You Might Be Traveling with a Carnivore if…

Bahama Mama CropThe über busy Lee University student has finally come through for us and delivered her reply to the prior blog, You Might Be Traveling with a Vegan if…

Mom and Dayla

Welcome guest blogger, Dayla Cole.  Looking at a major in Political Science, Dayla has the heart of a philanthropist, SAM_0653the roar of a feminist, and the compassion of an activist. She returned from a trip to South Africa this summer where she worked at Bethesda Children’s Village with other Lee University students.  I am humbled and proud to call her my daughter.

You might be traveling with a CARNIVORE if…

Your hummus and bell peppers get strange looks

Every stop at a gas station, you pay much more money for your fruit cups and oreos than your carnivore does for her potato chips and soda.

You have to explain, again, why you can’t eat those chips, cookies, cheese balls, beef jerky, ice cream cone dipped in bacon grease….

Ten little words that make you cringe: “What can you eat here? I think they have salad!”

You’re applauded for your vegan concoctions at restaurants, while getting skeptical looks from the waitstaff.

You get to talk about factory farming and unethical business practices over veggies and rice.

You get to connect with your carnivore over her genuine curiosity and open mind. When two people who love each other travel together, there is always room for discussion of ideologies and morality. That’s the beauty of traveling, vegan or carni, you will always get to know your friends better on the open road.

"I don't want salad!" Vegan IHOP adventures

“I don’t want salad!” Vegan IHOP adventures

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You might be traveling with a vegan if…

LaDonna Cole talks with her hands evidently!

LaDonna Cole talks with her hands evidently!

Ah, road trips! That ever-calling, gypsy-gene, love’em-till-you-hate’em pull of the open road journey. We look forward to them like a child for Christmas, then when our cramped and bloated bodies protest we can’t wait to get back home.

Windmills in the far far distance...I promise they are there.

Windmills in the far far distance…I promise they are there.

My daughter and I took a road trip to upstate NY. (Um, actually I don’t think it was up state, maybe west state? We got really close to Canada, so maybe?) We went to a book release party for a dear friend of mine, S. R. Karfelt. Go buy her book! Click!woa

My darling D has recently become a vegan, which is really nice for me, because I get to tease her endlessly about it.  (Can’t you imagine how much fun she had on this trip!) Anyway, I have found the ever joys and trials of being confined in a small 4×4 space for 26 hours with a vegan and I thought I would share them with you, in case you ever decide to take a road trip with your favorite vegan.

You might be traveling with a vegan if…

… you hear munching sounds coming from the back seat every hour on the hour.

…your trip partner can core and slice a bell pepper with her bare hands. (A bit scary, really.)

…2 hours into the trip, you have an intense desire to stop at Cracker Barrel and buy a car freshener.

…your trip partner insists her fumes don’t stink and come out in the shape of a halo.

…when you stop for food, you want what she’s having because it looks so fresh

…when you lay your snacks on the counter, you want to hide your Snickers under her hummus and apple slices.

And last but not least you might be traveling with a vegan if the road chat is the deepest, most meaningful and significant conversation you’ve had in months and you find yourself caring more about the world you live in as you see through her eyes.

Stay tuned! Dayla will retaliate with the next blog, You might be traveling with a Carnivore if…

Snorkeling in the Bahamas

There are two types of people in this world, Sinkers and Floaters.

A sinker is that person who jumps in the pool and immediately sinks to the bottom. They can even sit on the bottom of the pool without much effort. They dive for the quarters, get there first, then struggle against the weight of the water to get back to the surface. I’ve often thought these people would make excellent deep sea divers.

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The other type of person is the floater. These are the people who jump in the pool, lay back and float for hours. With very little effort they bob on the surface of the water, occasionally they kick a foot or move a wrist to turn or adjust, but they don’t really have to try to stay afloat, they just do.

yo yo

Now the sinkers and the floaters don’t do well in the same pool. The sinkers want to have tea parties on the bottom of the pool or play diving games. The floaters want to have contests to see who can tread water the longest or swim the length of the pool the fastest. Neither one is really all that interested in doing the other activity, because they just aren’t that good at it.

