A little back-history for the moment...not recapping my last blog, but about Dauphin Island itself which I found interesting. It wasn't named for dolphins per se, although by the way people pronounce it, you'd certainly think it was. Just like people pronouncing "croissant" the way most people in America do...I have an issue (which has been handed down to me from my mother who was born in Belgium) about pronouncing French words...well...the French way. But I am getting a little ahead of myself...
...the island was originally mapped in fantastic detail by Spanish explorer, Alonzo Pineda, the first European in documented history to visit it in 1519. In 1699, French explorer, Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville renamed it...quite appropriately..."Isle de Massacre" based on the fact there were human bones heaped up in piles lying around. This "officially" kicked off the island's French history and colonization along that area...but being named "Massacre Island" seemed a tad too icky and didn't sit well with the locals...and in 1707 was changed to "Dauphin Island" to honour their then heir to the French throne, "the Dauphin". Ironically, the Dauphin used a coat of arms with dolphins on them, hence his nickname "le Dauphin" meaning of course, "the Dolphin". Over the next 100 or so years, Dauphin Island's "ownership" (via lots more piles of bones I'm sure) changed from France to Great Britain and then in 1780, to Spain. Finally, in 1813 the United States seized the territory around Mobile Bay, encompassing the island as well...and now we have it - and there you have it...a little history about an island you possibly haven't ever visited...and some have never heard of. But something you might have heard of...the quote "Damn the torpedoes...full speed ahead". Well, Admiral David Farragut uttered that phrase just a few hundred yards away from Dauphin Island, which is home to Fort Gaines, built between 1821-1848 and subsequently occupied by the Confederate forces in 1861 until being captured by Federal troops during the Battle of Mobile Bay. This battle was also Farragut's last hurrah...after which he retired upon returning home to New York in 1864...dying only a few years later in 1870.
So we have now come full circle as to why you see symbols of dolphins all over the place there and not some rich dead French dude. As far as the pronunciation...well I'll still pronounce it the way I want to until they change the spelling. And speaking of spelling, nothing makes a bus load of little kids go "Ooooooooooooooh they are showing a bad word" more than a big brick wall outside of Fort Gaines with the word "Damn" on it. Good thing this wasn't a trip to New York City or Los Angeles. And speaking of trips...back to my trip story.
My daughter's teacher (and one of the Science Olympiad coaches) was nice enough to let me follow him on the way up to Dauphin Island (and this guy followed behind me)...and we were all ready to do it on the way back...but her teacher first wanted to stop at this quaint little sandwich shop on the island to get a sandwich instead of eating at a fast food place, which, of course, all the kids wanted to go...so our plan was to get our food there and then consume it at the place we ended up going for the kids. So...off we go and get our sandwiches and then I proceed to open my car door and I set off the alarm...something I've never ever ever done before...and my auto-door-alarm doohickey just broke the week prior...as luck would have it...and I couldn't "disarm" it. So...this was so incredibly prescient, as right before we left I checked the owner's manual to find out what to do in case I set it off...I kid you not. AND, true to Murphy's Law...what they recommended...or at least what I remembered reading...failed to do anything except let the exceedingly loud alarm continue within feet of this little place with old ladies on the porch sipping tea. This alarm, by the way, turns itself off in three minutes. Three minutes, which seem like 15 when you are the loudest thing on the island, unless you count the cannon they fire at Fort Gaines (yes, they do and yes, it is pretty insanely loud). So, we...the teacher...the other guy...and me (and all our passengers) sit around waiting for the time for the alarm to go off since it didn't cut off as the manual said...and yes, I did dig it out after the first few seconds and recheck...and yes, I did as it said all along.
And after I try to start the car, about five times unsuccessfully...since the engine cuts off when the alarm goes off...I figure...well, this is totally unsuccessful...and start doing all manner of other things to get the darned thing to stop the alarm and allow me to start my car and go on about my merry way...none of which work...I am forced to (well, it was easier to get my husband, Doug, to do it as he knows the people at the dealership) call my husband. Meanwhile, since Doug never answers his phone when he sees it is me calling...the guy (whose name from the other point on until the end of this story will be known as "the guy") starts suggesting we yank fuses out to disengage the system and try to bypass it. I am thinking "oh, I bet that would really make the system mad and it would probably not work again until some Dodge guy came over and keyed some 'magic Dodge combination' to get it to ever start again". Luckily he listened to me and didn't have the faith in his own mechanical know-how to even attempt to open the trunk without a diagram.
Doug finally answers the phone and he agrees to call the Dodge people to see what I'm supposed to do...after telling me that I should probably do what the manual tells me...like I haven't the brain-power (and apparently the teacher or the guy hasn't either) to have thought of that on my own by then. After another 10 minutes, and a couple more three-minute interludes of alarm mishaps (yes, I'm still trying to get the stupid car to do as the manual suggests)...he calls back and tells me that I should do what I've been trying all along...which doesn't work. And if that doesn't work to go and lock and unlock the door then start up the car. Well, locking and unlocking the car turns off the alarm...but lo and behold...doesn't allow you start the car...which, by the way...you guessed it...sets the alarm off again in the process of turning the ignition switch. So...I get a revelation: Get one of the kids to unlock the door from the inside after I relock it...figuring that someone has to be INSIDE the car and thus might bypass the whole stupidness. Well...that doesn't work worth a damn (in the torpedo sense because I'd like to start going "full speed ahead") as the alarm sets itself off and the car automatically shuts itself off again when I try to start it. So, I'm about to resort to Plan B...which is to systematically do the lock/unlock to each of the doors and then the trunk...when I say "oh let me try this a couple more times on the driver's door...when it finally figures out I must have the key and if I have the key...I MUST have the key...and duh...I should therefore be able to use said key to start my car and leave whatever place I've already disrupted for the last 30 minutes. Which I did. Luckily I will probably never see these people again as long as I live because I am probably now going to be front-page news in "The Dauphin Gazette" or something with the word "IDIOT" plastered next to it with a nice cell-phone photo of us all standing around looking totally dumbfounded like none of us could figure out that all we had to do was press the "Panic" button to turn off the alarm (they'd never figure out it wasn't working after all).
Anyway, needless to say, when we finally arrived to the fast-food place I was more than reluctant to lock my car...but I mustered up the courage to do it anyway...and was exceedingly proud of myself to not set it off when the time came for us to leave. The simple things in life...for the simple...I guess.
And needless to say we all arrived much later than our rendezvous time of 4:30 at the school.
But it could have been worse...much worse. I could have been on Dauphin Island until the following Monday waiting for some guy (not to be confused with "the guy") from Mobile to get the part from Detroit to work on a 1996 Dodge Grand Caravan.
Lastly...and ironically, the sandwich I purchased from the quaint little restaurant...was on a croissant.
A Bit About Me
- Mariann Simms
- Along with my daily duties as founder and head writer of HumorMeOnline.com, in 2003, I took the Grand Prize in the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest (also known as the "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night" competition). I've also been a contributor to "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" and the web's "The Late Show with David Letterman". I also occupy my time writing three blogs, "Blogged Down at the Moment", "Brit Word of the Day" and "Production Numbers"...and my off-time is spent contemplating in an "on again/off again" fashion...my feable attempts at writing any one of a dozen books. I would love to write professionally one day...and by that I mean "actually get a paycheck".