Wednesday, June 24, 2015

And We Swam

What happens in Pungo stays in Pungo.

I'm fine with that, agree with it even, but if you feel that way, why on earth would your car sport a bumper sticker advertising the fact? Not mine, though plenty of my day at the beach will remain at the beach.

Why go? Let's see, city swelter versus ocean breezes and surf? A willing partner and a forecast of 102 degrees made it a no-brainer.

Most topical bathing suit spotted: the Confederate flag bikini on the woman behind us who used f*ck every third word, including to her young children. A class act, we got the feeling she was making a statement about South Carolina.

Collecting on a bet: Looking around at the moderately crowded beach when we arrive at 11:30, I place a wager that we'll outlast 80% of the people around us. At day's end, with 95% of beach-goers gone, I win and he pays up.

Best music overheard: It's a tie between the Hooters' "And We Danced," which was playing at the market when we went to get watermelon to complement our fish tacos and bean burritos scored at Bandito's Taco stand just across the beach road and Hendrix's "Foxy Lady" playing at the Sandbridge Island Restaurant, where it was karaoke Tuesday.

Understatement of the day: Heading down to the surf after setting up camp, a man coming out of the ocean shook his wet head in my direction and smilingly tells me, "It's cool but it's delicious!" All that registered was delicious.

Cinematic anniversary moment: Mid-afternoon, we're deep in our books, contemplating yet another dip in the ocean when the nearest lifeguard blows her whistle in alarm mode, gesturing for everyone to get out of the water. People rush to shore yelling, as if it's a scene from "Jaws," appropriate since this week is the 40th anniversary of its release. Actual cause: sting rays. Yawn.

Benefits of delay tactics: I use the heat as excuse to begin my walk late in the day - 5ish - and then find it so refreshing walking in the surf that I'm gone an hour and a half, returning as the late afternoon sun is deepening the ocean's blues and greens and the shadows on the beach. I adore the color spectrum of happy hour.

Curtsying in the sand: Along the way, a man waves to me from his beach chair. On my return trip, he stands and bows from the waist as I pass.

No, it's not a mirage. I spot what appears to be a beagle frolicking in the surf but know perfectly well that beagles are not water dogs. Sure enough, when I get closer I find a woman and her beagle far enough out that only her tail and nose are above the foam. The dog's, that is.

Amazed because my beagle only entered the surf when he thought I was in grave danger, this dog's owner says her beagle loves the ocean and I am witness to it.  "She's a weird beagle," she confides. All beagles are weird in some way, I assure her. It's just the beagle personality.

For the next hour, we watch in fascination as this beagle chases a ball (what?), ducks under waves and general breaks every beagle/ocean rule known to nature. This alone would have made my day.

We stay through sunset, our chairs at the water's edge because it's low tide and we want to absorb every bit of beach we can before heading home.

Final thought on returning with bits of Pungo attached: It's probably just me, but I find few things as soul satisfying as the pleasures of a day that results in me being covered in sweat, sand and salt. Delicious.

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