Wow. There are so many life lessons we can learn from sinkers and floaters. We can run analogies between deep thinkers (sinkers) and optimists (floaters).  Or between the research writer (plotter, aka sinker) and the off the cuff (pantser, aka floater).  Check out ObeytheMuse.com on 8-22 for more about sinkers and floaters.

But what this post is really about is SNORKELING!1375253751

I am a floater in almost every way mentioned (I do like a well plotted story, though.)  I float. You could use me as a buoy, I am so buoyant. I could be the sole life saving object on a cruise ship, I float so well.  So you can imagine how well I took to snorkeling.

We took the sail boat out with a load of about 12 other passengers and maybe 6 crew members. We used the motor for the trip to the reef. As we sped across the vibrant turquoise waters, bouncing on the waves, the thought came to me. “I was born to do this.” I was reconnecting with some primal intuition, an earlier form of me. It felt like coming home.

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When we got to the reef, I slid into the water, put on my flippers, mask, and snorkel and kicked away from the boat. I had on a life jacket, but didn’t blow it up much, because, hey, floater here!

Once I put my face into the water, I gasped through the snorkel in amazement. The colors were so vibrant, neon colors radiated from the fish and the flora. I couldn’t bring myself to take my head out of the water. It was gorgeous.

I became aware of some screaming noises, muffled by the water in my ears and finally wrenched my head up to see what was going on. When I lifted my head, there was nothing in front of me but wide open ocean. I turned around to where the shouts were coming from and saw the sail boat far in the distance. They were waving me back.  I couldn’t believe I had gone so far in such a short time.

I ducked my head back into the water and started back toward the boat.

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Some of you are aware that I came home with an injury and I promised to tell you about the shark attack. So I guess this is the perfect place to relay that story.

As I kicked back toward the boat with my head down watching a school of neon striped fish, a shadow passed through my peripheral vision and I turned in time to see something large swim away behind me. I talked myself into believing it was just another snorkeler and went back to watching the gorgeous sites around me.

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Well…the screaming from the boat intensified. I raised my head to make sure I was back on course and saw the crew from the boat screaming and jumping up and down.

“Swim! Faster!” They motioned with their arms for me to come to them. One of the young men grabbed what appeared to be a hand held harpoon and dove in toward me.

I turned to see what the commotion was about, when BAM! It hit me. I felt a sharp sting in my right ankle. The water around me immediately turned red and I thought I was on fire. Then I saw the fin pop up about six feet away, it turned toward me and dove down…

So, that would have been a great snorkeling injury story, don’t you think?  Unfortunately, my story is not so glamorous or exciting. The truth is we docked the boat, gathered our things to leave, and moved toward the queue of people filing off the boat. There was a drop in the floor about three inches. I landed on the edge, twisted my ankle and went down.  Boring! Painful, yes. But so boring.  I like the shark story better, don’t you? Let’s go with that one.1375253748

After we completed our snorkeling time, we raised the sails, passed around the rum punch and drifted off into the deep blue sea.

Caron, one of the Bahamian crew, fell crazy in love with Dayla. He followed her around, dove for treasures, proposed marriage and asked her out to dinner. He was besotted! (Why not, she’s a treasure!)  She said she was here with her mom and that we already had dinner plans. He was crushed. Poor Caron.1375253729

The underwater shots we got are pale and muted imitations compared to the vibrant intensity of the real deal. But, here are a some of the shots.

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I WILL do this again. I plan to Snorkel on every vacation from now on. It is the perfect water activity for a champion floater.1375253735

Bahama’s Adventure Continued

first glimpsThe boat pulled into port and docked. We stared out the tiny window of our cabin in turns while the other dressed in the tiny space afforded us.  Already we could tell there was something different about this water. Striking blue.

