Sand Between the Toes – Part 2

Monday morning I got up early, drank a cup of tea and went down to the beach for another two-mile walk. At that hour there’s not much to be seen except the remnants of the digging all children seem compelled to do when faced with an expanse of sand. Sometimes the digging simply takes the form of a large hole; sometimes it’s a sand castle or something more expressive (although I sense an adult hand in this sand sculpture). Over the next couple of days I watched a laddie of about eight dig an enormous hole several feet deep, fortify it against the incoming tide, and finally disappear inside it and pop a beach umbrella up from within. I don’t know what this was supposed to signify; if nothing else, it must have been cool inside.

After my walk, I went back inside, ate some granola and made some pimento cheese against the arrival of my sister Margaret sometime around 1 PM. Then I slathered myself with sun block, put on my swimsuit, loaded myself with beach umbrella, chair, towel, binoculars, a bottle of water and the hurricane book, and went out to the beach for an extended stay.

At 9:30 in the morning, there are usually not that many people on the beach. A few men were fishing, but the families didn’t start tumbling out to start their day until nearly an hour later. I was deep in the hurricane book when I was startled by a tiny Asian child, who churned up to me through the sand and announced, “I want you!” I turned to look at her. Clearly she was looking for her mother and her face registered a certain amount of annoyance that I’d played a dirty trick on her by not being the female in question. A gentleman passing behind me called her to his side, and they moved off down the beach. I saw them a couple of times during the days I was at the beach, but never with anyone who looked like a mommy. Maybe she stayed at home.

Around noon I was starting to get hungry and the sky was growing progressively darker. As I gathered my gear and struggled back over the dunes, I heard a rumble of thunder and was grateful to gain the door of the beach house. I had some lunch, expecting Margaret to show up at any minute; however, she called to let me know she gotten a late start and wouldn’t be arriving until closer to 3 PM. The wind was starting to pick up; I stepped out onto the soundside deck to have a look at the weather, and at that moment the power went out – including the air conditioning. I opened up a few windows in the main part of the house to catch the cross breeze as the rain started, but rather than cool things down, the house just got more oppressive. I pulled a chair closer to the window and continued to read about the hurricane of ’38. I couldn’t get comfortable. I called the local power company and talked to a nice woman who told me that the power was out all up and down the island, and crews were out trying to determine why. I pulled some pillows down on the floor in front of one of the oceanside windows and tried to read for a while; eventually I gave up and just sat there looking out the window. After a time, I heard a buzzing noise from the nearby substation and a moment later, everything kicked back on. I hurried to close the windows. The rain started to taper off and moments later, Margaret arrived. She said she’d fought rain the entire way there.

Margaret brought her dog Molly along. I’ve talked about Molly before; she’s a sweet old Sheltie that Margaret started off fostering as part of a Sheltie rescue program. Molly was adopted out but the adoption didn’t “take” and Margaret eventually ended up adopting Molly herself. She’s been rewarded with an affectionate pal who thinks Margaret hung the moon. I noticed that Molly has gotten progressively more blind and deaf since the last time I saw her, but she gamely went out for a walk on the beach.

Margaret and I were pleased to find that the Crab Shack, a local seafood house, had reopened. The restaurant’s dining room had been swept into the sound by Hurricane Ophelia last September, but they’d rebuilt and reopened, so we went there for our dinner. I was starving and scarfed down far too many of the complimentary hushpuppies they serve as soon as you sit down. I had deviled crabs for dinner, which were tasty (although the Shack’s coleslaw recipe needs work). Margaret had crab cakes. We stopped off at the grocery store after dinner and picked up some foodstuffs. Back at the beach house we watched some TV, although most of our evening was spent gathering up our gear for our trip out to Shackleford Banks the next morning.

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