To be able to vacation along the seashore is a special kind of wonderful. Being surrounded by the most basic elements of nature brings a sense of quiet calm missing from everyday life. From the steady crashing of the ocean surf and the endless stretches of sandy beaches to the sea grasses, cacti, and other green growing things, to the pelicans, laughing gulls and sea turtles that share both sea and sky, to the sunrises and sunsets so beautiful they take your breath away -- the moment you get there you know you're in heaven.
But then there's the getting there part....
To reach this slice of heaven, you must drive THE STRIP, which is its own special kind of hell. THE STRIP -- for those of you who may be unfamiliar -- is bursting to the seams with SHOPPING SHOPPING SHOPPING EATING EATING SHOPPING SHOPPING SHOPPING EATING EATING and EATING, with a little extra SHOPPING and EATING thrown in , just in case you missed it the first ninety-seven billion times.
The Outer Banks of North Carolina excels greatly at the concept of THE STRIP. Want to enjoy some EATING EATING EATING? Try Dirty Dicks Crab House, and when you're done, be sure to buy a souvenir I got my crabs from Dirty Dicks! T-shirt for Grandma. Need some beer, but dragging that GUT out of the car is just too much danged hard work? Your prayers have shore-nuff been answered by one of the many Brew Thru drive through beer-a-terias. Got Kids? THE STRIP has it covered with a bazillion Putt-Putt golf courses, rickety Ferris wheels and go-kart tracks. Best of all, many shopping ventures have nautical names, each complete with its very own bad pun: Ocean Annies, Birthday Suits, Life's a Beach, Beach Daze, Shore-Fit Sunwear, The Lucky Duck, etc.
Lest I forget, there is always special homage to be paid as we drive past the Outer Banks Worship Center Ark (Assembly of God, in case you wondered) in Nags Head and the Outer Banks UFO in Buxton. You can't help but get all tingly seeing these two landmarks, because you know you have just about made it to the promised land.
After years of dealing with seaside kitsch, I have become somewhat immune to the lengths tacky will go to be noticed. However, this year, a new eatery, sMacNally's caught my eye.
Looking at the name, I found it somewhat unusual. The "Mac" part of the title gave it a weird Scottish flair, which, for North Carolina, seemed a bit off. I thought maybe the "sMac" part meant it was lip-smacking good, which is entirely acceptable in good-ole-boy (or gal) talk. Later I read somewhere that this eatery was located "Smack in the middle of town" which also seemed to be a reasonable explanation.
But then -- and you KNOW there is going to be a "but then" -- BUT THEN, I found the ad print
FOOD SO GOOD, IT'LL MAKE YA WANNA SMACK YO MAMA!
I thought it was a joke until I saw the picture. And shore shooting, there he is, a lip-smacking, food-toting, godawful goofy-grinnin', overall-wearin' oyster ready to CRACK SOMEONE ACROSS THE CHOPS.
Now, I will admit that I am not from The South, and maybe I'm just not hip to Bubba-speak. I'm just a Motown-loving, Rust-Belt baby from Detroit, Michigan. But in THESE parts, if you smack yo mama, you'd better have your cousin Leroy warming up the getaway car or pray the family gun is out of ammo.
You'd think that idyllic ocean living would be all that a little oyster would ever want or need. Now I'm thinking this abusive bivalve is in need of a little tough love.
With some sauce.
And a beer.
Smack yo mama, indeed.