Tiny port hole

The port was small but festive as we made our way through customs in what could best be described as a prefab warehouse. Once we were out of customs, we loaded on a bus to go to our resort.

view of port

Gus was friendly and full of Bahamas life and attitude. He climbed into his seat and launched on tall tales of the greatness of the Bahamas, including stats and import/export information. He hooted and called out of his window to “Bahamas Mamas” in the true spirit of a NY construction worker. Then he ended our ride with a song, that must be the national anthem or something.

“Shame and Scandal in de Family” tells about a boy who wants to find a wife, so he finally meets the woman of his dreams and goes to his father for advice. His father tells him he cannot marry her. “That girl is your sister but your mama don’t know.”

The boy finds another woman and gets the same advice from his dad. Bereft of all hope, the boy goes to his mama and confesses. His mama tells him to marry who he wants. “Your daddy ain’t your daddy, but your daddy don’t know.”

There is a Bahamas Mama!

There is a Bahamas Mama!

Cute. But over the next few days I came to understand that is a large part of the culture. Most Bahama’s men are looking for “wives”.  Not to spend the rest of their lives with but to “marry” them.

Happy people, the Bahamians I met love to party, drink rum, and laugh and dance.

Ocean

We spent our first morning on the beach while we waited for our room to be ready.  I’ve never seen anything so beautiful in all my days; soft whisper of tiny waves caressing the creamy sand; the pristine water that revealed beautiful tropical fish swimming around you; fruit filled palm trees soughing and shading; the dazzling union of sky and sea.

beach hangout

I stayed in the water until I was a prune, then went to lie on a lounge chair. I had just reached a state of Zen when a loud clanging wrenched me out of my bliss and a Bahamian accent yelled. “Time for de Coconut Toss!” Several people got up, including me, and threw a coconut into a hoola hoop. Hey when in Rome…

resort grounds

That afternoon, we went shopping in Port Lucaya. We had dinner at “the Best Greek Restaurant on the island.” We perused the shops and bought some wood work carved by the man tending the shop! And he had a stick and knife to prove it. (lol) We had slushy drinks from an actual coconut coconut slushyand  fingered the straw work while we talked to Friendly Bob. (That was his real name and he had the name tag to prove it.) He talked and talked and gave us some Great Bargains on the made-in-China straw handbags.  I bought one just because he was so friendly! He stitched Bahamas on one side and La on the other side and called me L.A. from that moment on.  (Even the next day when he saw me from afar. “Hey L.A. come buy a hat!) I told him he took all my money the day before. He laughed and said he knew he did and wanted a shot at today’s purse.

We also talked to George who accosted us in the middle of the shops and wanted to sell us an adventure. He told us all about the “real Bahamas” and wanted to take us to a night club and dinner where the natives hang out…for a price. These Bahamians love to chat, especially when there is money to be won. It works out for me. I love to listen to their accents and stories and watch their friendly smiles.

our room

We got back to our condo and made plans to go to the fish fry/live band at the Coconut Tiki Bar, but after snacking on grilled peanut butter and banana sandwiches between showers we both crashed and slept through the festivities until a wake up call the next day. (Wild women! Gabby George would have been so disappointed.)

A free breakfast was served along with a two hour time share presentation. (Lesson learned, never accept a free anything, you will pay for it in time wasted.)

sky palm

We changed into our snorkeling suits and took a taxi back into Port Lucaya and boarded a sail boat. Captain Cato and his crew, Terry, Caron, and several others took us out to a reef, geared us up and sent us out into snorkeling haven. (I still have to develop my underwater camera, so I will post a separate blog on our snorkeling adventure.)

After our harrowing adventure with sharks and such, ahem…stay tuned… I hobbled back to the hotel room and began ice pack/ heat pack therapy on my ankle and Dayla cooked the most delicious marinara pasta dinner and we watched a movie while I elevated my foot. I was determined to have a sunset stroll/hobble on the beach, so we made our way back to the beach and stayed until the sun disappeared over horizon.

