Monday, June 9, 2014

Rock With You

Busy as I can be, it's amazing how much I can enjoy doing nothing.

With the entire day ahead and no real plans, I suggested the Lilly Pad to my lunch date as a way to be outside eating, drinking and enjoying a river view on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

As we pulled up to the big parking lot filled with monster trucks and boat trailers, I spotted an empty glider table but by the time we got over there, a quintet of bikers had staked it out as theirs.

You snooze, you lose.

Fortunately we had hours to wait them out and nothing better to do so our first stop was inside to order a bottle of Douglass Hill Chardonnay, their only white wine offering besides bubbles from the same place, along with a couple of pounds of spiced shrimp.

Right behind us were the fine folks from Anderson's Neck Oyster company ordering the same wine.

The Lilly Pad tends to be more of a beer and mixed drink crowd, so I got the feeling that the Lilly Pad wasn't used to so many people ordering bottles of wine.

Back outside with our pink sand bucket full of ice and wine, we were greeted by a crackly boombox playing Boston and chose a table and umbrella near the glider.

Not to meddle in other people's affairs, but I soon told my date that it was only a matter of time before I'd have to go work on the tuning of that boombox.

A server came out to let us know our shrimp would be up soon and to ask if we wanted melted butter or cocktail sauce. When we both chose the latter, she made a crack about how one of us was skinny so that's why she didn't want butter.

I called out to her to bring me melted butter then. Don't challenge my eating habits, sweetie.

With some nice honeysuckle notes, the wine wasn't half bad and watching the jet skiers, spotting herons and a crane perched at the river's edge and the coming and going of boats of every kind made for easy entertainment while we peeled shrimp and listened to cheesy rock music.

You know I hate my classic rock, but there couldn't have been a more appropriate soundtrack for where we were,so I was happy with it.

It was during a Stevie Nicks' song that I finally got fed up with the snap, crackle and pop of the boombox and put myself in charge to go do some fine tuning. Much better.

Just after my companion went inside for more wine, the bikers decided to head out and I moved in on their glider like a pro. One of the bikers stopped to admire the contraption, noting to his girlfriend, "I could build one of these." I told him my date had uttered the same words an hour earlier.

By the time he returned with a full bucket, I was already rocking back and forth as more bikers arrived.

The Lilly Pad is a casual place and our server had let it be known to everyone outside that she would be off duty soon and once she was, she brought her Coors Light and cigarette over to join us on our glider to chat for a while.

She was a hoot, a blond Highland Springs girl who'd been mostly happily married for 27 years ("Well, it can't be good all the time") but her husband was away working in Kentucky and she was working Sunday at the Pad to help out her sister, one of the regular waitresses, a flaming redhead.

When the occupants of the other glider table got up to leave, she insisted we move to that one because it was right on the river and therefore even more desirable. She'd been unhappy with that table anyway because they'd camped out for hours and spent very little money.

Understandable. She was the boss, so we moved.

While we were closer to the water, that also meant closer to the gas fumes when the boats started up but the breeze was much better and no denying it was a great view. Besides, we'd earned it at that point, having been in residence longer than anyone except the staff.

We watched an interesting looking boat arrive, my date noting its tug-like bow and party boat-like stern, so I dubbed it a mullet boat - business up front and party in back.

It was a colorful crew that got off it, taking the table next to us and getting a bucket of Bud Heavies while engaging us in conversation so we soon knew the boat's story (a steal of a deal) and theirs (raising a granddaughter).

When one in their group put her head down on the table for a wee nap, they had to get going. They were planning to grill hot dogs on the boat and people were getting hungry.

Sit at the Lilly Pad long enough - I think we clocked in at just over four hours -and you're bound to hear some interesting stories.

You may deplete their limited wine inventory, you may be unexpectedly joined by strangers, hell, you may have a guy lick his chops as you pass by on your way to the bathroom, but so what?

From what I know of the Lilly Pad, it can be a good time all the time. Okay, maybe not for 27 years.

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