Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Dancin' in the Moonlight

What to do when the full moon intersects with the Summer Solstice for the first time since the Summer of Love?

My first thought was to party beach-style like it's 1967. Inspired, right?

Surely even way back then, spending the day on the beach - walking, reading (although my first book, a Pulitzer prize winner, has failed to thrill me so far), contemplating the ocean, marveling at the new and lamenting the loss of the old and, of course, commenting on the passersby - qualifies as appropriately laid back enough preparation for Mother Nature's convergence.

Our local lifeguards, Lindsey and Hunter (truer millennial names were never scratched on a guard stand chalkboard) kept busy all day, she blowing her whistle and chasing down idiots who'd ignored Hunter's warnings to wade out no further than knee depth because of ferocious rip tides and he cruising in the beach patrol vehicle, his long dirty blond hair glimmering under the afternoon sun.

They were a team, all right, keeping our beaches safe for the likes of bacchanalian visitors like us.

You know the type: first happy hour on the screened porch watching the colors of the sky and water deepen before moving the party to a favorite dive bar on the sound to join a cadre of four grizzled locals with enough stories, opinions ("Don't go to Dirty Dick's!") and jokes - some of the latter pretty awful - to amuse us, the guests, for as long as we were willing to stay and listen.

Our main man, Darryl, whom we've reliably run into at this bar the last four summers, regaled us with tales of bad cookouts due to drunken grillmasters (Darryl) and bad marriages due to crazy women (all of them, he swears).

Sunset seemed like a natural breaking point, so we took one of the regular's recommendations for a new place with a screened porch dining room affording a view of a canal, a boat's image still reflecting palely in the waning light.

And while it was no Cold Duck circa 1967, thank heavens, Veuve Devienne Brut Rose provided the perfect celebration sipper for our meal of gazpacho mounded with fresh crabmeat, New Orleans barbecue shrimp (the chef had spent  time cooking in NOLA), fat Maryland-style crabcakes (despite being in Carolina) and the rib-eye our new friend had so highly recommended (his assessment spot on).

The chef came out to say hello and chat, sharing that he'd worked in St. Michael's, Maryland and used every day he had off to drive to the Outer Banks until deciding it would be far smarter to work and surf in the same place and doing so.

I can appreciate a chef with a good head on his shoulders.

Once back in Kitty Hawk, the full moon made for a beacon over the ocean during a stroll toward it on the mostly empty beach. One thing's for sure, it's noticeably less crowded this week than my usual July fourth week, although we're still spotting an inordinate amount of flag-like bathing suits and shirts.

Once back home on the porch swing, wine in hand, the former drummer chose the mood music and while it technically wasn't from the Summer of Love, thematically it could not have been more fitting: Barry White.

Crooning to us with the surf crashing behind the Love Unlimited Orchestra, Barry White sung us into the first full day of Summer.

Can't get enough of several things, but this week pleasure isn't one of them. Cue "Love's Theme" and another night of fat moonlight.

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