Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Toothpick in Hand

Either the heat was affecting our brains or it was a drive to read the newspaper, take your pick.

All I know is that after Mac and I did our usual walk on the pipeline, we were climbing the hill to the Capital when we touched on the subject of how we were each going to spend the day. She was off, so her plan was to clean house. I'd knocked out several deadlines the day before, so I had a light day with no writing to do.

Next thing you know, we've decided to spend the day at the beach, a decision that miraculously caused us to walk far faster than usual the rest of the way home. Hell, if our bright idea had come sooner, we'd have eschewed an urban walk entirely for a beach stroll later.

En route to Sandbridge not long after, Mac asked if I'd brought any reading material. Only the Washington Post from Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, I told her. "Oh, boy, I was hoping you would!" she gushed as if I'd made a brilliant decision.

By the time we got within spitting distance of the ocean, we were both starving, making a pit stop at Bandito's Taco Truck non-negotiable. In fact, we were so hungry we wound up eating our fish and beef tacos at one of Bandito's picnic tables under a canopy of shady trees instead of trying to make it to the beach to chow down.

Although it had been less than two weeks since I was last at Sandbridge, there were some changes. Instead of every life guard stand being manned, only every other chair held a bronzed millennial. The beach was populated, but not nearly as crowded as two weeks ago. Even the ocean temperature had come down a couple of degrees, moving from tepid to refreshing.

Every one of those things hurts my heart a little because they're all signs that summer is winding down. It's that acknowledgement that has had me looking for as many ways as possible to enjoy summer - the weekend at the river, the trips to Sandbridge - before it slips into fall and and my mood goes south.

It's not like we did much of anything for the six hours we were on the beach beyond read three days worth of newspapers (the things we learned about McCain, Neil Simon and the 1968 Democratic convention were enough to fuel good conversation for days) alternating with long periods cooling down in an ocean with only the slightest of waves. There was one walk, but I'd bet it didn't total a mile.

Mac spent some of her time on a dating app - soliciting my opinion on why guys would post bad photos - without locating the man of her dreams.

One of the afternoon's highlights was the arrival of an enormous school of fish which entertained beachgoers with an acrobatic show, jumping and flashing in the sunlight, right in front of us. They were followed by a pod of dolphins too big to count, who also cavorted in between snacking on the jumping fish. Both fish and dolphins were so close in that people lined up on a sandbar a few feet away from them to watch the spectacle.

My favorite ocean palette is the iridescent metallic blues of early evening and they slid in far too quickly for me. So we break camp, change clothes and move on to nearby Margie and Ray's Crabhouse for dinner, a shame only because the last thing I wanted to do was abandon the beach.

Mac kept the party going when, despite the many times as I've been to Margie and Ray's (and she was the Sandbridge virgin), she was the first companion who insisted we get crabs. Plus shrimp cocktail (really sweet and fresh), broccoli and Hatteras clam chowder, which she said her grandma would have liked. Also, because we're pros, the moment the crabs arrived, the quality of the conversation plummeted. Actually, became non-existent. It was glorious to eat with a crab equal, much the way she is my walking equal. Helluva package. I don't know why some guy on that dating app hasn't scooped her up.

Or, maybe I do. Sometimes it just happens in real life.

The practically perfect meal closed out with a dessert special I can't imagine finding in Richmond: an old-fashioned orange creamsicle icebox cake and while it could have been cloying and awful, instead it tasted like something Grandma might have made. The cake and frosting combination perfectly mimicked creamsicle flavors, the cake crumb cold and dense, and we agreed there could have been no better conclusion to our beach day than this.

On the 1964-esque placemats was an illustration of two sharks - a he and a she - seated at a restaurant table covered in a red checkered tablecloth with a candle burning in a Chianti bottle (my parents had the same thing when I was growing up). The caption reads, "Send more tourists...the last ones were delicious!"

And I'm betting that no two tourists could possibly be tastier than me and Mac.

No comments:

Post a Comment