My Pith Helmet Story

I’m making a punch list of small repairs and improvements needed at Pineapple Hill this winter. Probably the biggest project involves clearing out the junk we’ve stored in the conference/party room.  This is an area beneath our beach house in a cow pasture.

There’s a lot to be hauled away, much of it good enough for donation to the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store in Spartanburg. Nationally, Habitat for Humanity has launched a “homes for veterans” program that I hope we’ll do locally as well.

While sizing up the project the other day, I found my long lost pith helmet. It had a mud dauber (wasp) tube built inside. I’m glad I hadn’t grabbed it on my way out to mow.

I had to laugh. Not only at its pitiful, abandoned condition, but at the story behind it:

The famous pith helmet story goes like this:

A long time ago Crystal wanted to take the children to Disney World. She set the whole deal up, perfectly, and off we went during Christmas Break. I think it was 1996. In China, the year of the Rat or the Dog or Whatever. In the United States, the year an arctic front hit Orlando–driving temps down into the teens, not including wind chill factor.

We had packed for a Florida experience, not the North Pole, so paid a premium rate for Disney brand gloves, scarves and so on, starting with light purchases–thinking the cold snap would quickly pass through-then adding heavier gear when it didn’t.

On the morning of our second day, despite teeth chattering, hands numb and a few of us starting to sniffle, we were determined to go to SafariLand, regardless that the place would feel more like a ski resort than an African savanna.

Hoping to get everyone into the spirit, I said: “I think we should all get pith helmets” …to which Crystal said “No, Tim, I think we should all get THweaters.” Heavy on the “TH”

“Yeth, TWeaters!” the kids chimed in.

Maybe ya had to be there…

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— Tim Bryant
Surf Director at Pineapple Hill