A re­cent re­minder that mag­i­cal times are never lost

The Standard Journal - - POLICE & FIRE - DICK YARBROUGH

It was a mag­i­cal time at Saint Si­mons Is­land. Of course, any day spent in the Golden Isles is mag­i­cal, but none were like this. It was a time when a group of us hung our col­lec­tive hats at St. Si­mons. We played golf to­gether, shopped to­gether, so­cial­ized to­gether and, of course, ate shrimp and other seafood treats to­gether.

Our gang in­cluded a Su­pe­rior Court judge, busi­ness own­ers, en­trepreneur­s, con­sul­tants, min­is­ters and as­sorted oth­ers. We were a di­verse group, but I have never been as­so­ci­ated with peo­ple I en­joyed more. We were a fam­ily.

It was dur­ing these days that we met a young cou­ple named Alan and Kim Worth­ley. They had opened a lit­tle restau­rant in the vil­lage called the Ge­or­gia Sea Grill. If the three rules of re­tail are lo­ca­tion, lo­ca­tion, lo­ca­tion, the Ge­or­gia Sea Grill de­fied them, one and all.

The restau­rant was hid­den away in an al­ley be­hind a bunch of kiosks that to this day re­mind me of out­houses. One mem­ber of our group hap­pened by one af­ter­noon when Kim Worth­ley stopped her and sug­gested she might want to try their lit­tle eatery. She did. Then the group did. And then was born a beau­ti­ful friend­ship along with the story of corn-fried shrimp. The lat­ter will take a bit of ex­pla­na­tion.

On one of my first vis­its, I was served a dish of shrimp fried in corn bat­ter that de­fied de­scrip­tion. Never daunted by such chal­lenges, I de­scribed it any­way. Only I slightly mis­de­scribed it, re­fer­ring to the dish as “corn-fried.” Thus, a leg­end was born.

Soon peo­ple were com­ing into the ex­quis­ite Lit­tle Ge­or­gia Sea Grill on St. Si­mons Is­land ask­ing for (a) corn-fried shrimp or (b) “that shrimp Dick Yarbrough is al­ways talk­ing about.” On oc­ca­sions, the Worth­leys would have to send out for more of the lit­tle crit­ters in or­der to sat­isfy de­mand. That is when it hit me that, dang, peo­ple re­ally read this stuff. Duh!

I have given a lot of talks around the state over the years. I al­ways leave am­ple time for ques­tions, know­ing some­one will want to plumb my keen in­tel­lect on such burn­ing is­sues as the po­lit­i­cal cli­mate in Uruguay, the In­ter­na­tional Mone­tary Fund or the mys­ter­ies of the so­lar sys­tem. In­stead, one ques­tion will in­vari­ably arise: “What is corn-fried shrimp?”

There are those who as­sumed I was get­ting free meals in turn for ex­ult­ing about the shrimp at the ex­quis­ite lit­tle Ge­or­gia Sea Grill. The an­swer to that as­sump­tion is — never, not one time. The Worth­leys never of­fered to do so and I would never have ac­cepted. That would have tainted a beau­ti­ful friend­ship.

In 2001, Kath­leen De­vere Worth­ley made her ap­pear­ance on the planet. That was a cause of great cel­e­bra­tion among us all. Our gang be­came grand­par­ents by self-ap­point­ment. I wrote a col­umn to new­born Kate stat­ing that while her par­ents had out­done them­selves when they cre­ated corn-fried shrimp, she was with­out ques­tion their great­est cre­ation.

And then as hap­pens with time, things be­gan to change. Our gang grew older and our num­bers be­gan to di­min­ish. There was ill­ness and Alzheimer’s and travel is­sues and too many fi­nal good­byes. The Worth­leys even­tu­ally sold the ex­quis­ite lit­tle Ge­or­gia Sea Grill and moved into other ven­tures. We ba­si­cally lost con­tact with them and with Kate.

That is, un­til a few months ago when I re­ceived word that Kate Worth­ley, now a se­nior at Fred­er­ica Academy, has been ac­cepted for early ad­mis­sion to the Univer­sity of Ge­or­gia. De­spite hav­ing full-ride schol­ar­ship of­fers to a num­ber of pres­ti­gious aca­demic in­sti­tu­tions around the coun­try, Kate is go­ing to be a Bull­dog. Woof! Woof!

Her high-school ca­reer has been one of out­stand­ing achieve­ment, ath­let­i­cally, aca­dem­i­cally and in the com­mu­nity. I have no doubt she will do the same at my beloved alma mater and be­yond.

The Yar­broughs and the Worth­leys, in­clud­ing Kate, re­cently got to­gether for din­ner at Sea Is­land to cel­e­brate her de­ci­sion to at­tend UGA. It was great be­ing back to­gether af­ter so many years of be­ing apart.

I couldn’t help think­ing about those of our gang whom we have lost and wish­ing they could have been there to cel­e­brate with us and to see how Kate turned out. While I miss them ter­ri­bly, I re­mem­bered a line from the au­thor Lucy Maud Mont­gomery: “Noth­ing is ever re­ally lost to us as long as we re­mem­ber it.” So true. And I will long re­mem­ber a mag­i­cal time at St. Si­mons that can never be lost.

You can reach Dick Yarbrough at [email protected]­yarbrough.com; at P.O. Box 725373, At­lanta, Ge­or­gia, 31139 or on Face­book at www.

face­book.com/dick­yarb.

Yarbrough

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