I’m going to insert some filler on here because I have a sneaking suspicion that no one really gives a shit about roller coasters and people I want to kill while standing in line. So today, instead of PART 2 OF BUSCH GARDENS WILLIAMSBURG OMG, let’s look at 30ish pictures from the first part of our day in St. Augustine, Florida.
If you don’t know, St. Augustine is the oldest continuously occupied settlement in the United States and it was founded in 1565! You bet your sweetly-spanked ass that I googled that fact. I did know about St. Augustine, generally, though, all the way back to fifth grade when we did a chapter on SETTLERS in history class or whatever. For some reason, and this REALLY is singed into my fossilized brain, I was completely panicked about the upcoming test so my Aunt Sharon helped me study. She made me index cards and helped me come up with mnemonic devices, and because of this, Ponce de Leon is like a legend in my mind. I can’t remember exactly what we came up with for him other than associating him with the Fountain of Youth, but for Jacques Cartier, she was like “THINK OF MY CARTIER WATCH” and I was like “OH YEAH GOOD ONE” and even though this was just some dumb fifth grade test, it is literally something that I think about every now and then because it’s one of the best memories I have of Sharon. She was a LOT of conflicting emotions toward the end of her life, and caused me lots of grief and stress, but she was also a fucking awesome aunt for ALL of my childhood, when it mattered most.
Um OK wow, I didn’t intend for this to be all that, but cook on, Erincheffer.
The last time we drove through Florida, I desperately wanted to step but Henry was all, “Ew barf history gross gag.” This time, I got my way. The older Henry gets, the easier he is to wear down.
Plus, we had a full day on Friday of nothingness, since all of our Florida parks had been satisfied, and we wanted to eventually start our drive home that day. And St. Augustine is on the way!!
We got there bright and early, right before the rush of tour groups and school field trips, and traipsed around Castillo de San Marcos. I like historical shit as much as the next bitch, but I opted to not pay to tour the innards of the fort and chose instead to just enjoy the scenery on the outside. We had plans to go to the Fountain of Youth later anyway, and I knew Henry would go, “PICK ONE, WE ARE NOT DOING EVERYTHING. THIS STUFF COSTS $$$$. ROAR.”
It made me feel like we were on a movie set or something I don’t know how to explain it LEAVE ME ALONE.
I’ll tell you, it felt strange not running from one attraction to the next but instead, walking leisurely like regular people on vacation. Well, at least for the morning….
HI. IT ME. My feet were so broke-down by this day. It was nice to lean against something, briefly.
This one’s best because you can’t see my idiot face lol JUST KIDDING I AM TRYING TO LIKE MYSELF BUT REWIRING ONES THINKING TAKES TIME. Ask me in a few months (years lol) how it’s going.
I love this picture of me and Chooch so much because he 100% did not wish to pose next to a palm tree even though I did because I had suddenly realized that SHIT it was our last day in Florida and we had not taken advantage of any palmy photo props.
“It’s not even a good palm tree!” Chooch scoffed in disgust. Just for that I made him pose with other palm trees on his own lol.
Why is this actually an OK picture of Henry? What is he thinking here?
I’ll go first: Remembering the time he visited a record store with his SERVICE buddies and slowly flipped through all the Pia Zadora albums. Obviously this was before he went AWOL.
Then I got bored of that area so we went to the quaint little shopping/historical district and saw THE OLDEST WOODEN SCHOOLHOUSE IN THE USA OMG WHOA YOU DON’T SAY.
The first place we went to was Auggie’s Donuts but they weren’t open yet so we explored the candy shop that shared the space with them. I bought two packages of licorice: one Dutch, one Finnish, because ever since I became An Old, I have a newly acquired taste for licorice. SPECIFICALLY Finnish and Dutch licorice, and I think also Swedish? There was some DIVINE and STRONG stuff I bought several years ago at Jungle Jim’s. I took it to work thinking it would be a big hit with the rest of my International Candies but NO ONE THERE LIKED IT. Not even Glenn, oddly. So I ate it all and now that I’m typing away about this, I want very badly to go back to Jungle Jim’s and stock up on some more.
Anyway, this Tid Bitz one was SO FUCKING GOOD I WANTED TO DUMP THE WHOLE BAG INTO MY MOUTH IN ONE SITTING which wouldn’t have been that much of a feat considering “one sitting” was basically a 5 hour car ride later that day.
Finland knows what’s up.
While we were in there, the neighboring HOT SAUCE store opened and Chooch was like “FIRST” as he ran across the threshold but then wailed, “YOU HAVE TO BE 18 TO TASTE TEST.” The lady behind the counter laughed and said, “Oh you’re ok, hon, go for it.” And he basically tasted as much hot sauce as he could before he got sick.
Don’t worry, we bought a bottle of BBQ sauce and a jar of hot pepper flakes for pizza since we were close to overstaying our welcome.
Then the donut guy told Henry it would be about 10 minutes for his fryer to heat up or something, I wasn’t caring much at that point, and for some reason the desire for donuts had shifted from me to Henry, who was like, “WE CANNOT LEAVE NOW, IT WILL BE CROWDED ONCE HE OPENS” and I was like, “Dude, I’m not standing here watching oil heat up, I want to go look at stuff” so Henry stayed back at the donut place (I think he was still in that GET TO THE COASTER BEFORE THE LINE GETS LONG mentality) while Chooch and I went off on our own.
LOL, Chooch and I off on our own!
