Jul. 20, 2003: The G-8 is Coming and I Know Just What They Need

Just when we thought that the biggest pests on the Georgia coast were deer flies, now we learn that the G-8 Summit will inhabit Sea Island for a week next June. For those of you who haven’t been paying attention, the G-8 are the eight highest muckety-mucks on the planet, and the summit is a chance for them to discuss economic and political issues and drink a little beer.

First, you need to know which countries make up the G-8. They are, of course, the United States — the biggest and baddest of them all — as well as Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United Kingdom. It is only because the Brits are a part of the organization that I resist the urge to call the group Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

The G-8 Summit will attract a crowd like a dog attracts fleas. There will be diplomats, journalists and demonstrators running around all over the place. Diplomats won’t be much trouble. They are generally well behaved. That is why they are called diplomats. Journalists, on the other hand, are a royal pain in the behind. They whine constantly about the weather and their accommodations. The world media will be staying in Savannah and will find covering the summit extremely hazardous, because they will have to travel down I-95 to get to Sea Island. Tailgating semis and SUVs will run over most of them.

Gov. Sonny Perdue has said that demonstrators will be welcomed to vent their spleens at the G-8 summit. What Gov. Perdue didn’t tell the ragtags is that their demonstrations will be confined to McIntosh County and if they act as ugly as they did in Evian, France, last year, some good ol’ boys are going to put a serious hurting on them and chunk them and their bad attitudes into the Sapelo River.

The G-8 leaders are going to spend a lot of time in their meetings talking about war and peace and about how ungrateful tinhorn countries want our money, but won’t lift a finger to help us when we need it. Things are bound to get a little tense. At that point, they need to call time-out and bop over to the exquisite little Georgia Sea Grill on St. Simons Island and order the corn-fried shrimp. Munching on corn-fried shrimp and swapping stories about the hilarious things that happen to you when you run your own country are good ways to develop some much-needed camaraderie.

I assume that the summit has built some free time into the agenda. All work and no play makes for cranky world leaders. The golf courses at Sea Island are splendid, and the Magnificent Eight should make plans to play, if at all possible. After the round, they can have a drink on the veranda at The Lodge, watch the sun set over the marshes and listen to the bagpiper playing “Amazing Grace”. Life doesn’t get any better than that. One word of caution about golf at Sea Island: Call ahead for tee times. The courses stay busy, particularly Thursdays. That’s when the seniors play. The folks in reservations need to be aware that there will be two foursomes and not to put the weasel from France in the same foursome with President Bush. Also, no cut-offs or tee shirts on the course, and take some bug spray just to be on the safe side.

I have high hopes for the G-8 summit at Sea Island next year. A little golf, some corn-fried shrimp, watching the sun set over the marshes while sipping one’s favorite libation and listening to “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipe might just bring us peace on earth. Admittedly, I am not a world leader but a few days at the coast sure helps my own disposition, and it can’t hurt the G-8 folks a bit.

Which brings up a concern. I am afraid that the VIPs may fall in love with the beautiful scenery and the wonderful hospitality at Sea Island and decide to extend their stay. If so, somebody needs to remind them that after three days, fish and guests begin to smell. Even muckety-mucks.