The next morning found me hobbling back to the beach with an ankle doubled in size. I was not going to let a silly broken foot steal my beach time! But other tiny tragedies and emotional labilities accompanied by the pain of a bum ankle did manage to steal our bliss, so we drowned our sorrows and our $80 left over voucher trying the famous Conch lunch plus other various Vegan items at the Coconut Tiki Bar before we caught the bus back to the port.

menu at tiki

Joe Goes was our driver. He had a bit more interesting information about the flora of the Bahamas, then he also regaled us with what we now knew to be the anthem, “Shame and Scandal in de Family”.

A long slow hobble up the plank, dragging luggage, found us back on the ship in a huge (relative) cabin with a wide window and a gorgeous view.

view from tiki bar

The Bahamas hold so much culture and free spirited adventure. I hope to return and take George up on his offer one day, visit Friendly Bob and buy that hat, and spend most of my time snorkeling in the gorgeous brilliance that is the Bahamas.

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Bahama’s Research Trip Journal

sky palmDay 1

We load the van and head down the road. Half way to Georgia, Dayla’s daddy calls and wants to know where she left the spare key to her car.

“In my purse.” She lifts her purse.

So we turn around and drive back home to leave a key.

Take Two, we head down the road…

South Georgia has the strangest trees. Tall pine looking evergreens sport draping moss in the tops. A patch of them makes me think we have mistakenly driven through a portal and now we are on another planet…couldn’t get a picture of ones with moss. But I found out in the Bahamas that they are called Tropical Pines and they are fire proof and if you see them on an island it indicates there is abundant fresh water.

Tropical pines

We did rent a book from Cracker Barrel to listen to as we drove. It is a tradition. The first book was so bad, we actually back tracked a mile and a half to the next Cracker Barrel to return it. We saw the Cracker Barrel sign as we passed it. Took the next exit and followed the road back. The huge sign rose from a clump of trees near the freeway, but we were sure the actual restaurant was with the hotels. So we turned into the hotel district thinking we could get to the Cracker Barrel from there. Only, there were no entries, no Cracker Barrel, no way to turn off the road. We drove a few blocks, then a few more and took the first right turn looking for that elusive road that would wind us back toward the hotels/Cracker Barrel.  About a mile later, we turned down the first right, wound through a neighborhood, deep in a forest of tall evergreens. My inner radar kicked in and I started giving blind instructions.  “Turn here…and now here…if I am right, the Cracker Barrel should be right there.”  The trees parted and viola! Cracker Barrel! My daughter was so impressed with Mom’s super navigation power.

Day 2

When we leave the hotel in Ocala, Florida the GPS warns us “there will be toll roads on this route.”

How bad can that be right?  Excited to catch a glimpse of Orlando, maybe see the Disney Castle from the freeway or the dome of Epcot, we are confused when the only thing we see is a sign saying “Disney World exit here”.  We looked around at concrete walls and the tops of palm trees. No sign of a city. Isn’t Orlando a big city? Shouldn’t we see something? A sky scraper? A city limits sign? Nope.

We finally get to our exit and the sign says, Speedy Pass only. We pull off thinking there will be another toll booth, but nope. Just signs that say, “violators will be prosecuted. Tolls enforced by camera, do not stop.”

So we drive through and wave at the camera, hoping that when they send our ticket in the mail we will have a chance to explain. Shouldn’t toll roads come with instructions? Maybe this toll road is a portal to a different planet?

We get to Palm Beach and drive straight to the Port Authority, or so our GPS says. But when we pull up- there are barbed wire fences and a gated entrance that looks very like a concentration camp.  Containers are stacked around and cranes. No cruise line. We back up, slowy, with much trepidation, pound in new instructions to Gyspy, the GPS and turn around.

