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My Big (Awesome) Redneck Vacation

This weekend Tim and I took an impromptu trip down to Florida to visit my Dad and my brother. In case you start imagining me laying on a sandy beach in Miami, try again. We headed to an area in Northern Florida where my dad grew up, which is beautiful but basically reclaimed swamp land. As in, back to the roots, in touch with "nature".

Really. The first thing that happened when we go there was a search for an alligator who managed to "escape" from the freshwater pool in the yard. Yes, my family keeps alligators (as long as they're "small" by some arbitrary standard) in the pool on occasion. No, I do not think that's normal. But we found him, took a pic and moved on. (And for the record, he's back in the swamp with his gator friends again, don't worry.)

Obviously I forgot to wear my alligator dress for the occasion....

The whole trip included plenty of seafood at hole in the wall places (which were fantastic, I'm not knocking them!) but one had a rather distinct interior decorating scheme. The idea was, I assume, to stuff and mount as many large animals as possible. This is just one picture, but imagine dead animals EVERYWHERE - including the menu. Some of the entrees included yak, bison, snake, get the idea. Luckily I proclaimed loudly that yak probably had gluten in it and I was off the hook and free to order some mussels instead.

Dead Animal Chic

My brother, me and my dad.
There was plenty of fishing on Tim's end...and I did lots of watching and criticizing. "Cast THAT way, honey!"

Tim fishing on our dock

But the real redneck fun was on Saturday - man, what a blast. We have some interesting family traditions, and we shared them at the birthday party of one of my dad's oldest friends. First up: the watermelon pinata. We always devise a new way to break open a watermelon in a fun way and eat it all by hand. Sometimes we poke a hole in the watermelon, hang it up and whack it with a bat. This time, we put the watermelon on the head of a weird Dracula-esque figure and the birthday boy got to whack it off the machete and then we all dug in. Yeah. Seriously. We do that.

Since no party would be complete without cake, we also got a little sheet cake to celebrate. We always have cake fights instead of eating it, and this was no exception. Candles were lit, the song was sung and then it was sliced nicely with a machete. (Yep, the machete was kind of a trend for the evening.) Then we ran around the yard in the rain and threw cake at each other until it was gone.

My dad on the prowl, and me in the background covered in cake!

Just in case you don't think cake fights, machetes and stuffed dead animals are redneck enough, did I mention the party was a keg party? In the rain? Which we arrived at by boat? Or that there was a pet peacock hanging out that squawked every time someone was too loud?

All in all, a pretty awesome weekend. The last couple of days have been spent catching up on work, but to top it off my computer is on the fritz. Luckily Tim shares!

Be you really like looking at people's vacation pictures?
In person, no. I always feel obligated to comment on every single one and it's exhausting. But I totally snoop on Facebook and enjoy seeing pictures of exotic places from the comfort of my couch.

Does taxidermy freak you out?
I don't like the idea of it, but we have had so many animal skins/stuffed animals/horns, etc. throughout my life I guess I'm used to it now. As a kid it would really creep me out though!  


  1. I grew up in Tennessee and this post has my entire childhood beat.

  2. I love looking at pictures no matter what :-)
    Taxidermy makes my skin crawl but I get that some people like it.

  3. This is the weirdest vacation I have ever read about. I am literally sitting at home laughing out loud. Can I please come next time?

    Thank goodness you are back and boy did you come back with a bang.

  4. snort at RunningRicig comment. I think this beats my husbands upbringing in Indiana too.
    Pretty cool post. Your Dad looks really young to!

  5. wait it's safe to pick up an alligator like that?! What the heck! I would be so scared.
    I like looking at exotic vacation pictures OR places that I've already been cuz it's kinda fun to be like, oh yeah, I've been there, I get it!

  6. I already thought you were strange, but this post took it to the next level.

    Also, you should never pass on a chance to eat a new animal. Bison, elk, anything that's prey in the wild is likely to be so tasty.

  7. THIS IS FREAKIN' AWESOME! You hillbilly, you.

  8. I want a tutorial on how to pick up a gator and not lose your hand in the process!

    1. For actual advice, you'll have to see my dad. He makes gator wrestling look like an Olympic sport. He puts a little piece of tape on their mouth so the rest of us can hold them and look badass without fear. :)

  9. The fact that you picked up an alligator just made you a BAMF in my mind.

  10. bahahahahaha. omg. i want to be in your family

  11. I love seeing other people's vaca pics it's fun and sometimes you get good ideas from them! Being vegetarian I can't say I'm a fan of the taxidermy but to each their own...

  12. Sounds like a great trip! I love looking at pictures no matter what, I'm a bit of a voyeur so I like to see everything people do!

  13. GUUURRRLLLLL - you are holding an alligator - WOW, I'm impressed!!!!
    Second, I thought your parents lived in Hong Kong . . . so your dad lives in FL? That's kinda cool!
    Third, LOVE looking at vacay photos - redeckey and all :) I can live through the joy of others. I do have a limit though - my friends try to show me like 200 and well, that is a bit too much!
    Fourth - taxidermy used to freak me out, but dang if I didn't marry an outdoorsmen and heck if there isn't a mounted coyote on top of our living room entertainment center . . . and he has been "assigned" ONE of the small bedrooms to be his man cave - the rest of the dead animals are in there.
    Still can't get over YOU HOLDING an alligator - woo girl!

    1. My mom (and stepdad) are in Hong Kong, but my dad just moved to Florida where he grew up!
      I don't know if I could handle a coyote in the living room....

  14. Okay obviously you guys are REAL Floridians!!! I feel like a poser now.

  15. !!??

    Your Dad looks so young!

  16. I love looking at pictures! You are brave. I could never hold an alligator!! I would be afraid that he would bite my arm off!

  17. oh wow, love it! I thought us Texans were redneck but your alligator-infested swimming pool may have us beat!!! still looks like SO much fun!!!!

  18. I love everything about this! While I have no desire to BE a redneck, I LOVE being around them. Texas vs. Florida rednecks are so different yet sooo the same. Looks like you have a really fun family.

  19. I can't believe you're holding that alligator! I don't really get stuffed animals as decorations, but it doesn't freak me out - my dad used to be a natural wildlife artist and had stuffed birds of all sizes hanging in part of the basement while growing up.

  20. The redneck is strong in this one. It is hard to comprehend the redneck that is our Father until it is compiled.

    At least the picture of me isn't full sped.

  21. This absolutely cracked me up and yet sadly I can relate to so much of this. The watermelon pinata thing is a new one for me!

  22. Okay, I stopped reading after the alligator picture!!! I was so stunned that you or anyone for that matter would actually hold one!! Wow, you are one brave gal. Not me, I'm a wimp. Although I did hold a tarantula in my hand last year .... does that count? Ha ha.

    My Running Shortz

  23. That's funny! I worked in Northern FL for about a year and it was pretty rednecky! I loved it!

  24. Even though is small. I would hold it. But It is a great picture that you have with him.


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