Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Surf's Up

One thing we're not doing is working on our tans.

Oh, sure, Mac and I got out after breakfast and walked a few miles up the beach along Southern Shores, but it was under cloudy skies and with a stiff breeze that made keeping my hat on my head challenging.  Yet despite the absence of sun, the ocean was obscenely warm - 72 degrees when we walked and up to 76 by mid-afternoon - albeit much rougher than the past few days.

Pru had spent our walking time cooking up butter beans from Morris' Farm Market using butter and a spice blend from Penzey's that had us praising the beans to high heaven. After a couple of taste tests of my own, I insisted Pru provide Mac with a sample and don't you know she finished her first sample and went back for a second? These were not your average butter beans.

Meanwhile, our beach prospects were dimming with every additional cloud that appeared. We decided that the only logical thing to do was amuse ourselves on the screened-in porch for the day, a pastime that involved eating crustaceans, listening to music, drinking wine, Wild Weed ale (Pru was attracted to its juniper berry and cucumber infusions) and root beer and playing board games.

Mac saved the day by venturing down to Whalebone Seafood (where her brother works) to score us a box of crabs and a couple pounds of local shrimp (uncooked so that it wouldn't overcook on the drive back up the beach road) for our mid-afternoon feast of crabs, shrimp, pineapple, cantaloupe and, thank you jeezus, those butter beans.

No surprise, Pru doesn't pick crabs or even particularly like crabmeat, but Mac had long ago proved her worthiness as a crab-eating partner so we tore into the warm, meaty crabs while Pru was steaming her shrimp with Old Bay, celery and onions. She eventually joined us at the long table on the porch - scoring points by bringing a bottle of Prieur et Fils Sancerre Rose and three glasses - to peel shrimp while we picked crabs. Our final guest was Mac's Mom, who came by to join the crab feast and conversation, but also got lucky enough to sample the butter beans.

Let's just say that as the crab and shrimp shells piled up, there was a lot of estrogen and deep Outer Banks roots represented on those picnic benches.

After eating ourselves silly to the sound of the surf, Mac's Mom left and two of us retreated for naps while Pru decided to be the first in the outdoor shower. And although the shower is just outside my open bedroom door, I never so much as heard the shower door open or close while I was out cold a few feet away.

Our consensus had been that eating, drinking and talking at the beach can be exhausting, so there should be no shame in napping, even after a night of 9+ hours sleeping. In fact, that's part of the beauty of beach vacations, which, unlike true vacations, require no sightseeing, day trips or effort of any kind.

Too full to contemplate another meal even post-nap, we did what any self-respecting beach-goers do when the sky is spitting rain and no one is motivated to leave the cottage. We played board games. I hadn't brought any, so we made do with what was in the cottage cupboard: Yahtzee (a personal favorite from childhood) and Sagarian, a MENSA game choice for 1997 which was delightfully dated.

The Concorde? Personal ads? The Netherlands has the highest crime rate? No millennial would recognize half the outdated references contained in the game's questions and answers, but we definitely got some good laughs out of it. As part of the game's directives, Pru sang "On the Good Ship Lollipop" (and rather well, I might add), Mac named all 7 dwarfs and I had to state the colors of the Cat in the Hat's hat.

It's amazing the information you can pull out of the dusty file drawers of your mind after doing nothing much more than listening to and watching waves crash for two days. Multi-tasking has been reduced to eating cheese and crackers while listening to game instructions read aloud. And we still played fast and loose with the rules.

The same goes for the rules of engagement at the beach. No umbrella was raised today, no SPF applied, no bodies bronzed by the sun. Hell, I've only finished one book. At this rate, no one's going to believe I was even at the beach.

As for those lovely pink calla lilies that were delivered to the cottage mid-morning, what beach girl doesn't appreciate flowers when she can't work on her tan lines?

Don't look at me. I'm all in.

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