Common sense Visit to Southport NC

One year ago I wrote a post about sharks and the attacks on oak island. It boiled down to two points: common sense and respect. Now, not long ago, these things were taught by old locals to visitors for everyone’s safety and well being. We aren’t teaching these things well today. So, if you’re new to the south or the area, here’s a few tips:
🐊Alligators-I love these creatures and have rescued, wrangled a few, but they are wild and sometimes dangerous. Don’t feed them! They equate us with food when we feed them. They are often sunbathing and slightly sluggish in the heat of the day, but don’t let the fact they resemble logs fool you! They are lighting fast. They drown their prey in a violent death roll and store them in their lair until they’re ripe and tasty to them. They love rancid meat. Keep an eye on them and keep your distance and don’t fiddle with them. Leave them be.
🎣Fishing-don’t surf fish in the middle of the day on the beach in the midst of swimmers. Surf fishing was respectful in yesteryear; they’d fish in the morning and evening but left the midday to families playing. Go offshore or do not drop line by swimming children. Wait. Or go to a pier. Share the ocean and respect families swimming. You catch fish and they send distress signals to bigger prey. Now that prey can’t tell the difference between a blue fish and my child’s leg. Simply go on a boat, a pier or wait. If you drop line between kids in my presence I’ll walk over to the line with my knife and cut it. Have some respect!
🍤Chum-rotten fish bits or ripe meat and blood dumped to attract fish. Chumming is great for commercial fishers or offshore but has no business being done by the guy from Michigan on the pier or on the shore amidst families in the surf. Again; this attracts prey that attracts predators. Don’t do it unless it’s done far from the beach. Best done from a boat, not from a bucket on the beach. Stop it. Really. Gross. 99% of chummers have no idea what they’re doing and its detrimental to people, wildlife and environment.
👙🌂Beach Gear-clean it up! I don’t care if it took you 30 min to pitch that cabana. This is harmful to nesting turtles, other creatures and makes the beach look like a dump. Who wants to break their ankle taking an evening beach stroll because the idiot family from Nebraska couldn’t break down their gear. Leave nothing but footprints.
🏊🏻Swimming-don’t swim before 8am and after 6pm safely. Those are feeding times for predators. I was shocked to see children swimming at 8:30 pm! The water is murky, darker and sharks, who are always there can’t tell the difference between a person and a yummy meal. That’s their dinner time and you’re in their house. Also pay attention to the different shades of water as they are indicative of tide lines and rip currents. Swim adjacent to shore until it dissipates
🐢Turtles-your balloons, fireworks and trash look like jellyfish, a yummy meal to turtles and they become lodged in their throats. They die. When SW winds blow strong, it pushes in brown seaweed in mass, and thusly jellyfish. Turtles, love jellies! However, sharks love to eat turtles. Little Johnny on a boogie board looks vaguely like a turtle to a shark. Point being, watch for signs in nature. Pay attention to the signs and heed their admonitions.
🙊Language-I cuss like a sailor most days in my own home but not around children. Stop yelling obscenities around children playing. Little pitchers have big ears. Have courtesy and respect please.
🌴🎶Jimmy Buffet-we are not Florida, this is not margarita ville and not every establishment needs to have this man on a constant loop.
🚘Driving-I’m just going to say it. We locals know you aren’t in familiar territory and you are sightseeing. We should employ patience however if you’re driving 15 mph in a 35, please know some of us have places to be, jobs and homes to get to and you’re racking or nerves. Keep with the flow of traffic to the best of your ability and do not cut us off because you didn’t merge in time. Don’t be surprised when you get the finger or blare of a horn
🚣Pontoon Boats-It’s not called ‘Cape Fear’ for nothing. If you take one of these pigs into the shipping channel please keep channel 16 on a radio, have Tow Boat US on speed dial and know how to contact Coast Guard. Not advisable
⛲️Tours-try to pick reputable tours with local guides, not out of town businesses that come only for summer that feed off of us like vultures do from a carcass. And if you do, don’t repeat what is said as fact, as it’s likely very wrong. Support local establishments not seedy chain shops whose profits probably fund terrorism. Invest in us, and we invest in you.
🌟most importantly, be safe, use your head, stay kind and make the best of your vacation and the best memories!

