Sunday, November 29, 2009

Doin' the Cabbage Patch

Traditionally, the Campbell family heads to the beach for the week of Thanksgiving.  (In years of doing this blog, I can't remember if I've said this before, so forgive me if I have).  Usually, Yours Truly and The Lovely Steph Leann join with Tyler, the brother-in-law, Big Daddy Ron and Mama Ruthie (the parent-in-laws), Angie (the sis-in-law) and her husband Randy, and their two kids Nephew Benjamin and Niece Madeliene, load up on a Sunday, travel to Edgewater in Panama City Beach and part of the family stays in a cushy, top corner floor four bedroom condo, while another part of the family (Angie, Randy & the kids) stays in a cushy, top floor, just down the hall condo, and we spend the week enjoying the sun, being lazy, doing a little shopping, cooking Thanksgiving dinner, eating Thanksgiving dinner, eating Thanksgiving leftovers and then packing up on Saturday for a return home.

My first holiday with the Campbell family came in 2003, when we were in a Sandestin condo, but then I enjoyed the preferrable PCB place in 2004, 2005 and 2006.  We broke tradition in 2007 and went to The Most Magical Place on Earth for the week, and in 2008, due to taking a job with The Happiest Place in the Mall, I watched while the family rolled down to Panama City Beach on Sunday, and I had to join them Tuesday, only to come back on Thursday night, while the rest of the family returned a few days later. 

Here is the entire family, taken at the country club where we had Thanksgiving dinner (more on that later).  From left to right, Big Daddy Ron, Mama Ruthie, The Lovely Steph Leann, Yours Truly, Nephew Benjamin (in front), Angie, Niece Madeleine, Randy and Tyler

This year was different.  Big Daddy Ron and Mama Ruthie have been friends with the Young Family for a while, that being Bill & Terry, and The Lovely Steph Leann were friends with their kids Jason & Jennifer.  Terry lost a battle to cancer some time ago, as Jason married Jada (she's white, by the way.  you know you were asking) and Jennifer married Jake, and they all had kids.

This year, Bill, Jason & Jada and the kids and Jake and Jennifer and the kids had worked it out with The Campbell Family to meet up in a couple of cabins in Ellijay, Georgia.  I had no clue where this even was, and had I not heard The Lovely Steph Leann say, "it's north of Atlanta", then I would have been even further in the dark.  As it stands, The Youngs, The Smiths (that being Jennifer & Jake), The Campbells and The Wests (that being Randy & Angie and the kids) went to Ellijay, Georgia, on Monday, leaving Tyler and myself to come on Tuesday.  Tyler had finals at the U of A (they got 12) and I had to dish out some magic on Tuesday. 

Tyler and I left around 315p Tuesday afternoon, and utilizing the GPS, we traveled down I-20, through Atlanta, stopped at Waffle House for a large dinner (tried the buttermilk waffles for the first time... eh... terrible aftertaste) and arrived in Ellijay later that evening.  There are cabins all up and down the side of this small mountain, and the little truck on the GPS looked as if it were following a crazy squiggly line--which is essentially what we were doing.

Anyway, we arrived, unloaded and relaxed.  It was a quaint little cabin, on a riverside (the name of the cabin was "River's Edge", which only reminded me of that 1980s Keanu Reeves & Crispin Glover movie where one of them killed his girlfriend and asked his friends to help hide the body--Happy Thankgiving!) with several bedrooms (The Lovely Steph Leann & I took the basement room, while Tyler took the gameroom/den area just outside), several bathrooms, a front & back porch, and a fire pit area.

So, Wednesday morning, as I mentioned in the previous little snippet, I had to choose whether to go sit in a golf cart for five hours while everyone else played a sport that I have no interest in (why can't someone in this family say, "Hey, the guys are going to play tennis"?) or go visit a landmark that I have no interest in.  I chose the latter, mostly because later that day, we'd be touring Dahlonega, a little town with an antique square--and I kind of enjoy antiquin'...

And here are some snapshots of Babyland General Hospital in Cleveland, Georgia...

It kinda looks like a mansion, or a plantation house.  It might have been both, who knows.  Anyway, they were in another location until apparently last week, as as soon as you walked in, I smelled fresh paint.  The lady (nurse?) at the desk told us they had been in this building for about 4 days or so.  There was a huge open field in front of it, and I immediately thought, "Man, that would be awesome to play flag football on that field."
Poor Nephew Benjamin.  He's a Power Ranger, Ninja Turtle, Lego Bionicle, Ben-10 lovin' little 8 year old, and this was not the place he wanted to be.  He came knocking on our door early Wednesday morning, asking, "Can I go with you and Aunt The Lovely Steph Leann?  Mama and Madeleine are going somewhere I DO NOT want to go!"   I laughed and said, "Well, unfortunately, I think we are going there too.  But you can hang out with me, and we guys can make fun of everything."

