August 21 Editorial

This week I, like 40,000 other people, ventured out to everyone’s favorite little beach bar for Kenny Chesney’s Flora-Bama Jama. It was inconvenient. It was hot. It was crowded. But it made for one fantastic weekend that I can’t wait to experience again next year.
When the announcement was made that free wristbands would be available online at 8 am, I like a million other people, logged on promptly at 8 in hopes of snagging a ticket to one of the coolest beach concerts of the year. By the time I finally got through, not only were all the wristbands gone, the waitlist was full too.
Thinking that my concert dreams were over, I put the idea out of my mind. That is until my best friend called with news that she had rented us a condo that came complete with six wristbands. I was in.
When the Friday before the concert rolled around, I packed my overnight bag and made the treacherous one mile trek to the condo. I hit the elevator and headed up to the 17
th floor. Even though we only live a mile away from the beach, there’s nothing like seeing the beautiful scenery from way up there. Not to mention the amazing breeze and intoxicating sound of the surf. Nothing compares.
In less than five minutes, I was sitting in the sun with a beer in my hand. This weekend was going to be amazing. Five beers later, we decided to get something to eat before we drank ourselves silly on the first night. Like a herd of tourist, we took to the street to walk to the nearest restaurant. Again, the drinks kept flowing.
The next morning we all woke early looking like Courtney Love circa 1997 with a pounding in our heads that could’ve been a stampede of elephants. Knowing that I needed to get myself together fast, I did what any weekend warrior would do. I downed a Goody’s powder with a little “hair of the dog”, put on my sunglasses, and lathered up with sunscreen for the long day ahead.
We called a cab and within minutes we were passing through those legendary doors into a sea of people that made a Mullet Toss crowd look like a ghost town. We made our way inside, not realizing how hot we were about to get because in a horrible twist of fate, the air conditioners were broken.
We made our way to the bar to get a drink to keep us cool. We ordered Bushwackers, only to find that they were no longer frozen, but a cup full of milky mush. Seeing as how I had sweat pouring off of my face, I guzzled it anyways.
Two hours later, the concert had yet to start and we were nearing heat stroke status. People were dropping like flies. At one point it looked a scene from the Hunger Games. Someone would hit the floor and in swooped the paramedics to scoop them up within seconds, leaving no evidence that there had ever been an issue.
I turned to our now melting group and suggested we attempt to brave the enormous crowd outside in the sand to reach the water for a little relief. We all formed a line like kindergartners, holding hands while dragging each other through the crowd so no one got lost, and made a bee line for the beach.
It took nearly an hour, and at one point seemed like a huge mistake, but when we hit the beautiful clear waters of the gulf, it was like entering the gates of heaven. The relief we felt was indescribable.
An hour or so later, Kenny Chesney took the stage to a crowd of 40,000 screaming “No Shoes Nation” fans. He started with his new single, appropriately named ‘Flora-Bama’, followed by his entire repertoire of hits. There wasn’t a soul in sight who wasn’t swaying and singing along.
When the show was over, I was impressed by the organization of the event as getting 40,000 people out of the area at one time is no easy task. Within minutes we were outside and in a cab, headed back for our condo for another crazy night of partying.
When we arrived, we all made a beeline for the showers. We ordered pizza and made plans for a big night out on the beach like we used to do back in the day. Instead, the pizza came, we ate, and we were all in our pajamas by 10 pm. Yep, we are officially old.
The party was over, but that’s okay. Truth be told, there was nothing I would’ve rather done that night than sit around with my best friends telling stories and laughing like we used to. Only now, our husbands have to hear the ridiculous, although hilarious, details. Poor guys never knew what they were getting themselves into.
Sunday came, and we all packed our things to leave. The weekend had gone by too fast and we realized we hadn’t even taken a single photo. “We have to have at least one picture to remember this weekend,” I explained. “We all look like crap warmed over,” replied my little friend, Sarah. I barked back, “Who cares….now get your booty in the picture.”
As we stood there in our old t-shirts with crazy bed head hair, no makeup, and hung-over bags under our eyes, my friend Jennifer said, “This is not going to be something we want to remember.” I think she just might be wrong about that. Like Kenny said, “A hundred years goes faster than you think, so don't blink.”