Gypsy is confused. So I open up the inner navigator super powers and we find a delightful little touristy place called Peanut Island. After we drive around a tiki pirate bar about four times, we ask a valet for instructions to the cruise ship Celebration. He points behind him and there it is. The biggest ship in sight. How could we miss it? We drive over to it and gain our bearings, figure out where to park and where to go to get boarding passes for when we come back on Tuesday.  I begin to rest easy. We know where we are and there really is a ship called Celebration going to the Bahama’s on Tuesday.

Day 3

It’s two AM. I sit in my hotel room in a near panic. What if the travel agency was a scam? What if there really is no cruise leaving for the Bahamas in 12 hours? What if we got played? What if…what if…what if…

Can you tell I have a hard time trusting? I spoke to Al, the travel agent in Ooltewah about fifty times as he planned this trip for us. We hashed out details and he told me I was very thorough and asked questions most people never think of. So I stopped hounding er…calling him, after just a few more important questions and confirmations.  (Poor Al, I’d send him a Christmas Card this year if I wasn’t worried that one more contact from me would push him over the edge and have him filing a harassment suit.)

So we took our voucher and confirmation numbers to Florida, drove by to look at the ship, asked where we would be parking, got a room a short drive away and now we wait. Excitement builds as we kill time in Palm Beach, get our Bahama’s pedicures, buy a hat and shades and dipped our painted toes in the hotel pool.  Now, it is time to sleep and gather rest for the big day ahead and I lay here ruminating.

What if? What if? What if?

I’ve never used a travel agent before. I’ve always planned my own trips or  been with a group who planned the trips. This is my first adventure trusting my travel plans to a stranger. This time tomorrow, we should be pulling into the Port in the Grand Bahamas.  Will this research trip give me better insight for writing that scene on Crescent Beach in Ampeliagia or will I learn another lesson in why I should not trust people?

Day 4

After checking in our baggage, getting pulled to the side to remove the hunting knife from the Hurricane Survival Emergency pack (really should have checked the contents of that), having a wonderful conversation with security about “what is a beautiful lady doing with such a huge weapon” (flirt!) we finally board the ship. IT IS REAL! We are going to the Bahamas! Our cabin won’t be ready until two and our baggage will be delivered shortly thereafter, so we ascend to the upper deck for a sunny lunch. Hmmm, I packed a can of sunscreen in every bag but my purse…the only bag with me at the time… after 30 minutes my vampiric white skin is fiery red, so we move our bodies to the shade to await our room.

Sunglasses

waiting for our cabin

The cruise was amazing, the water smooth, the sky brilliant. After our muster station lecture, we found lounge chairs on the forward upper deck, kicked back, sipped tea and enjoyed the view.  The pink sunset gave us a rosy glow (along with the sunburn) and we chatted with various ship staff and guests and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

sexy feet

That night in our tiny cabin, I finally found my sleep zone. The gentle rhythm of the waves and the reflection of the wave dance on the ceiling lulled me into travelers coma.

Our bus came for us at 845 am.  Let me pause here and iron out a few details. We left Palm Beach Port around 6 pm, we reached Bahamas, Freeport around 730 am. Thirteen and a half hours to go 55 miles? We talked to a crewman about it. He said the boat…enters a time portal at the international border…er…no…but wouldn’t that make for a great story on this blog?  Actually he said we stop in the middle of the ocean for several hours before moving into port. The casino is open all night…hmmm…a connection maybe?

Well this blog journal is turning into a novel, so I will save the Island stories for the next blog. Tune in soon for tropical adventures, shark infested snorkeling, the longest breakfast from Hades, friendly Bob and chatty George.

Bathing in the Splendor of Bath, England

Life has been crazy! I can’t believe it has been five months since the London trip and I still have stories to tell.

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In prior blogs, I touched a little bit on Bath, England, but wanted to devote a special blog to just the small town of Bath. (Pronounced Bahth as in Awesome or Always.)

