Commentary

Snow: A beachy 4th and other miscellany

July 20, 2013 

We spent the Fourth of July week at Indian Beach. Never again!

From the condo, I looked down on a tent city and a usually quiet beach that had suddenly become a Waikiki.

As I gazed down on the vast array of near-naked bodies baking in the hot sun, I contemplated the bright future for dermatologists. I attributed my own dermatologist visits to a hatless boyhood on the farm.

In fact, the first ocean I saw, at age 19, was the Pacific, as I traveled to war on a troop ship.

I remember North Carolina writer Lee Smith once describing her mother’s comment upon viewing the Atlantic for the first time.

“I thought it would be bigger,” she sighed, her voice heavy with disappointment as the waves lapped at her feet.

We treated ourselves to lunch at the Sanitary in Morehead City. The famous restaurant is observing its 75th anniversary this year. The seafood is as succulent as ever.

During a midweek visit to the local Food Lion, we were trapped in a wall-to-wall mass of humanity.

“I come here every day to get away from it all,” explained a genial fellow from Greenville. He explained that he was with 44 friends and relatives attending a weeklong get-together.

We had planned to return to Raleigh on Sunday until I received a thoughtful friend ’s email.

“Get yourselves out of there before Sunday,” he instructed. “On Sunday, it will take you two hours to get off the island, and I-40 will resemble the Indianapolis speedway, with idiots doing 80 to 85 miles an hour.”

We did as advised. Even so, a highway alert flashed on 7 miles out of Raleigh, warning of heavy traffic congestion ahead.

Hello, home, where the birds were waiting impatiently for their suet and seed.

Crab pots vs. iPads

Dr. Larry Adams of Emerald Isle wrote to applaud Camp Seafarer and Camp Sea Gull’s policy banning electronic devices for campers.

He has a similar policy.

When his six grandchildren, ages 3 to 8, visit for a week each year, they routinely part with their cellphones and iPads during their stay.

“As a result,” he wrote, “ they learn a great deal about fishing off the dock, setting crab pots, catching minnows, watching porpoises in the Sound from my boat, attending Pirate Camp for a day, catching sand fiddlers on the beach and numerous other ‘beach’ activities. They want to move here.”

Futility of tears

As I watched on TV Paula Deen’s tearful apology for racial slurs uttered 10 years ago, I thought of poet-philosopher Omar Khayyam’s quote from long ago. It’s amazing how the ancients were able to come up with so much wise advice that applies today.

The Moving Finger writes, and, having writ,

Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit

Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,

Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.

As a longtime columnist, I think of the times I would have given an eyetooth to call back and cancel out not even a line but just a single word of something I’d written.

There is a frightening permanence in what one puts on paper, especially on newsprint that finds its way to thousands of driveways and newsstands. It’s a humbling experience.

Wedding levity

I recently heard about a young man who exhibited unique creativity in making his wedding interesting and memorable.

He is Danny Hovis, a Marine on leave from Afghanistan. Danny recently wed Erica Buchanan, the niece of friend Glenn Keever.

When the minister asked the groom, resplendent in his dress blues, “Do you take this woman?” there was a pause.

Danny left his bride to huddle with his groomsmen. After a few seconds of consulting, he returned to the altar and answered with a firm “I do!”

The bride smiled happily and the wedding guests erupted with laughter. Surely such an abiding sense of humor bodes well for this marriage.

Snow: 919-836-5636 or asnow@newsobserver.com

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