Disappointed

I’m increasingly disappointed with Southports Fourth of July festival as a local and especially as a business owner. This is our States festival and understandably, a big deal. However it was, not long ago something very different.
Historically, a small smattering of Victorians in white eyelet gathered upon the garrison lawn of ft Johnston for homemade strawberry ice cream and pound cake, the salubrious breezes, welcomed relief from the scourge of malarial fever, various period maladies and not to mention, the layers of camisoles, pantalettes and woolen knickers popular in that time. In its infancy, and paralleled in the youth of the nation itself, the gathering was quaint, subdued and symbolic; a humble celebration spent amongst families nestled between two great pillars of freedom. The protection of our fort and the protection of our river, both standing unfettered against the tides of wars through the ages.
Of course, its popularity grew into a fashionable event for families. It developed into a lovely hometown event complete with picket fences adorned with Stars and Stripes, white washed banisters with patriotic buntings. Darling parades with endearingly off-key student marching bands and silly old men in their club hats. Local craftsmen selling their little homespun treasures in the park and Charlie on his barge with breathtaking fireworks. Miss Y would sell beef egg rolls and yell at boys if they ate too much. Grandfathers would cut chilled watermelons and the little children would clammer to the waterfront for games and fishing, the occasional poagie would be a great treasure, and the proud little fisherman would be followed home by every feral cat in town. The streets would be closed and children could freely ride bikes without fear and fun loving adults could share mimosas on their porches.
Somehow, it began to change. Local businesses would be forced to close their doors and the local crafts replaced with cheap Chinese crap sold at exorbitant rates to eager tourists. Restaurants barred their doors, money spent on the Iranian corn dog stand. Wedding singers belting in out on the waterfront replacing local talent. Sweaty restless youth fighting in the streets, shooting, cussing. Gangsters on crotch rockets drag racing on side roads. Drunk men pawing and cheaply dressed women in white cut offs, so short, one can tell they need a good waxing. Junkies stumbling around Whittlers Bench and hot screaming babies in dirty diapers.
I have not worked in two days. Someone who lives here, pays taxes, spends money in local establishments and gives back to the community. I’ve made nothing. Some of these ‘businesses’ aren’t even from here: they’re from say, Charlotte. They feed off our area, take what they want and leave, like rats on a ship. They aren’t even worthy to be called vultures; vultures serve a biological purpose. These people use us, like a cheap prostitute, wipe their soiled bits and leave without so much as a coin on the nightstand. Is this really the festival we celebrate? Our sweet parade now peppered with more advertisement and endorsements. It’s a wonder Walmart isn’t sponsoring it. Rude clowns in the park who chastise children who ask politely for a face paint. New York couple who charged $38 for souvenir mugs, then argue over a $6 refill after taking my picture in uniform to promote their tawdry, sub par root beer. Which was undeniably flat.
Last year I was so afraid walking home from the fireworks on account of the drunk drivers and drag racers my child would be hit. Turns out a child was hit…and today, those cars are still racing on my street. I’ve already spotted multiple people drinking while driving. It’s not even 5 o’clock anywhere!
There’s many aspects of our towns festival that are enjoyable and wonderful for families, but it’s turned very quickly into a trash fest. Mad Max on meth. A fourth festival sold to the highest bidder and throngs of hungry feeding on the carcass that was an American town. To me, that’s not a celebration. Amongst the rancid street food, loud music, drunks in beach chairs, realtors convincing you to ‘be a real local’, cars racing and revving, and heroin addled millennials do not forget the meaning of the day, or at least have a bit of pound cake.