Currently, I’m living on a quiet island on the coast of South Carolina. There is not much for entertainment on this island: 3 miles of secluded beach, loggerhead turtle nests and lots (I mean lots!) of migratory birds. And alligators. Alligators love brackish water so the tidal creeks and marsh are perfect. Alligators also are rather territorial so they mark their spot and tend to hang around that area. We have an alligator in our backyard lagoon we call “Al.” Last year, it looked like Al hit it off with “Sal” and welcomed her into the lagoon. We’ve had a periodic sighting of “Gal” who is either an offspring or someone vying for Al’s attention. But, I digress.
Besides alligators and migratory birds, we also have tourists. We call these tourists “Vs” (as in “visitors.” This all relates to a miniseries and short-living TV show “V” about aliens but that’s another story!) The Vs rent beach houses by the week and quickly learn that it’s a different pace of life here.
Yesterday while working in my garden, some Vs came to take a look. One V was practically jumping up and down. “Are the alligators here?” I said “Well, I hope not. At least not here in the garden. Listen, if you see an alligator in the garden, run!” She wanted to know where to go to see the alligators. I pointed her to the closest creek and said she’d find plenty there. Off they went with anticipation of their first alligator sighting.
People who live on this island really don’t care for the alligators. When I head out at the crack of dawn to row, I have to peek around the corner to make sure Al is not in our carport. I have to remind guests not to let their little kids hang out in our yard unattended. Small dogs need to be on leashes. In short, I find alligators a serious nuisance.
But the tourists love them. And, believe it or not, they will try to feed them. (Seriously, some people leave their brains at home when they vacation.) Hence, the sign. You can go to jail for feeding an alligator. Can you imagine? “Hey, buddy, what are you in for?” “Feeding the ‘gator.” (Nodding heads.)
I always make sure to close the garden gate when I am tending the garden. It’s bad enough to fend off the migratory birds who think sitting in the middle of my garden plot is a delicious idea. But, the thought of an alligator traipsing around my garden peas? Not on my watch!
As for the tourists? In the south we have a saying and it certainly applies here. “Bless their hearts.”