Monday, June 6, 2016

Jimmy Collins, His Gun and His Dock

Jim Collins on his home-made dock.
As is the case at the end of every vacation I can remember, I finished this one sick, exhausted and wondering what the hell I was thinking in going straight South, eight hours, into the Georgia sun. As I've said time after time, I'm not a beach guy, but Margie is from Savannah and I wanted to meet her family. Good people, I found.


Jim, wife, Nancy, and Margie.
Against all odds, one of my favorites of the group is gun-totin' Jimmy Collins, a 78-year-old retired plumbing contractor with matinee idol good looks, who married Nancy relatively recently. She is 20 years his junior and they live just off Tybee Island out in the marsh country. He carries a pistol in his belt. Even when he's in his house.

His concrete block home is about 1,600 feet from a small creek, the "last creek before the Savannah River," which you see in the short distance. The Savannah empties into the Atlantic and is a major route for east coast shipping. I asked Jimmy the name of the creek. "Doesn't have one," he said. "Why not name it Last Creek?" I said. "Good idea," he said.

A few years ago, Jim decided it would be good to have a dock from his back yard to Last Creek and he set to building. What he finished, four years later, was a quarter mile of dock, set in the marsh mud, which enables him to climb aboard his Boston Whaler and scurry around the marshes and the Savannah River at high tide, fishing, exploring and just having a grand time.

The dock and the whaler.
Jim says porpoises occasionally wander up to the end of his dock and he has seen them do a group fishing expedition, using their bulky bodies together to push fish--sideways--up into the shallows and shore where they  gobble them up. Smart boys, those porpoises.

You can sit on the end of the dock--the covered portion--for hours just watching the wildlife do what it does. Great entertainment, nice breeze, wonderful smells.

The marsh leading back to Jim's house is filled with clams and a good clam digger can harvest a bunch by just leaning out of the boat. They're there for the picking.

Herewith a few final photos from the trip south. You will note a few photos and reference to the SCAD festival near the end of the photos. SCAD is Savannah College of Art and Design, one of the best art schools in the country. It has a festival each year for graduation.

(And by the way, a day day back has meant a great deal for both the cold and the nasty mosquito bites.)
Waves crashing on Tybee beach.
"Look for us under the red tent."
This kid was rooting out a crab.
The beach from the water.
Old wood with character.
Margie and I take a stroll.
This boy flew over head, but did not strafe us.
In the back yard at Jim's house.
Margie, Meghann, Allison at a SCAD festival.
At the SCAD festival.
Forsythe Park in downtown Savannah is simply marvelous.
Moss-covered live oak does not get old.
And one for the photographer.

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