Ahhh...My Patriotic Spirit!
In honor of the holiday, Bobby wore a Finland shirt and I wore a Puerto Rico diving shirt. We got a good chuckle off of that. Well, technically Puerto Rico is an American commonwealth, so I said that my own patriotic spirit was more in the lines of saying, "American mainland, I shake my fist at you!" and hopping off to Puerto Rico to open a diving outfit to Mona Island. (I wish.)
It was hot in Maryland today. So Bobby and I did the logical thing and went out to engage in some physical exertion of an outdoor nature. In other words, we went hiking. It was very hot, the trail was very overgrown, Bobby got a tick on his leg and I got some sort of strange rash above my knee that has since stopped burnin' like a mofo, which is a good thing. When we got back, it was 97F/36C. The trail wasn't a difficult one...but did I mention that it was very hot outside today? Then we really did do a logical thing, put on our swimsuits, and went down to the pool. After about fifteen minutes of me floating and Bobby practicing clearing his mask underwater, we were called out of the pool because of an imminent thunderstorm that never manifested. But this is true of a lot of storms around here, which are all blow and no show.
Bobby made a delicious dinner tonight: turkey burgers for him and vegetarian barbecue chicken for me, waffle fries with KFC honey mustard sauce, baked beans, and loaded salads that contained lettuce, four kinds of bell pepper, red onions, cucumbers, hardboiled egg, imitation bacon bits, croutons, and sunflower seeds. It was delicious and I ate waaay too much and feel quite unnecessary now.
I don't think that I've officially mentioned that Bobby and I are going away again next weekend to Ocean City. Yep, we planned this one pretty much the day we got back from Puerto Rico. It lessened the sting of leaving Caribbean sun for hot, humid, sticky, rainy Maryland. Ocean City is an annual pilgrimage for most Marylanders; it is a little town on a slip of land between the Atlantic Ocean and Assawoman Bay. (No, I did not make that name up. I could not make that name up!) Bobby and I generally find ourselves there two or three times a year. It makes a nice weekend trip.
Ocean City for us is about tradition. It was pretty much ten years ago to the day that we went to OC together for the first time when his family invited me along on their weeklong vacation. Since then, we've fallen happily into a rut where Ocean City is concerned. We stay at the same hotel in the summers, the Buckingham Hotel on 15th Street. (In the winter, when rates are low, all bets are off, and we try to stay in the bling-bling places.) We eat at the same restaurants and tend to get the same meals. Phillips has a fabulous seafood buffet with a pasta bar that keeps vegetarian-me happy. La Hacienda is my personal favorite, and we always get vegetarian delight burritos for both of us, which might just be my favorite restaurant meal on the planet. Brass Balls Saloon is a must for breakfast; that's the Bountiful Burke Breakfast, which is a weird name for a weird combination of scrambled eggs over hashbrowns with cheese sauce over top and ginormous biscuits that weigh as much as my head and that no one can ever finish. We walk the Boardwalk every night, usually blow some money racing each other in the arcades, ride the rollercoaster and the Ferris wheel and the Crazy Dance, and spend at least a half-hour out on the fishing pier, trying to avoid leaning our elbows in fish entrails as we watch the ships come in.
(The Andrea Gail, by the way, from the movie The Perfect Storm, was from Ocean City, Maryland.)
Then comes sitting on the white wall that lines the first few miles of Boardwalk, people-watching. Marylanders are a strange lot to begin with, and the strangest of them flock to OC, so you are guaranteed some entertainment for the cost of an Atlantic Stand lemonade and some chocolate-covered strawberries from Candy Kitchen.
And of course, it's beach by day, for both of us would live amid the sand and sea if we could, though Bobby likes to ride the waves while I prefer to lie in some form of shade and either read or write. The sea is immensely inspirational to me, as evidenced by the sheer number of plotbunnies that I packed in my luggage on the way back from Puerto Rico.
Ocean City is one of those places with landmarks that I remember from the time I was knee-high and forming my first memories. For example, there is a liquor store called Anthony's that has had this animated neon sign of two dancing beer cans and wine bottle for as long as I can remember. I used to look for it on Coastal Highway at night when I was young, intrigued by their neon kicking legs. I still look for it now. My first glimpse of "Beer Wine Beer," as it has come to be called in our family, means that the summer is officially underway.
I took that picture last summer, wanting an icon of the animation. I haven't gotten around to doing it yet because the pictures require some tinkering that is beyond my Photoshop abilities and Potter and I haven't had time to sit down together and work on it.
It is amazing to me the things that take on some sort of deep, personal meaning that--centuries from now--will never earn mention in any history books or probably even be remembered. Much of Ocean City is that way for me. We know in Maryland that if we got a Hurricane like Katrina here, the little slip of land that is OC would probably be washed away. Of course, this would have an enormous economic impact on our little state...but the emotional impact would be much worse. This little town has grown into a symbol for so many people; Bobby and I had our first vacation and our first kiss there, ten years ago, on the brink of our lives together. Ten years later, we're still not tired of the place.