Sunday, December 11, 2016

Bald Shrimp and Benne Wafers (APIWATWOL #5)

#5 in my "A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words or Less" series. (For a description of how this series works, see installment #1)

The back of Sabra's head and her gal pals: Liz, Carmen, Nina, Kara and moi (not pictured: Stephanie)

Ok, admittedly, this isn't the best photo in terms of composition, lighting--well, everything really. But I'm sticking with my own rules for the APIWATWOL project: the main photo must be picked at random, no mulligans.

Don't let the artistic quality (or lack thereof) of this picture fool you, though. My friend Sabra's 2012 Bachelorette Weekend was one of most enjoyable middle-aged chick parties ever. So much more fun than the typical 20-Somthing "Let's Go to Chippendales and Pretend We Give a Rat's Ass About Hot Guys Dancing Half-Naked" Bachelorette Party. Oh, wait. On second thought... (But I digress.)

When a group of women over the age of 40 gets together, there's a different kind of fun. The wine is better (we make more money). The housing is better (we make more money). The stories are better (we've been through more in life).

But most importantly, the sense of connection and camaraderie is palpable, as we've each had our share of hardships and have developed a sense of empathy as well as a greater appreciation for life's joyful times. We're well past the need to prove ourselves or compete in that subtle way our younger selves might've fallen prey to, be it through looks or accomplishments or job titles. Not one blowdryer or business card came out on this trip.

The beauty of Sabra's Bachelorette Weekend was that each of us--women she'd known since college, grad school, work, even the womb (she has a twin)--was there for the same reason: we adore our pal Sabra and wanted to celebrate her happiness. And that's enough. In fact, that's the best reason.

In this particular photo, we had just returned home from an afternoon of strolling the historic district of Charleston, during which we passed another gaggle of pre-wedding celebrants, two decades younger than us, who were drunk off their butts, wearing shorts and skirts that showed half their butts, and adorned with matching bachelorette party sashes and hats that were butt ugly. Thanks, butt no thanks.

While out and about, we had also enjoyed rooftop cocktails at a local hotel, where those of us who didn't grow up in the South tried to fill up on appetizers because we knew what lay ahead. Sabra had insisted that we dine on some of her childhood favorites during the weekend, and so upon returning to our rental home, she laid out a culinary spread reflective of her roots. And her roots, apparently, included "bald" (that's Southern-speak for "boiled," y'all) shrimp, slaw (as in cole), pimento cheese (don't even), benne wafers (flat dry cookies) and pecan pralines (sticky nuts forbidden by any dentist worth a damn).

I love you dearly, Miss Sabra, but shrimp aside, this Jersey Girl would take a cheesesteak with extra white American cheese and an ice cold Rolling Rock any day. Yo.

The bride-to-be enjoys a bald shrimp and a laugh

Better Wine (even with fake customized labels)

Better Housing (beachfront Charleston/Isle of Palms) 

Better Stories (who needs bars when you have a deck?)

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