Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's Pride

"A little nonsense, now and then, is relished by the wisest men."

                                                 - Willy Wonka

My husband did something completely nonsensical today and I've never been more proud.  Greg, along with over 400 other insane folks, ran into the 56 degree Atlantic Ocean at Hunting Island State Park's 4th Annual Pelican Plunge.  The event officially benefited the Carolina Park System, but it also greatly improved the new year's outlook for a fun local bunch.  And, boy, what a bunch!

Some plungers brought more whimsy than others.  While the kids and I did not embrace the idea of shockingly cold water as Greg did, we enjoyed watching the show.  The dress of choice for many was bathrobes and shower caps with plungers in hand.   Our two favorites stood out in a crowd of nuts (and that's saying something.)  We had to meet Plunger Head Man and Viking Caveman.  It was obvious that these guys had continued their New Year's Eve parties right up until the plunge countdown at 1 p.m.

Hunting Island Park kept the party atmosphere going with a Pelican greeting the kids and a steel drum band attempting to hypnotize those about to freeze into thinking they'll be stepping into Caribbean waters.

The hypnosis didn't work, but Greg didn't care.  He was ready to take the plunge.

With the paramedics nearby and a clear path from the lighthouse to the ocean, the plungers hit the beach running.  After a brief wince, Greg joined in.  I tried to video him as he made it to the water, but I lost sight of him in the crowd.

So was it as cold as he thought?

"It was worse actually," said Greg later.  "I ran out with the first wave of folks and made it to a little over knee deep before I dove.  It was impossible to stay under.  I stayed out for couple of minutes and dove under again, but popped right back up from reflex."

When I found him, Greg was walking back up to the beach with a huge smile on his face.  I smiled back so proud of him for having the wisdom to enjoy something so silly.  He was just smiling because he had done it and, more importantly, he survived it.

I salute all of today's plungers!  I love their "Hey, you only live once!" philosophy for 2012.  If the world is over in a few months, what a great way to ring in the last year!

To read the local paper's take on the event and spot Greg in the stampede,  go to Beaufort Gazette.

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