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We rode the tour bus through the patchwork country side clicking and videoing every bushy sheep, fat pig, and rock wall that presented itself. I was struck with how much England looks like places I’ve been in America. Then I realized just how old the settlements are in England and felt a sense of awe. As Trudy the tour guide talked of ancient rites and peoples, my imagination went on a romp.

I was suddenly walking across the moor in a long gown and riding boots, leading my black stallion down to a small river that ran along the valley. Then I was an outlaw in Robin Hood’s band of merry men drawing my bow, taking aim at a stag. I galloped alongside King Arthur, armor clanging, as he chased the Picts over the wall. I was a Druid priestess drawing a hawthorn stick from which to fashion my staff.
 

Trudy got my attention back when she said a photo op was coming up of Bath and if we would get our cameras ready, we would be able to get a good shot.

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With camera poised over my head, I looked through the window and was overcome with the beauty and timelessness of Bath.

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An entire city built of honey colored limestone, Bath welcomes travelers into another period of time. Bath Stone is made of Oolitic Limestone that was quarried from surrounding mines. It is a freestone, which means it can be sawed and squared up on any side.

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Bath is a World Heritage City with Roman Bath’s lending its name. We only had an hour in Bath, so we opted to not do the 45 minute tour of the Roman Baths in order to explore the streets and beauty of the city.

Dome in the Roman Bath

Dome in the Roman Bath

In the same square of the Roman Baths, stood the stately Bath Abbey. With history dating back to 675 AD, the church was dedicated to St. Peter. Over the centuries, it was burned, ravaged, over taken by Saxons, Romans, and various other peoples. It was in a state of ruin by the time Oliver King became bishop in 1499 and refurbished it to the same building that stands today as an active parish church.

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The architecture is fascinating. On either side of the main entrance, two Jacob’s ladders ascend into the sky with cherubs climbing up the rungs to get to the top.

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When Oliver King, Bishop of Bath and Wells, visited Bath in 1499 he was shocked to find the church in ruins. He took a year to consider what to do about it. In October 1500 he wrote to the Prior of Bath to explain that a large amount of the priory income would be dedicated to rebuilding the cathedral.  ~~Sacred-Destinations.com

He completed the refurbishing of the building and signed the building with his seal. (Very few people could read, so icons were used to identify the architect.)

Oliver King's Seal

The olive tree with a crown indicates Oliver King.

Released into the city with two hungry teen age boys, and this our only lunch break for the day, we set out to find a pub worthy of the Bath experience.  Roman and Italian food seem to be the favorite, but we already had our fill of pizza for the trip, so we sought a place for Fish N Chips and Bangers and Mash.

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We found it! Can you believe that our escape from pizza turned out to be named The Crystal Palace?

Tummies full, we set out to explore more of the glorious sites of Bath.

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We entered a square and were serenaded by a street performer. Listen to the tranquility that exists right smack in the middle of the city.

Click link below to eavesdrop on a peaceful minute in Bath, then press the back button to return.

A minute of tranquility in Bath, England

We reluctantly left the peaceful square and walked a block to the River Avon and soaked in the serenity of the area. The Pulteney Bridge drew our attention with its rushing current and ancient stone arches. We later found out they used this very site in Les Miserable movie as Javert’s suicide bridge.

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All too soon the tour guide beckoned us away to the bus. I stood and gazed at the city built into the hillside and knew that my Bath experience was strikingly limited.  The city sprawled on and on and I had just seen a few blocks of the amazing beauty of Bath.

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Soaking in every detail as we pressed through the streets, I left with a sense of wonder that a place of beauty, history, and peace could exist in this hustle-bustle world.

If you get to Somerset, then plan a day for Bath, England. You won’t regret it.

Inspired by a Blue Monkey and a 14 foot Snake

I was inspired to write a short story by Devin Berglund’s blog on Blue Monkey Writing. Check it out!

She talked of her trip to the coast and the stories she gathered and it reminded me of a story I saw at the Tybee Lighthouse in Georgia. Here is my version of that encounter.

