24 December 2011

ROAD TRIP, Day 2: The Beach

By 4:00pm we've parked in the carport under our Sparrow Pond Cottage. We're here! It's Christmas Eve and I've visions of preparing rack of lamb with oven roasted potatoes when we stop at the Food Lion on John's Island. RvH, CA, and I head in separate directions and quickly gather some essentials including fresh produce, milk, and a baguette to round out our pantry.

Our years of vacation rental experiences are evidenced by the bags of cooking provisions and supplies we've carried from home. We've learned to come prepared--especially this trip, as the first two days are holidays and, while no one expects a full-on feast and celebration, we've learned to come prepared with a few special foods and treats. 

(The second Thanksgiving of our marriage might have included Oscar Meyer bologna and a Banquet frozen banana cream pie... CA was beginning his Navy career and we'd moved from Newport, RI to Norfolk, VA the day before.) (And, there was the year 5 of us drove to Memphis to meet DM halfway from Houston. We spent some frustrating hours searching for an open restaurant on Thanksgiving Day before settling for a Bennigans.) 

Within the array of shopping bags in the back of the Tucson are favorite pans, knives, and utensils; dry mixes for homemade cookies, preferred crackers, jams and peanut butter. Disposable cups and plates; napkins, paper towels, and spices nestled next to Kraft's mac and cheese for the girls and libations for the adults. There's also a medium-sized cooler with cheeses, frozen chili verde, prepared beef taco meat, and the aforementioned rack of lamb from Trader Joe's. 

So, we're here and because of the vast quantities of fast food and fountain beverages we've consumed throughout today, everyone is ambivalent over a full-on meal. The rack of lamb is re-purposed for Christmas dinner. Fine by me. 

Darkness falls quickly, and early. This is an island! There is no ambient glow from a cityscape or thoroughfare. It's just plain dark. And, quiet. No beach combing tonight, but the very air we breathe is noticeably fresher, lighter, sweeter. The ocean is near; there are waves crashing just around the bend and over the dunes. Vacation has begun.

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