.

But once he realized the schedule was too stressful, he gave up the railroad, preferring to get around by bike. Once he took the training wheels off, there was no stopping him.

In fact, when he didn't show up for dinner one day, we had to send Davis out to look for him. He finally caught up with Lawson in Highlands, NC.
By the time he was five, Lawson was in high demand. In fact, the City of Savannah threw a parade for him (well, sort of). Notoriety wasn't his style, though. Lawson's always been the kind to prefer relaxing with a cold one with his dad.

The sixth year brought school, lost teeth, and a penchant for gambling. At Aunt Sabra's house, he won the poker tournament, and on our trip to Sanibel, he won the weekly crab race (and on his 21st birthday, we're taking him to Vegas)!

Year seven marked his first communion. But more importantly, he took some time during the summer to master his sculpting and chiseling skills. 

Year eight was the year of the water. A master on water skis, Lawson thrilled spectators in Georgia and South Carolina. Alas, because of his age, we would not allow him to perform at Callaway Gardens.

He told me I had to let him go at some point, but I just wasn't ready at the time.

During Lawson's ninth year, he made a big splash, not only as a master jumper off Aunt Kelley's dock, but also as baker. 

At the decade mark, we noticed Lawson was attracting too much attention with his X-ray vision, so we got him a pair of glasses, just to help him blend in with the regular crowd.  But they had little effect. Lawson's coolness could not be disguised. In fact, Davis was so impressed with his brother that his hair fell out!

To his credit, Lawson offered to loan him a hat.

Lawson's eleventh year took him to the Big Apple, where he took in a Broadway play, toured the Met, enjoyed some fine food and saved the Statue of Liberty from falling down. Thank goodness he arrived when he did!

By the time he was twelve, Lawson was the idol of all the teachers. He amazed them with his sharp critical thinking skills and willingness to challenge himself in all subjects. One prime example was his science fair experiment, where he investigated whether the different chokes on a shotgun had an effect on the spread of the shot.

The result:  The choke makes no difference at all. Hunters worldwide rest easier now with that information.

Thirteen was a big year for Lawson, and he celebrated the way any teenager would want to--with an homage to his favorite movie, Ferris Bueller's Day Off. With his five closest friends, Lawson ditched school and took in the cultural sites of Savannah, Georgia, ending the day with a refreshing swim in Betz Creek.

But alas, by the time fourteen came around, it was time to say goodbye to middle school. Lawson graduated top of his class, and the teachers went into the back room and cried. On high school. Lawson's freshman year introduced him to ROTC, lacrosse, and his first date.

And now that we've turned the corner of that fifteenth year, we're looking at driving lessons, contact lenses, maybe a summer job. He no longer wants to be a train, but Lawson's still a superhero in our eyes, and we look forward to seeing what the next fifteen years will bring

Happy Birthday, Lawson!

Friday, March 21, 2014

BC versus Harvey (Otherwise Known as Sticks and Gnats)

"So, is this one of your hotter days?"

That was  a third-quarter question asked near the goal as one of Harvey School's players conversed with a BC Cadet. We parents couldn't help chuckling. On its spring break, Harvey School of Ketonah New York sent its boys' lacrosse teams below the Mason-Dixon line for a little southern hospitality and some lacrosse practice. They met up with the BC Cadets on the first day of spring.

After a rainy St. Patrick's Day and a couple of chilly follow-up days, we Savannahians relished the blue skies, 76 degree temperatures, and the chance to get outdoors again. Of course, the boys on the field, having run about 16 miles in as many minutes, were a little warmer than we. But still: "Is this one of your hotter days?"

I've been in New York when it's hotter.

I happened to get a shot of the conversation.
I just wish I'd been able to hear our cadet's reply to that question.

Clearly, Harvey School's lacrosse team has much more experience and skill, as evidence by the final score. I stopped counting at 12-2. I was pleased the game wasn't a shutout. Yesterday's game was a learning experience for our boys. But the Harvey team learned about something too:  gnats. As we on the sidelines swatted, slapped, and counted the tiny pink bites on our skin, the Harvey boys in blue had to push through their plays with the irritation of those invisible nuisances. And the gnats were out in full force yesterday. They're not used to hiding out for such a long winter.

The Harvey boys also weren't expecting our sand covered field, which has become much more grainy after so much wear and tear this spring. When a BC cadet dropped his mouth guard in the sand, he and to suck it up and put it back in his mouth. A Harvey boy had the same misfortune a few minutes later. He tried to get away with playing without it. The official caught him, though, and put the boy in the penalty box. 

I wonder how long that young man brushed his teeth last night. 

Here's Lawson going after Harvey's #11.

