• 70°

Put me down for a two

It’s Monday morning, July 27, 2020. Like all other Monday mornings for those gainfully employed, we arrive at work in a state of total confusion….our minds a bit cloudy after a couple days of rest and relaxation. We find ourselves a bit sluggish as we attempt to get into gear for all the upcoming tasks at hand.

For yours truly, my mind is a bit more clouded and I’m having a hard time kicking my brain into gear on this particular hot summer morning. I’m fresh off a four-day weekend….a much-needed break from the toils of work.

On Thursday of last week, my wife, Deborah, and I departed our humble home for a mini vacation on the Outer Banks. There, we enjoyed some quality time together, along with our daughter, Danielle, her husband, Brandon, and their son (our grandson), Brody.

We rented an oceanfront room at the John Yancey Inn in Kill Devil Hills where the sight and sound of the Atlantic Ocean, along with its accompanying salty breeze, were more than enough to give the mind, the body, and the soul a welcomed break from our normal daily lives.

Other than a one-day outing to the beach last fall, trips to the Outer Banks are few and far-between what they once were for me. There was a time back when I was in high school and when Deborah and I first started dating – and even into the first few years of marriage – where those sort of weekend trips or week-long excursions were more commonplace over the summer months and into the early fall.

There was a time back in my late 20’s and early 30’s that a really good friend of mine and I would go surf fishing on Hatteras Island in the spring and fall of almost every year.

There was a time when I could nearly name each and every motel/hotel and restaurant along that narrow strip of sand from Duck to Whalebone Junction.

There was a time when I could “survive” at the beach by eating 99-cent Big Fellow burgers at the Little Mint – located adjacent to the Casino – and “splurge” on a $20 seafood platter at the famed Owens Restaurant.

There was a time when you could drive down the “Beach Road” (NC 12 / Virginia Dare Trail) and actually see the beach.

All those times are now distant memories. There are an abundance of motels/hotels and eateries….far too many to name. A $20 meal nowadays might buy you one burger, and high-rise cottages that now crowd the beachfront landscape prevent a clear view of the ocean as you travel past.

Please don’t confuse reminiscing with complaining. No, the beach isn’t the same from my teenage years or time as a young adult. Rather, there’s more to see and enjoy…which, of course, leads to ample opportunities to open up your wallet (I guess that’s a nice way to say it costs more to vacation there today).

But when you see your six-year-old grandson having the time of his young life, the thought of spending your hard-earned cash goes out the window.

Brody fell in love with putt-putt golf during our long weekend at the beach. Even though he would tend to improve his shot via a method not typically used in this game, his laughter and “high-fives” after making a shot made my heart melt. I laughed so much that my stomach muscles hurt after listening to him say, “put me down for a two” (on the scorecard).

There were other recreational venues we wanted to visit, but they were closed down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

But my grandson did use the trip as an educational experience. He visited the Wright Brothers Memorial for the very first time, learning all about those amazing men from Dayton, Ohio who were the first to soar the blue sky over the Outer Banks in a motorized, heavier than air machine.

Yes, I left the beach on Sunday morning poorer financially than when I arrived on Thursday. However, I’m a richer man in mind and spirit following a great outing with the ones I love the most in life.

Cal Bryant is the Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact him at cal.bryant@r-cnews.com or 252-332-7207.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

email author More by Cal