"Guys...Where ARE we?"
We are one step closer to making the Twinkie Experiment a reality. The trip was pretty much okay, and I arrived at Amy's beach house in one piece. I won't go into the hassles at the airport or how much I HATE flying... Let's just say I could have walked and probably gotten here faster. ;) Oh, and I want to say thank you to the weird guy sitting next to me who bored me to death with his magic Okito Box coin routine the entire flight (I want my quarter back, by the way).
I have been looking forward to sunny skies and ocean breezes, and when we landed and were deplaning, the humid 98 degree air hit us like a wall at that little opening between the plane and the tarmac. Mmmm-mmm...Rotten eggs. That's what the smell of the ocean air reminds me of. I didn't reserve a car at the time I made my flight reservation because I wasn't sure if Amy could pick me up at the airport. Turns out she was running around getting all the loose ends tied up, so I had to rent something at the last minute. I ended up with a maroon minivan, complete with standard animal cracker crumbs left on the floorboard in the backseat.
Amy has a small beach house that she rents from Charlie, the neighbor and our confidant during the upcoming twin-switch. It is considered a "second row" house, but there isn't a house built in the first row in front of Amy's house yet, so it's like she has a first row house -- especially with the beach erosion moving the ocean inland. It's a small 600(?) square foot cabin that is decorated in "early beach," including wicker pieces and a miss-matched collection of used furniture from our parents' basement. The house is built up on stilts (you park your cars underneath) like all the houses along the coast, and it has a multi-layer deck that goes all the way around it. You couldn't ask for a better ocean view, especially when the weeds along the dunes are cut.
Currently, Amy's house is sort of a green color (that, I am guessing, probably looked good in the can), but the last time I was down here almost two years ago, it was bright blue. The weather and salt air make it necessary to paint the houses often, which can make finding the right house an adventure. The addressing system along the coast seems a bit creative, with house numbers mostly non-existant. This afternoon, I was looking for a blue house and, if not for recognizing Amy's jeep, I probably would have never found the right house. No matter what the color or condition, however, Amy is really lucky to have the beach house. After all of the help my sister provided to Charlie when his dozen grandkids invaded to live with him, Charlie rents the house to Amy for a pretty cheap price.
Charlie's pinkish-yellow house next door is much larger than Amy's cabin. It, too, is up on huge stilts, but it has a small room under the house for Charlie's fishing stuff. Charlie is a really nice old guy who has lived down here all of his life. He must be in his 60's, but it is hard to gauge accurately because his sun-leathered skin makes him look older than he might actually be. I'm not sure what happened to his wife, but they had four daughters and two sons. Somehow, when the kids got older, got married and had kids, the grandkids managed to make their way back down here to live with Charlie. Amy says Charlie's children live here, too, from time to time, but that Charlie is a far better provider for the grandkids. I sure hope Charlie can care for all those kids (ages 6 to 17) on his deep-sea Shrimping salary. They all met me with nice sweaty hugs when I drove up this afternoon. Wipe off the sand and surf, and they seem like they are pretty healthy and happy.
It was fun getting caught up on all the latest news affecting all the little towns that dot the coastline. Apparently, everyone is thrilled with the Internet service they are just now interested in accessing for the first time. Woohoo! Dial-up! (LOL) However, there is still no cell phone service here, and you can't get a signal until you are closer to the Ferry Landing, 30 miles away. (The "Can You Hear Me Now?" guy should come here.) There is still no "real" grocery store here except down by the Ferry, unless you count the corner "Shells & Bait Stop" as a grocery store. I am guessing a local Starbucks is completely out of the question.
Other than that, not much has changed in the past...oh, 50 years down here. They look like they are doing some construction down the beach, which Charlie told me is the installation of an "Eco-Tube" to help prevent further erosion. You can also tell they've had a series of small underwater quakes recently since there are piles of "brown tide" on the beach (large mounds of slimy, smelly, brown, dead seaweed that washes up from the ocean floor onto the beach and attracts a variety of biting insects). Charlie said he will "call Sam" and have him "doze" the beach to get rid of it.
Amy is telling me I have to get off the Internet now because she has to use the phone to call all the neighbors. Everyone is invited over to Charlie's for dinner. He's having a neighborhood "Fish-Fry" to welcome me.
What does one wear to a Fish-Fry?