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View from the Tybee Lighthouse.

Swamp Monster!

by LaDonna Cole

Kip hunched over and blew warm breath into his fingers then reached for the light house door.  It opened into his face and he lurched back.

“Ho!”

“Sorry Kip,” Keeper Mark apologized. “I’m so cold, I couldn’t wait for you another minute.”

“No worries,” Kip laughed. “The sun will be up soon. Should warm a bit then.”

“I’ll go see if Mary has some porridge ready.”

“You’d best leave Mary alone. She won’t take kindly to you traipsing around her kitchen.” Kip slapped Marc on the back and passed into the base of the light house and began to climb the spiraled stairs.

He could just imagine the uproar that would soon be pouring out of the kitchen. Mary of the red hair and Irish temper was a great cook, but she was not one to wrangle with. Kip would sooner wrestle a swamp monster than tangle with an Irish cook. He pictured the monster in his head and drew a comparison between the fiery Mary and the Slimy Monster. Yep, Swamp Monster, any day!

A hissing sound drew him up short.

He stopped and listened, turning his head left, then right.

Ssssssss.

Was he imagining things? Maybe the back of his coat was rubbing against the stairwell. He stepped forward and heard the hiss again.

SSssssss.

He climbed up and peered around the corner to the upper levels.

Ssssssss.

What in heaven’s name? Kip climbed three more steps craning his neck to see around the winding stair case into the dark heights.  The third window landing came into view and he could see the swath of light sweep by from the great lamps above, then the bright moon, low on the horizon.

Sssssss.

The moon blinked out suddenly, then reappeared. Something was in the window moving back and forth.

Ssssssss.

Kip swallowed and took another step up to get a better look. The lighthouse beam cut across the ocean and back lit the creature.

The largest snake Kip had ever seen sat coiled in the window landing. It lunged at him and Kip fell backward and went down hard on the steps, thumping down several before he could stop his fall. The long creature kept coming and Kip let out a yelp and tore off down the stairs screaming. “Swamp Monster! Swamp Monster!”

He hit the bottom of the stairwell and burst through the door.  Henley the grounds keeper drew up next to him.

“What’s the ruckus, Kip?”

“Sssnnake! Fourteen feet long!” He pointed behind him into the lighthouse.

“Aow!” Henley grunted in disdain. “Y’ ain’t gonna let a little garden snake turn ya yeller, are ya?”

He tromped up the three stairs and backed out. “Holy mother of…” He burst out of the door. “It’s huge!”

Kip ran through the Keeper yard. “Snake! Snake! Snake in the lighthouse, it’s huge! Fourteen feet at least, bring a spade!”  Keepers poured out of the barracks with whatever instrument of attack they could find.

Mary and Mark ran out of the cooking house. “What’s going on?”

Kip grabbed Mark’s collar. “Man, didn’t you see that huge snake sitting in the third window landing?”

Mary yelped and ran back into the kitchen.

“It’s fourteen feet long if an inch, I tell ya!”

“No, I didn’t” Mark snapped his head toward the lighthouse where Henley and three other men with various farm tools stood at the door, pointing and yelling.

“Come on!”

“Let me get the shovel.” He ran to the tool shed.

The screen door slammed and Mary came out with a steaming pot of boiling water.

They all converged on the lighthouse and stood in the grass at the bottom.

“Ya ready?” Henley paused with his hand on the door knob.

Several nods and determined faces met him.

“Ahhhhhh!” Henley opened the door and three men rushed in hacking as they went followed by an army of pitch forks, old boots, and torch sticks.

A flurry of strikes and blows rang through the lighthouse accompanied by grunts and yelps. When the dust cleared, Henley exited with the fourteen foot snake, minus ten feet, draped across his spade and tossed it to the ground.

Mary doused it with boiling water just to be safe.

The lighthouse was once again secured against intruders, even the slithering kind.