At about noon, all three of us headed to the beach in my car, where we hit a little bit of traffic going over the bridge, but not as bad as we had anticipated for the holiday weekend.
We intended to park at Public Access 4, but right at Public Access 9, I stopped to let this lady cross the street, who, as it turned out was leaving from her parking spot directly across from the public access walkway. We made a U-ey, and waited behind her while she packed up, and then moved out.
What a wonderful way to start off our day. The parking situation at Wrightsville Beach just sucks, and I was dreading the drama of getting in (a totally unorganized and unmonitored) "line" to wait for a spot at Access 4. Inevitably, you face one way, and someone pulls out from the other way, and someone who got there after you gets a spot before you, or two people think they're both "next," with tempers flaring, blah, blah, blah.
Joe and I sat on chairs, and Robert lied on the blanket for a while. He was the first to go in the water. Later, Joe and I went in. I wasn't in very long. Joe was.
Later, I went for a 45-minute walk along the beach to get in my Let EAGLES Soar exercise commitment.
Robert and I ended up getting fried, which of course we didn't realize until later in the day. I had on a sleeveless shirt, and the tops of my shoulders, right where the sleeves ended, are like lobstahs -- the right side worse than the left.
We stopped at Arby's for a late lunch on the way back from the beach, and back at the room, Robert worked on a crossword puzzle, and I blogged for a while.
After a while, we were both reading the back of our eyelids.
We woke up at about 8PM, and checked in with Joe. No answer in the room. I left him voice mail on his cell that we were going to Ruby Tuesday's to grab a quick dinner, and told him to join us if he 1) wanted to, and 2) got this message before we were done.
We had just ordered when Joe called, so we slid across the aisle from a two-seat table to a four-seat table, and put in an order for Joe.
We met Joe at Costello's at about 10:30, and it was a fun, fun night.
Donna Merritt was the piano player this evening. She is a local favorite whose fame is based in, besides her extraordinary talent, being fired from a baptist church as their organist when they found out that she was "moonlighting" at a bar that, although has many heterosexual customers, "caters to a homosexual clientèle."
Toward the end of the evening, the crowd had thinned out some, so that pretty much everyone left was singing along to Donna's selections. She started asking for requests, and I started throwing some out.
"Do you know anything by that skinny, anorexic, dead woman?" I asked.
"Oh, Karen?" Donna replied without missing a beat.
"Yes, how about Close to You?" I asked. Imagine a bunch of fags all knowing the words to Close to You.
Next, I said, "How about Piano Man."
"I know Piano Lady," she said. We muddled through the words to that one. Funny how you think you "know" the words to songs when you're singing along to the radio, or following the bouncing ball at Karaoke, but having to produce them out of thin air yourself seems to be another story. Or, perhaps, it was the infamous alcohol effect.
Following that one, we did as much damage (with respect to knowing, or more accurately, not knowing, the words) to "Margaritaville."
As several people turned to me for the next request, I said, "Well since it's the 4th of July weekend, shouldn't we sing 'America the Beautiful' and 'The National Anthem'?" Donna obliged beautifully.
There were these three guys with great voices sitting on the stools around the piano -- they had harmonized on a gospel song together earlier, which they did beautifully -- and at the end of the National Anthem, by which time the whole place was singing along, they harmonized beautifully again. It was quite festive.
Joe, Robert, and I spoke with Donna a bit after she stopped playing, and she said that this was her fifth gig today -- with three services at St. Jude's, followed by a late afternoon wedding, and then at Costello's's for the evening.
Also, during the course of her conversation, standing there in her shoes with bling on them, she mentioned some "girls who work in one of my shoe stores," and of course we all had to bite our tongues from saying, "Those shoes are 300 fucking dollars. LET'S GET 'EM!" :)
We had a safe, and uneventful, ride back to the hotel.