Allow me to state the obvious. The last day at the beach always comes too soon.
This year especially that was true because, for the first time in over a decade, I stayed one week instead of two and it seemed to be over in the blink of an eye.
By the time I woke up this morning, I had only enough time for one activity other than packing the car. My daily walk was scrapped for a dip in the water.
You'd be surprised how many other people were enjoying the surf with me at 9 a.m. on a Sunday morning, but given the water temperature, it was understandable.
Finally dragging myself out of the waves, I dutifully got dressed, although minimally.
The hardest part of post-beach week is adjusting to a bathing suit no longer being the ensemble of the day, all day, every day.
Heading up the road, I did the usual juggling of emotions. It's tough to give up hearing the ocean 24/7 and having endless time to read and indulge myself.
But there's never enough culture down there for me and I miss the energy of Richmond, not to mention a reliable internet signal.
The drive home up the back route is always a pleasant one, especially knowing that others are willing in sit in traffic on 64 looking at endless nothingness while I have the charm of small towns (Zuni) and business signs ("GLOCK PISTOL SALE").
Today I fell prey to the alluring billboards ("Since 1929!") of the venerable Virginia Diner and stopped for lunch with the Sunday mix of vacationers and locals.
Although they're known for their fried chicken, I'd had yard bird yesterday, so I defaulted to local pig and ordered three big homemade biscuits piled high with Virginia ham, with sides of collards and black-eyed peas with stewed tomatoes.
My server tried to interest me in sweet tea, but my Washington, D.C. birth makes that a beverage I can't stomach. I was definitely in the minority, though.
The ham was salty, the greens had plenty of tang and the black-eyed peas tasted like my Richmond grandmother's (although the biscuits were not as good as hers).
Meanwhile, the couple next to me took hands, closed their eyes and said grace before diving into their food. They said they were natives who loved the Sunday buffet at the Diner.
Fearful that I'd fall asleep at the wheel after my late night and a heavy lunch, I'd decided against the buffet despite the temptation of limitless fried chicken.
On Sundays, I guess, that's the benefit of living in Wakefield. A fatty meal and then an afternoon nap.
Oh, wait, I did that all last week at the beach.
And let me tell you, I will miss it.