Chapter 2 - Preliminary Plans
We spent the next couple of hours poring over maps, and plotting out possible itineraries. Planning trips is my very favorite thing in the world. I could have happily spent the entire day at it. After a while, Hannah suggested we take a break and go for our walk. I was irritated by the interruption, but I guess the exercise is good for us and Lord knows the woman is impossible to be around unless she gets her regular dose of salt air every day.
We decided to avoid the Bike Week noise and traffic in Daytona Beach and go to our usual week-day walking spot at Smyrna Dunes Park.
We pulled into the parking lot and Rita greeted us, commenting that she didn't usually see us on Sunday. The parking lot was full. That meant either it was high tide or a lot of other folks were avoiding Daytona. Hannah and I both like the park better during the week when we often have the place to ourselves, particularly in the winter time.
I pulled into a parking space between two SUV's. After it was too late, I realized it was kind of a tight squeeze. I waited for a second, expecting Hannah to bitch me out about that. She didn't say anything. I guess she was cutting me slack because I didn't give her a hard time about the trip. I chuckled, wondering what other concessions I might be able to extract from her while she was in such a good mood. I decided not to push my luck.
It was a nice day for a walk. There were lots of families with pets and kids in tow, dragging an unbelievable amount of shit along the boardwalks toward the beach. It never fails to amaze me how much crap people bring with them to the beach. It seems to me that packing up and lugging all that crap to the beach is not worth the effort. When we go to the beach, Hannah and I take our car keys and cell phones. On really, really hot days Hannah takes a bottle of water with her. That is all.
We walked around the boardwalk and went our separate ways at the first dune walkover. We don't walk together. Hannah walks for the exercise, so she charges off down the beach like she's being chased by the Banshee. I doubt she even looks at the scenery. I play tennis and run for exercise. I go to the beach for relaxation and entertainment. I like to pick up shells and other stuff I find on the beach. I talk to fishermen and chat with tourists. By the time Hannah comes back from her high speed walk, we are both relaxed, happy and ready for lunch.
We are opposites in almost every way and we disagree about nearly everything except for the really important stuff. One thing we agree on is that generally we do not like to eat out in restaurants. Hannah doesn't care for fancy food and she is an unbelievable cheapskate who hates the thought of spending the money on restaurant meals. I love to eat out, but in my experience restaurants in Florida are for the most part too crowded, too noisy, and the service (if you can call it that) stinks. My friends marvel that I never take Hannah out for nice dinners. They think I'm lucky to avoid the ordeal of dining out. Actually, I would take her out for a nice meal once in a while, but it wouldn't be worth it. She'd bitch about the food and the cost. I'd get pissed off at the poor service. We'd end up arguing with each other out of frustration. It's just not worth it.
Hannah and I have found a couple of places that are not too crowded at certain times on the weekend. We alternate between the two of them for lunch on Sundays, depending on if we want bar-food or seafood. After our walk today, we stopped for lunch at the seafood place. We ate at a picnic table on the dock. I love to watch the boats on the intra-coastal waterway. Today we watched both a couple of dolphins and a manatee pass by. That was a special treat.
When we finished eating, Hannah called Laura and Tim to tell them our plans. After a few minutes she handed me the phone. She took her shoes off and tilted her face to the sun, the picture of contentment. I have never seen anybody who loves the sunshine more than she does. She is like a sunflower, always seeking the sun. It occurred to me that taking her away from the ocean for a few weeks might not be such a good idea. On the rare occasions I have been able to get her to go back to Ohio to visit she has been an absolute bitch the entire time. She starts talking about going "home" to Florida almost from the minute we arrive in Ohio.
I still think of Ohio as "home", since we were both born there and lived there for more than fifty years. I don't think Hannah ever thought of Ohio as her "home" even though she was born there and lived there for half a century. I was amazed to discover that, from the first day we moved into our house in New Smyrna Beach, she was "at home" in a way she never had been before. I honestly think that the woman would be happy if she never left our house other than to go to the beach.
After a while, I handed the phone back to Hannah and she talked to Laura for a few more minutes. When she hung up I asked her if she wanted another beer. "No. Let's go. I want to look through my closet. Some of the places we talked about visiting may be cold this time of the year. I think I may have to go shopping."
"That's a better excuse than you usually have for buying new clothes you don't really need."
©2009 by Meredith Morgan