Sunday, April 29, 2018

RC Cola and a Pink Moon

Unofficially, Summer has been kicked off.

Friday night's dinner at Flora was winding down when one of the managers overheard me telling Pru and Beau a story involving Jello shooters at the Free Love Nursing Home, spurring her to tell me about the latest thing on their late-night drink menu: Jello shooters. And not your average vodka and fruit variety, but a Pimm's Cup Jello shooter, complete with tiny bits of cucumber on top. A grown-up shooter.

We'll take three, please.

The ample shooters were every bit as refreshing as you'd expect, but given that a Pimm's Cup is Pru's official Summer drink, it seemed only right to toast to my upcoming favorite season as part of the shooting.

Mind you, this was exactly what we womenfolk needed after a lengthy explanation to Beau about why the phrase "the rabbit died" is synonymous with getting pregnant. Pru, incredulous that he'd never made the connection between the two phrases, was gobsmacked when he said it seemed illogical to think that rabbits had ever been sacrificed for the sake of a pregnancy test. What else, she queried, could the phrase have meant?

I've since asked three other men if they understood the phrase's meaning, only to discover they were as unaware as Beau. Mars and Venus, I tell you what.

Pru put it most hilariously by asking Beau, "Oh, you think the doctor's office should have a rabbit hutch out back?" when he mused about the inconvenience of nabbing rabbits for testing.

After seeing Cadence Theatre's production of "Appropriate" about a family so dysfunctional it made all of us feel better, Pru was moved to observe, "Not the play I want to die in." One can only hope to have that choice.

Back at Pru's manse, we met up with Hotdog, an old family friend who'd flown in from Arizona while we were at the play and had been awaiting our arrival. The goal was to add him into our wide-ranging porch conversation - which only concluded shortly before 2 a.m. - while listening to music from 1969, the year he'd graduated high school.

That meant everything from the Beatles to Norman Greenbaum. "I wonder if he'd have had more hits if he'd changed his name?" Pru mused.

That kind of late night meant the morning came quickly, all the more so because I'd promised Hot Dog that he could walk with me after he'd emailed asking if I'd take him on a fun walk. The "fun" part was undoubtedly meant to convey that he wasn't up to another serious walk like the one I'd taken him on during a previous visit when I'd led him all over Manchester and back, to the tune of 6+ miles and a man who needed a nap afterward.

Today's was far more circumspect in length, less because of his request than that I needed to get back to pack my car and head out to the Outer Banks. That's right, it was another chance to set Summer in motion by returning to the little cottage I rent every year.

Hot Dog was good enough to help me load my car up after the walk and then Uber whisked him away and I headed to the ocean, stopping only at Adam's Country Store for an RC Cola (which the owner was kind enough to open for me) and a bag of local peanuts.

I enjoyed both as a I drove, following an older Jeep with faded OBX license plates, a bumper sticker that read, "Local as it gets" and another sticker that said "Tunnel Pass."

When I got to the bridge in Currituck, it turned out to be a throwback crossing because the old span is being renovated, meaning both directions are traveling on the same bridge, which is how I remember getting to the Outer Banks as a kid, but not in recent decades.

Then I got to the cottage, the same one I've been staying at since the early '90s and, yet again, time has marched on. Every year, the real world (the 21st century one) encroaches a little more on my favorite cottage, this year evidenced by a keyless entry (no more going to the realty office to pick up keys) and a new window a/c unit in the living room (bedroom units were put in 4 years ago, much to  my dismay).

Clearly I'm the last person on earth who wants a true old school beach experience sans TV, conditioned air and phone.

Today was cool, but the ocean breeze was stellar - briny and brisk - and the sky so dark blue it almost hurt your eyes to stare at it. The cottage next door is occupied, but most of the ones around here are not, making for an especially low-key start to Summer at the beach with my usual crew.

After a late dinner, everyone headed outside to admire the full moon aka the pink moon that signals the start of a new season, one I've been eagerly awaiting. Some might say that the only thing missing was Pimm's Cup Jello shooters with which to toast such a gorgeous night sky.

Personally, I'm not wishing for a single thing with my best Summer ever beginning. My invisible bumper sticker reads, "Happy as it gets."

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