Cottage Cheese: Have Mercy!

It’s Friday and time to welcome back Cottage Cheese!

Ya’ll know how sometimes, you get the feeling that you ought to be living a cleaner life and stop some of your bad habits?

Now, I never have been one to spew profanity at the drop of the hat, but from time to time some things either hurt so bad (or feel so good!) I can’t quite express myself adequately.  Therefore, I do sort of pull a few choice words out of somewhere and let ’em fly as befits the occasion…that is, until this year.

I have been trying to improve my vocabulary and learn at least one new word each day.  I do at least one crossword puzzle a day, and sometimes two.   I even practice my new words on my friends and family from time to time. Of course, they are rarely impressed.  I get a lot of, “Why don’t you just say what the H-E-Double-Hockey Sticks (I’m paraphrasing here, of course) you mean without all those forty dollar words that nobody else knows?”

So, I finally just started using words and sayings I’ve amassed through my many years as a Southern Baptist.  Classics like “Lord Have Mercy!”, “Dear Lord, Jesus, Be My Guide”, “Well, I Suwanee”, “Hallelujah”, Bless you, honey child”, and other assorted phrases. All of which I remember from my Sunday school lessons and conversations with my mother and grandmother.  Now, I’m not promoting any one religion.   You just think of your own religious sayings and insert them where you once might have used cuss words.  For those really painful moments, such as when I hit my thumb or stump my toe, I have been know to sing out, “Jesus wants me for a Sunbeam!”

So, that’s how I’ve been trying to improve my self image and also earn a few brownie points. You know, should somebody try to get a load up to go to heaven any time soon.  I’m just saying…like most people I’ve got enough ‘splaining to do when I get there. Plus, it never hurts to get a few extra ticks under the I Been A Good Boy column.

For instance, on a recent trip to Tybee Island I had a truly religious experience.  Now, ya’ll know by now I’m referring to eating and sleeping. Or sleeping and eating, which ever you prefer.  There’s no need to lie…I’m in midst of a full conversion.  Lead me gently home, Father!

This trip, I got to stay up at the big house, Shore Leave Cottage.  It sits right on Butler Avenue, the main drag, so people watching and hot car ogling is at it’s best.

Of course, if anything, I’m reliable.  I’m always gonna run around my beach house like a kid in a candy store and start dreaming about the fun I’m gonna have…sort of like the way I used to wear out the Sears Christmas Catalog every year before Christmas.

Lordy me!  I’m gonna go swimming in that huge garden tub and turn on those jets to massage me! And then, lay around on that huge upper porch that soars out over the main street and check out the comings and goings of those sporting around below.
But…first things first.  Unload the car. Get the dogs a chew toy.  But most important…run off to find some good eatin’! And, boy howdy, did I find some!

Right there, at that big right hand curve where Highway 80 turns into Butler Avenue, is MacElwees Seafood House.  I quickly learned MacElwees is one of the best places on the island for fresh seafood, right from the Tybee waters.  The owners and staff are a very friendly bunch and they love serving folks who like to eat.You can’t go wrong with the fresh made crabby dip and raw oysters to start, but let me tell you about the Low Country Stir Fry!

It’s a huge mounding of fresh seafood in a spicy coastal sauce, sprawled on top of a bed of collard greens that also sits on a bed of red rice.  Have Mercy!  Ya’ll thought I was gonna say a bad word. Help me, Jesus! It was a powerful plate of my favorite foods and it was more than enough for two of us to eat.  What? I’m selfish and pitiful, for sure, but I have been known to share.  It’s the Christian thing to do. And, I had good reason to save room for what was to come. Dear Lord Jesus! Sanctified and holy!  Deliver me from my sins…Fried Strawberries!

I am not kidding you.  These are fresh, giant strawberries.  They’re fried in pancake batter.  They’re rolled hot in sugar.  Then, they plop a gracious helping of homemade whipped cream on ’em to cut the sweet. Insert colorful phrase of choice here, let me let ya!

Now, what do ya’ll think I did?  You are right as rain…I ate them and licked my lips and fingers to beat the band.  There goes that heavenly choir singing again.  I have been moved! I would trade every friend I have in the world for these Fried Strawberries.  Okay…for those of you who know the company I keep I admit that I’d have to throw in a little money, too.  (That’s something to add to my list.  Take inventory of my friends and see if they’re gonna keep me locked outside the pearly gates.)  I like ’em and all, but I’m not betting my eternity on ’em.

Which brings me to another great moment from this trip to Tybee Island.  Ya’ll know what it is.  Just look what those Mermaid Cottages folks did for me.

Now, turn in your hymnals and let’s all sing “Beautiful Isle of Somewhere….”

You see, it’s about trying to do better.  Hey, we can all use some improvement.  It’s about singing praises for every good thing that comes our way and saying thank you. Thank you for having the courage and the tenacity to follow through, even when times get rough.  It’s about being Thankful and Rejoicing.

It’s Cottage Cheese!