Thursday, July 7, 2011

Postcard From the Edge

Current read: "The House of Mondavi" by Julia Flynn Siler/2007
Best song randomly heard: "Love Your Way" by Psychedelic Furs/1982

My guests have left and what am I to do with myself?

Well, being the responsible sort on occasion, I first sat down and wrote out an assignment.

And then suddenly remembering that I am on vacation, I did an about face and did what I could to make myself attractive enough to go out and face the world. At the beach, it doesn't take much.

The rain had just begun, along with an occasional flash of lightening and approaching thunder.

So I could stay in the cottage alone to watch Mother Nature's display or risk going out in the serious weather and see what happened.

Guess which way I went.

A little over half a mile away, the crowd at Ocean Boulevard welcomed me in. Many people were just finishing up dinner when I arrived, but a stool was found for me and I immediately had company.

After ordering some Martin Codax Albarino (hay and honeysuckle, yum), I found a bar stool and was pulled into conversation with a group from Cleveland. Yes, as in Ohio, but I maintained an open mind.

The two guys who started talking to me turned out to be far more interesting than I could have hoped for. One was a gym teacher and the other designed and built sports fields.

Sports fields, I asked? Yes, like baseball, football and even volleyball courts were what he designed. He'd even written three books on the subject of turf grass management for university classes.

As I learned, there's even a degree available in that subject. No more Future Farmers of America, these guys have degrees in sports turf management. We're talking at places like Ole Miss and VA Tech.

And while I can be impressed with an unusual career choice, I was bowled over to learn that my new friend was also a member of Left End, a hard rock band that once opened for the Eagles.

He told me of '70s gigs where they played for 20,000 people. He told me  of being part of the local bands featured at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

As these Ohioans drank beer, I moved on to Hullabaloo Old Vine Zinfandel, rich, peppery and almost 15%. Go ahead, judge me.

I met a guy from Dallas who tried to convince me that I liked Dallas, but after multiple visits, I know better.

We did discuss how frggin' flat it is and I had to offer props to the Nasher. Beyond that, he might as well have been speaking Swahili for all I believed him. But he tried hard.

The beginnings of a storm had morphed into a full-on weather event with  a major lightening hit in the back parking lot (the Left End guitarist and I witnessed a direct hit that resembled a fire ball and caused the bar's register to cease working). No one was going anywhere.

As the mood became more festive (the hail! the rain! the wind!), people who had ceased drinking took it up once more. Me, I just moved on to more of the same.

I somehow became designated the resident expert on where to eat, drink and sightsee on the Outer Banks, so I provided opinions on whatever was asked of me. The Ohioans began to act like I was some sort of oracle.

Eventually, the rain slackened and it seemed possible to head home.

About that time a Delaware resident sat down next to me and began posing all kinds of questions. I must look far more knowledgeable than I actually am.

We chatted for a while before I decided that I needed to get home, not because I had guests (I don't) but because I'd had enough of strangers and was curious to see if I'd heard from any friends or loved ones.

And because all good beach nights end up with wine on the back porch staring at (and listening to) the ocean.

 Sometimes I have good company and sometimes, like tonight, I wish for it. I must  need a new guest.


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