Wednesday, October 21, 2009
A Day at the Beach
Today I did something I haven't done since I retired to the Rehoboth Beach area of Delaware in November of 2006. I walked on the beach.
That's right, I left the boardwalk and put my sneakered feet on the sand at the beach.
Years and years ago, before I was diagnosed with acinite keratosis (a pre skin cancerous condition) I used to lay for hours on the beach. That youthful folly went out the window after I was warned I could develope skin cancer by prolonged exposure to the UV rays of the sun.
I did not move to the coastal shore of southern Delaware for the beach. I moved to Delaware for many reasons, the main ones being that Delaware is very tax friendly to a senior citizen like me. The other reason is that the Rehoboth Beach-Lewes-Milton area of Sussex County has a large gay population. While I haven't made too many friends within the gay population (I can count on one had the gay friends I have made), I am more comfortable in a community where I don't engender stares when I shop or dine with my life partner Bill. There are just too many same sex couples in the Rehoboth Beach area of Delaware to make the appearance same sex couples in public seem unusual.
I love living near the ocean. Living near the ocean has always been my goal. Three years ago I was finally able to realize that goal when I retired to Delaware. But something unusual happened when I retired to Delaware. I found that I spent very little time at the beach.
One of the reasons was that I did not venture into Rehoboth Beach at all during the tourist season. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, I avoid Rehoboth Beach like the plague. The reason I do this is that I don't enjoy sitting in traffic. Yes, traffic on Route 1 in the summertime is a nightmare in Rehoboth Beach. I've tried it once or twice and have vowed never again to spend two hours or more just to get in the lava flow that is called the Rehoboth Tourist on Rehoboth Avenue. No way.
But one thing I have noticed over the years I have lived here is that there are many perfect weather day in the off season. Today was such a day. And I took advantage of it.
This morning, after ordering photos for my class reunion at Wal-Mart, I made a right turn out of the Wal-Mart parking lot towards Rehoboth Beach. Normally, I make a left turn out of the parking lot and head north on Rt. 1 to my home on the outskirts of Lewes. No, this morning I was going to the beach.
Traffic was light as I made the left hand turn into Rehoboth down Rehoboth Avenue. All the parking meters had hoods. No parking fees! I pull into my regular parking spot across from the Purple Parrot Restaurant. The time was 10 o'clock. I planned to kill two hours wandering around Rehoboth before taking lunch (by myself) at the Purple Parrot.
I walk down to the boardwalk and began my brisk walk. This would be my exercise for the day. I walked all the up to the south end of the boardwalk until I got to the part of the boardwalk under construction. Then I went down the path between the protected sand dunes and walked on the beach. I'm on the beach. My feet are in the sand for the first time in three years.
There were a few other people the beach. On the beach today were a group of five fishermen; a man with a metal detector and a young couple taking a lazy stroll on the beach.
The beach had big ruts from some kind of vehicle. On this day there were no sun worshipers with their brightly colored towels and soft bodies on the beach. However, there were a lot of clam shells that had washed in from the ocean. Some sea gulls were perched on solitary pilings in the water. I took my camera out and started to take pictures. Surely I'm not the first person to take a picture of a sea gull at the beach but it was the first time I have done it. This was a day for me.
After about an hour on the beach I decided to take a ride to Gordon's Pond at Cape Henlopen State Park and North Shores. My sun worshiping friends spend their summer days with their friends at North Shores. I wanted to see where they go. A friend of mine at work had told me about Gordon’s Pond and how beautiful it was. They were right. The Gordon’s Pond section of Cape Henlopen State Park is a beautiful, natural wetlands preserve. Under the bright sun hung in the crystal blue sky and 75 degree temperatures, I found a seat by the trail. And there I sat.
I made a phone call to my brother in Greenville, South Carolina. I wanted to tell him how relieved I was that my Mother now living with him and his wife and getting care that only other women can provide. Mom will spend her winter in South Carolina, away from the cold snow and ice of Pennsylvania. John and I had a good conversation.
My stomach was telling me it was time for lunch. Off I headed to the Purple Parrot in Rehoboth Beach. Again I pull into my regular parking slot (no parking meter fees, I love it) and saunter into the restaurant. Violet, the waitress brings a menu over to me. But I already know what I'm getting. I'm ordering a Wimpy which is actually large hamburger. I ordered my Wimpy with all the fixings (or as my friend Tom tells me "You look like you're ordering your last meal). I order a side of French Fries. I ate all of them except two.
Now I'm stuffed. A Wimpy hamburger isn't a wimpy hamburger. Stuffed as I am I wander up the street to see if my friend The Cajun is at Job #2. I don't see him. I go up the street and turn around. I look in again; he's not at his post. Oh well, I only wanted to stop in and say "Hi!"
I go to my car. It's nice not to have to worry about the parking meter time running out. I back out and head up Rehoboth Avenue on my way out of my Day at the Beach. I loved it. And to top of a perfect day, my meal at the Purple Parrot was half off. They have a special going on in the off season, every Wednesday all day half off all sandwiches. Now I know what I will be doing on my Wednesdays until Memorial Day next year. I'll be paying a weekly visit to Rehoboth Beach,weather permitting. I love living in Delaware.