Two BC players scored for the Cadets yesterday, and they deserve recognition here: 
  • Jack the Ripper (11) scored the team's first point among loud cheers from the parents, who were afraid for a moment the team would go home with a big goose egg. Jack saved us from that. 
  • And then there was John Sharpley (29), who scored in the second half of the game. John's shown some real aggressiveness on the field, so it was just a matter of time before he slammed that ball in the net. Way to go, Sharp-eye Sharpley! (By the way, our roster shows that John is #31 on the team, but he's really 29. Please make note of that on your copy).
  • Our goalies are showing much improvement this week, so I need to put in a shout out to Athen Abercrombie, who stands at that goal waiting for a solid rubber ball to come sailing right at him. Although the Harvey team get a number of scores past him, Athen also stopped just as many. He's making great strides there. Go, Athen!
  • One more shout out goes to Robbie and Alison White, who always make sure all the parents have a roster of both the JV and varsity teams, complete with parents' names. Not only did they extend that effort this year, but when new players joined the team, they went back to their list, corrected it, laminated each one, and handed them out a second time. When Robbie handed one to me, he said, "This one has mistakes on it too, but we'll just have to deal with it. I'm not going to make these again." No worries, Robbie and Alison. We appreciate the effort. You're rock stars.
Other highlights of the game:
  • All JV players showed much more aggressiveness on the field yesterday. Lacrosse is such a high impact game. In fact, when people first watch the sport, they're a little surprised that the players can hit each other with their sticks. But once you get use to it, it's surprisingly a little fun to yell, "Whack him, Lawson! Poke him!" Lawson did a lot of that yesterday.
  • And while I know I should take the officials' calls more seriously, I do get a little amused at how Coach Daly will get in their faces when he disagrees with their decisions. Coach is also a lacrosse referee, so he knows when the calls are good and bad, and I appreciate his going to bat for his team (pardon the mixed metaphor). But when the game official threw a flag on Coach, I had to chuckle just a little bit.
This is just after one such incident.

So now the BC Cadets pack up and head to Atlanta, where they will play St. Pius and Collins Hill. I'm sure the JV boys are looking forward to their first road trip. I hope they win like they pounded on Bluffton High School last week. The Remlers won't be able to attend the games, so if any parents have photos they want to share, please send them our way! 

Go Cadets!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Top O' The Mornin'

On this rainy St. Patrick's Day I sit at my computer wearing my green Peanuts(c) tee shirt and hoping for the best for my freshman BC Cadet who awaits his turn in the parade. Call me and Stephen bad parents, but we just didn't see the point in standing in the rain for an hour until our drenched son walks by. So sorry, Lawson.

Because weather forecasters have been predicting today's rain for the last week, the Remlers decided to celebrate St. Patrick's Day Tybee style, so this past weekend we packed a cooler, some folding chairs, a big salad and our cameras, and we made a day of it on Butler Avenue for Tybee's annual St. Patrick's Day parade.

The delight of this event is manifold:

  • It's only an hour long, as opposed to Savannah's 3-4 hour production.
  • Lawson doesn't have to march in it, and that makes him happy.
  • It runs down Butler Avenue, a four-lane street, which gives the parade participants much room to walk
  • The wide street gives spectators much room to spectate
  • Parade participants are allowed to interact with the spectators, even giving out beads, candy, and tickets (from the Shriners' Keystone Kops)
  • The Remlers always have a place to park because the parade runs right by JoJo and Pop Pop's house
  • That means when the parade is over, we simply go inside and feast on fried chicken

Who wouldn't love that?

To top it off, the sun was shining and the temperatures were in the '70's.

Our friend Kimberly Saxon took her five year-old Holden to his first parade, and he had a ball. Who wouldn't. He sat in his chair and watched entertainment walk by, and periodically, someone walked up and handed him a goodie, which he stuck in his pocket. By parade's end, his little blue jeans were weighed down with lollipops, Tootsie Rolls, and plastic green beads.

And to top it off, he got to ride up and down JoJo's elevator.

Good stuff.

I have only one recommendation to the city of Tybee Island: Make sure all city employees understand the event is intended to welcome visitors, not turn them off.

Prior to the parade, Tybee residents and tourists had lined up along Butler Avenue with chairs, coolers, strollers, and the like. We Remlers were at the end of 10th Court, and some other Tybee residents (we didn't catch their names) had set up camp in an adjacent parking space.

A Tybee Parking Services employee approached them and told them that if they intended to sit in that parking space, they had to pay the meter.


No traffic is allowed on Butler Avenue during the parade. Did this guy really want us to believe the city intended to check meters during the event? And what did the island stand to lose during that one hour? A buck? Two? Puh-leez.

Of course, our neighbors ignored his warning and enjoyed the parade without incident. But that one moment of stupidity gave the city a little black spot. And if that parking attendant spoke to every family standing in a parking space, well, that's not very good for tourism. Just saying.

Fortunately, everything else about the parade was fun and upbeat, and we're glad we got a chance to wave and cheer at the grand marshal, the Beach Chair Brigade, Father O'Brien, and a fat man who really should put his clothes on.

We'll miss all that Savannah excitement today, but we'll catch it again next year. For now, Tybee's parade served as a great substitute.