If only that kid had a blog site.  Later, while in the midst of the doll horror, he rmarked, "I'm so ready to go.  There is NOTHING here for me, there is NOTHING here I want."  I said, "I feel ya, man, I feel ya." 

Lots and lots of celebrities have visited Babyland General, including, but not limited to, Robert DeNiro, Shari Lewis, Hugh Hefner, Pat Benetar, Steve Martin, Stevie Wonder (he didn't see anything he liked), Tony Danza, Buzz Aldrin, Tom Hanks, Patti LaBelle, Michael Jackson (he only wanted the boy dolls... what?  too soon?), George Bush, Bill Clinton and yes, Bo Duke himself, John Schneider.  And John Schneider's mullet.  There are at least a hundred 8x10 autographed photos on the wall, but I didn't see anything past 1998--and I only say 1998 because Michael Jackson had it dated on his photo.

Somehow, its not cool to visit Babyland General Hospital anymore. 

I came upon this kid on the shelf, and it frightened me slightly.  Perhaps that is because I'm in the middle of re-reading "'Salem's Lot" by Stephen King, and excellent vampire story. 

This is one of those dolls that, if you were trapped in Babyland General overnight, and the doors were locked, would come alive and lead the Evil Doll group in an effort to maim you.  Happy Thankgiving!

And another thing... these names!  "Brady Holden" is at least acceptable... but "Lon Anton"?  What about "Willodean Ruth"?  "Skye Joyce"?  I mean, I guess you could say that some of these kids get beat up by other Cabbage Patch Kids, but chances are, other Cabbage Patch Kids have terrible names too. 

I found this whole place kinda creepy.  Here is part of "The Cabbage Patch".  The heads, though you cannot see it in still photography, are rising a little up and down out of the cabbage leaves.  No kidding.  They come up a little, they fall, they come up, they fall. 
I came upon this little basket of what is supposed to be Christmas Ornaments.  Little plastic balls with babies inside.  But when I saw this, I didn't think "Christmas Ornament".  I thought "The Matrix".  Harvesting these kids, plugging them in and sucking the energy out of them. 

And the $9.99 tag on them was considerably cheap.  Some of these things were going for up to $79.99... some of them are handcrafted (by little Mexican and Chinese children trapped in hot basement, working for 3 cents per hour and a promise to bring their illegal family over, no doubt) and have soft, cloth faces. 

Some of them are only slightly handcrafted, and have hard, plastic faces.

All of them, however, are apparently "born".  While I was using the powder room, I heard the announcement, "Attention, if you would like to attend the birth of our newest Cabbage Patch Kid, please gather around the big tree in the middle of the room."  I thought, "Oh, this should be good." 

I joined the large group by the big tree, and witnessed as... well... I bore witness to a... a cabbage leave... giving birth... spitting out an actual doll.  It was kinda weird.  Then, she asked for names, and some kid yelled out "Zinc!"  The Lovely Steph Leann and Angie corrected me when I whispered "Zinc?", as they said, "No, Zeke".  The "attending nurse" asked for a middle name, and some other kid yelled "CJ!", so the newborn Cabbage Patch Kid became "Zeke CJ".  Only, it was in fact "Zinc", because I saw it on the birth certificate.  I told The Lovely Steph Leann, "When you want to know what NOT to name your kid, you come here."

Of course, when you can't find a good name, you can always go with a solid wrestler name.  This CPK got named "Keven Nash", which made me immediately think of Kevin Nash, part of the former tag team champs The Outsiders, co-founder of the nWo and then later, The Wolfpac (which had the coolest theme song for a faction in the history of the wrestling universe).  Anyway, I guess being named "Keven Nash" is better than being named "Diesel", or "Big Daddy Diesel".  Then again, that's kind of a cool name... Diesel $.  Not sure The Lovely Steph Leann would go for it, but hey. 

And finally, here's a cute little picture managed to take... not sure you can see it clearly, but let me describe for you what I saw.  I see these cute/creepy little Cabbage Patch Kid dolls, sitting side by side.  Now, most of these things look pretty similiar, but different color eyes and a different outfit can easily fool the common five year old into thinking his little Cole Jaxon is different from that other four year old's little Max Butch.  However, I spotted these two, looking exactly alike.  Both have big tags that say "Limited Edition", and both, in the bottom left corner, say "I'm One of a Kind!".  Do you know how many of these things I found, pink dress, brown eyes, baby rattle and such?  Fourteen.  Fourteen that are "One of a Kind".  I counted.  There might have been more.

Since this is already a long blog, I'll stop... I'll keep writing the rest of the weekend for your reading pleasure, and post it later...

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