First, we went to the PUBLIC RESTROOMS! It was uneventful although Chooch felt that the mens room was haunted. I can’t remember why now but it was probably a dumb reason.
We had to walk past some stupid shops selling PRO TRUMP novelty shirts and hats because FLORIDA, but then we stumbled upon this gem: St. Photios National Shrine!! RELIEGIOUS SHIT!! The reason why I noticed it was because there was HARMONIOUS MONK CHANTS wafting out of the entryway!
It was basically calling to me.
The whole little garden area was filled with the mournful music.
Since it was still so early, we were the only people there!
THE ONLY GREEK NATIONAL SHRINE IN THE COUNTRY. If you are Greek and religioso, you probably already know this.
There was recently some sort of drawing contest for kids and the entries were displayed in one of the rooms. Not gonna lie, it was the room we spent the most time in.
A NINE YEAR OLD MADE THIS.
Amazing. I would proudly display this on my wall if it was for sale.
I only took a picture of this because some old guy in front of me did lol.
Then we walked through the gift shop and I wanted everything. But then I didn’t have my credit card and stupid HENRY was still waiting for donuts so we had to leave the gift shop. The lady was so nice too and told Chooch to go right ahead and handle the nesting dolls at his leisure and I always have to pause and regroup when this happens because to me, he is still that 6-year-old bull in a china shop and not an almost-16-year-old who can handle himself appropriately around delicate items.
I swear it was just yesterday when we walked into an antique shop in Philly and the old man proprietor locked his attention on Chooch immediately and was SO CLENCHED, just waiting for him to break something so he could force to pay for it.
I’ve definitely referenced this before but every time we made it out of shops like with nothing being broken, I always think of the time when I was a kid in Italy (Assisi I think?) and we went to some Delicate Items shop. My grandma was like TOUCH NOTHING and then continued to convey this order to me numerous times thereafter with nothing more than her lips pulled into a taut line.
Yo, I made it out of that shop with nary a casualty under my belt.
But you know who didn’t?
Oh it was delicious. The sweetest irony. She ended up knocking several glass things off of a shelf with her gigantic purse as she turned around.
GRANDMA BROKE IT AND BOUGHT IT.
Well, Grandma broke it and PAPPAP bought it, to be clear.
Then we walked off the main road onto a path that led us to some old timey textile shop run by a man WHO NEVER BROKE CHARACTER even when we were talking about Apple Pay. At first, Chooch goes, “I’m not going in there, there’s nothing—-oooh, a sword I want a sword!” so inside we want. He did not get a sword (it was actually a dagger anyway, nice try) but he did get a “booty box” and a compass necklace thingie.
We were able to handle this without Henry’s aid because, as previously mentioned, Chooch asked if he took Apple Pay and he was like, “AYE MATEY” or something, he wasn’t a pirate so I don’t know why I defaulted to arrrr speak but he was something….old timey. Anyway, Chooch had to help me use it because I never do it right and he gets soooo frustrated and then it turns into a big deal where the cashier wants to insert themselves into our bickering and it’s a hassle, which is why I always just use a physical card when possible.
Don’t even get me started on NFPs!
No really, you can’t get me started even if you wanted to because I don’t understand them and have nothing to say about that.
Meanwhile, Henry started texting Chooch threats about how if we didn’t start walking back to the donut place, he was going to eat them and Chooch didn’t answer fast enough so then Henry posted a picture of the donuts on Instagram and tagged us and we died of second-hand embarrassment. Why is he like this. Suddenly my inability to use Apple Pay wasn’t so cringey because now OLD ASS HENRY was clobbering around on Instagram, and that was way worse. So now Chooch and I were back to being on the same age-level and making fun of Papa H together.
The dynamics change super fast with us. Try to keep up.
The donuts were OK. Not really worth waiting for like Michael Myers in a bush. But OK Henry.
I wish this place was open because I would have taken a crepe over those donuts! The donuts were good, don’t get me wrong, but not like, “OMG IF YOU GO TO ST AUGUSTINE, GET THESE DONUTS.” I mean, if you like donuts in general, then Homer it up, friendos. Don’t let my blasé review sway your doughy decisions.
Anyway, after we inhaled our donut kebabs (they were actually awkward to eat, all impaled on a wooden stake like so), we excitedly lured Henry back to the SHRINE PLACE and he was like, “I’m not going in there” even though it was free to enter, so Chooch, currently on Team Erin, hissed, “MOM WANTS SOMETHING IN THE GIFT SHOP AND YOU HAVE TO BUY IT.” I’m sure Henry was nervous, thinking it was something extravagant and exorbitant, but it was just a $5 cross magnet made from sand and ocean water from the St. Augustine beach!
Also, Chooch got some religious medallion to put in his BOOTY BOX, which is also filled with all of the pressed pennies he collected on this trip.
But just as Henry was thinking he was free to leave after this transaction, we remembered that we needed cash money in order to light a candle. “Jesus Christ,” he muttered, fishing for two dollar bills which he then angrily thrust at us like we were going to run off to 1982 and buy a pack of cigarettes instead of lighting prayer candles.
“I lit mine for Ukraine, what did you light yours for?” I asked Chooch after SHOWING HIM HOW TO GET HIS CANDLE TO BURN SINCE HE “COULDN’T FIND THE MATCHES.” Seriously.
0.0 Common Sense.
“Oh, I didn’t know we were supposed to light it for something. I just wanted to light a candle for fun…”
Oh don’t worry, there was much more St. Augustine action. Fountain of Youth, coming soon!