Sunday, July 1, 2018

Dance Card Filled

Beach vacation over, I have sacrificed two prized possessions to the gods of the ocean.

A towering wave claimed my prescription sunglasses with a smack to the back of my head while my favorite sunhat, that relic of 1998, finally succumbed to years of sun, salt and washings, arriving home a tattered shell of the SPF 100 head covering that has saved my face for two decades. That would be the same chapeau that causes strangers to regularly tell me that they like my hat as I traipse around the streets of Richmond.

A moment of silence, please, for a hat life well lived and traveled. That hat shaded me in places ranging from South Africa to the Loire Valley with a whole lot of seaside locales - Barbados, Bermuda, Pismo Beach - in between. With any luck, a replacement will be ordered post haste to carry me through the next 20 years.

My sunglasses, which had been chosen not because I thought I could pull off aviator frames (I had serious doubts but eventually decided that anyone who lived through the '70s could) but because they were on sale will also need replacing and now I've just got to decide whether the universe was trying to tell me to step away from the aviator frames or just to wear a leash to keep them attached to my big old head.

Those two incidents aside, my beach week finished out in a blur of sunshine, waves and the best possible company once the girlfriends had returned to RVA. In addition to the flowers that had preceded his arrival, my final guest arrived with yet another gift, this one a contribution to my beach reading: "Women Writers of the Beat Era."

I'd like to say I got around to reading it at the beach, but pretty much non-stop conversation and activity ensured that didn't happen. Fortunately, it'll read just as well now that I'm back to real life and fewer distractions.

Water temperatures hovered between 75 and 79 and most afternoons, the surf was so clear we could easily see our shadows on the ocean floor, right through the water, at least when we weren't being knocked down by waves.

Given my lifelong lack of hand/eye coordination, it should also be noted that when I was put to the "catch a football while in the ocean" test, I made a left-handed catch on the first throw. As the Bo Deans would say, ain't that what dreams are made of? At least to this thrower anyway.

Thursday night we devoted to the full moon, sipping Patron and settling in on the porch swing in time to catch the moonrise. In between dancing on the porch to a mash-up of '70s slow jams and pounding surf, we followed the moon's progress from low, small and red to huge, white and overhead, which is where we left it when we finally abandoned our watch.

At dinner Friday (a gorgeous and refreshing gazpacho with lump crab, a Mediterranean platter of bread and 3 kinds of baby carrots with olive tapendade, tzatziki and curry hummus, a crab-stuffed avocado and a Thai chopped salad with peanut dressing followed by German chocolate cake) on the screened porch of the Salt Box Cafe, we were seated across from N.C. restaurateur/chef/author Vivian Howard and four local women who were discussing work/life balance and other hot button estrogen topics before having Vivian sign copies of her first cookbook "Deep Run Roots."

And while I haven't been to her restaurant The Chef and the Farmer in Kinston, Mac has and we've talked about a pilgrimage back at some point. You just don't expect that kind of literary star power at a little soundside restaurant in Colington, N.C.

Saturday was devoted to last day beach pleasures (loss of glasses aside) and the night to a full fireworks display coming from the Avalon Pier area, a bonus considering it was still June, but a fitting sendoff after four practically perfect beach days with himself.

And that's with only having finished one book, an all-time beach low. Everything else about the trip, though? Glasses and hat be damned, easily an all-time beach high.

I'm also thinking of having that football bronzed as a souvenir. Who am I kidding? Like I'm ever going to forget any of this...

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