It was early Saturday morning, the end of our week at the beach. A week in which we fell into a new routine. One where the alarm didn’t go off and things were less hurried. Saturday marked the change in that routine, so we lingered long over the coffee in the gazebo overlooking the ocean.
Neighbors climbed the stairs and offered their good mornings before descending to the beach. I thought he was going to do the same, but instead he paused at the gazebo entrance, as if weighing his options and then took a seat next to me.
“You all just getting here or leaving?,” he asked.
“Same,” he said and then continued, “I had the car all packed up last night. We’re all ready to go, and then my wife and daughter sit down on the couch and get caught up in some show on TV. So I poured myself a beer,” he explained, raising his styrofoam coffee cup. “And I told my wife she was driving and headed up here.”
He shared that he was from Long Island. His family comes to the Outer Banks of North Carolina the first week in August every summer, and then visits his wife’s parents in Hampton Virginia on the way home. Their summer routine.
Our brief conversation stayed with me. His distinctively northern pronunciation of the word vodka. How often he mentioned family, including his red-headed niece who tends bar in our hometown. Perhaps sometime I’ll stop by and say “Hey, I met your uncle. I don’t know his name, but for a few minutes our summer routines collided and I enjoyed his stories.”
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