Mermaids, Wooden Fish, and…Book Signings?
Hwy 80 East out of Savannah, Georgia, otherwise known as the Island Expressway, is a road flanked by gorgeous scenery. It leads you through Thunderbolt, Wilmington Island, and past Fort Pulaski. To the right is a vast marshland. To the left, just beyond a row of palm trees that stretch as far as the eye can see, is the South Channel and the Savannah River, where large container ships make their way from the Atlantic Ocean to the Port of Savannah. Signs on either side of the highway advertise shark fishing and dolphin sightseeing tours. A floating casino awaits its next group of gambling passengers.
Twenty minutes into the trip, the entire upper portion of your GPS screen suddenly turns bright blue. The ocean is near. But something on the left catches your eye. Something like nothing else you’ve ever seen before. Is that a ten-foot metal mermaid guarding the entrance to a…business?
You rub your eyes, shake your head, and have another look. Yep, it’s mermaid, all right. And that’s when you notice she’s not alone. So you park your car and get out to explore. And this is what you find…
Fish art. And lots of it.
Wooden sidewalks as winding and twisted as a plot in a Jeffery Deaver novel lead customers through an eclectic assortment of merchandise. If you can’t find it in this place, well, it simply never was…
Pots, pedestals, and…drums?
I think the idea is to “steer” customers this way.
You tell me.
A local artist displays his pieces on an exterior wall.
This place has a bit of everything on display.
A fish with a stop sign dorsal fin.
The man behind the madness, Ralph Douglas Jones. Mr. Jones was kind enough to give us a guided tour of his establishment, and he told me of his desire to write a book. He also told me that he enjoys hosting combined book signings and wine tastings at his place. He admitted that more wine gets tasted than books sold, but his heart is in the right place.
When we were finally done with the tour and listening to several fascinating stories, I commented to Mr. Jones that his “store” was stocked with everything except the kitchen sink. That’s when he led me to the only corner I hadn’t seen…