“It’s your birthday; you can do whatever you want.”
“Good. I plan on sitting at the camper or the beach and do as little as possible.”
Having a birthday in September, fall’s cooler temperatures make it perfect for a beach trip. With the kids back in school, booking a campsite becomes easier. Unlike the brutal summer heat, September’s temperature drop makes beach days more tolerable.
Clear, sunny weather made the drive to Cape Hatteras enjoyable. Little traffic made the driving stress free, the minor construction adding a half hour to our journey.
Camp Hatteras sits on both sides of highway 12. Our beachside site allowed us the luxury of ocean waves for background noise. A cool breeze met us when we arrived at site 130. Backing onto the concrete pad effortlessly, we had camp set up by 4:15 p.m.
“Ready to walk?”
Coming out of the trailer with the leashes, the dogs started yelping their approval before Ron could respond. Camping a hundred yards from the beach has many perks; evening walks with pups in the soft sand one of them.
“I’m watching the mouse. It’s been crossing the road and is taking forever. Do you see it? It’s right in the middle.”
Looking in the direction Ron’s finger pointed, I could barely make out the small fur ball sitting motionless on the dirt road. When a car came towards it, the tiny creature ran to the safety of the nearby grass, where it sat as we walked past.
Surprised at how class our teeny friend allowed us and the pups to get, I videoed his rapid departure.
Toes in the warm water marked the official beginning of the weekend.
“It’s so warm.”
“Yeah, that’s why it’s hurricane season; the water’s the warmest it will be all year long. That’s what hurricanes need.” Ron replied to my observation.
After our short walk, we settled in to watch the campground life around us. Our friend on the Segway, beer holder on top of his handlebar, crocs on his feet, made an investigative loop around the premises. Parades of dogs walked past, all sizes and colors, testing the patience of our pups, who remained quiet.
“They are well-behaved,” said one passerby, his black schnauzer sniffing the signpost on their way past.
“That’s not something I hear often,” I replied with a slight chuckle.
“Wanna get a pedicure?”
No wife says no when her husband asks her about getting her toes painted pretty. Rarely does Ron offer such a coveted gift.
Island Nails offered three different pedicures, the basic $35. I typed away on my laptop as Ron read from his phone and the husband-wife team worked on our toes.
“That”s my Honey, working.”
Outdoor offices at the beach inspire me. Rolling waves remind me tide and time wait for no man, continuously flowing. Salt air fills the nostrils, as the heat from the sun warms the soul, words flow effortlessly when surrounded by God’s glorious creation.
After burgers on the grill, we headed to the beach for a while. Taking the opportunity to read “Uninvited,” sent to me by a friend for my birthday, I had an epiphany about rejection:
“Self-rejection paves the landing strip for the rejection of others to arrive and pull on the gates of our heart.” Lisa Terkeurst
You never know when God will drop a nugget of truth into your Spirit that changes your whole perspective. I discovered a root of bitterness that grew every time I felt rejected by someone else, validating my self-rejection.
Let the healing continue!
Our afternoon ended as quietly as it began. Sitting in our folding blue rocking chairs, we read while the pups stood watch. The ocean’s breeze cooled us, our beach towels draped over the awning provided shade, and our neighbor’s sultry tunes filled our ears.
“A sixteen-year-old girl hit the front of my jeep at a red light. Broke my sternum and messed up my foot. That’s why I’m wearing this boot. But we had these reservations here, so we came. And the worst part is, I can’t ride my Harley for four weeks.”
People’s stories always surprise me, as did our neighbor when he stopped to chat on his way back from dumping his trash. I didn’t notice the boot, but the slight limp caught my eye. I never imagined he had a broken sternum, nor such a tale.
Life in the campground, you never know who you will meet.
“They have an eight a.m. outside,”
Immediately, an excited “Ahh!” began to leave my lips, only to have Ron mimic me with a smile.
“I knew that’s what you would do,” Ron said, eyes twinkling, as he shared information with me about Fair Haven Methodist‘s outdoor church service in the morning.
And so we now know our place of worship for this trip:-)!
Kids rode by on electric scooters. Owner and their dogs waved hello on their after-dinner strolls. Sunlight faded to dark ever so gently as the day ended.
A day well spent by the seaside, allowing the salt air and ocean waves to energize us with their uplifting power.
Outside worship didn’t happen, so we attended the 9:30 worship service in the small sanctuary with wooden pews and stained glass windows. Three women welcomed us in song as we found our seats.
After sharing an update on the pastor’s TIA due to a hole in his heart, music began to play from her iPhone as a woman in a blue cardigan stepped to the podium. As her voice began to ring through the tiny chapel, conviction over my critical spirit helped me ask for forgiveness and enjoy the angelic sounds coming from the front.
After passing the peace with those around us, the congregation shared their joys and concerns.
“Praise the church family. I’d like to thank everyone for the support at the funeral and are still doing. People are still bringing meals. If we still did the awesome awards, I’d give it to the whole church. Y’all are awesome.”
The singing angel from the pulpit experienced profound loss this past week of some sort, yet stood and sang beautifully for all to hear, “We all need Jesus.”
Visiting a traditional church like my one as a child brought back warm memories. Singing Gloria Patria, passing the peace, reciting the Lord’s prayer, and singing the Doxology, all part of my growing up years. Childlike faith returned within the walls of Fair Haven UMC.
Standing beside Ron, holding the hymnal, singing off key, listening to his tenor sing with me, a dream come true. Witnessing my parents do the same thing for decades painted the picture of marriage for me. However, by the third hymn, I must confess, I missed the worship songs from our home church.
“That’s what we were going to do, visit Cora’s tree?”
Buying Hatteras Island Red Ale while fueling up for the trip home reminded Ron of Cora. When in Manteo piddling a few months ago, we learned the story of Cora the witch. Tied to a tree by the townsfolk who intended to burn her alive, she disappeared in a flash, leaving only her name carved in the tree, which still stands today.
Our afternoon plans developed because of a six-pack.
“Well, we saw the tree. That’s huge ass live oak, that’s for sure.”
Ron’s words as we walked away tell the tale. Unfortunately, we could night find Cora’s name in the tree, hard as we tried.
No plaque marked the 400-year-old tree, unfortunately. A half-burnt wood stick with the words “Light me, Let yourself be” sat amid colorful rocks; one can only wonder at its purpose. Moss covered the bark in intricate patterns, allowing the gaze to glide over the large limbs.
The legend remains intact. As we pulled away, another car took our place, using it for parking—the history of the tree lost on the car’s young driver, or maybe not. I’ll never know.
Never, in a million years, did I list “Cook” as one of my requirements for a future mate during my single years.
But I sure am glad I married a man who not only loves to cook but loves to cook for me.
“You spoil me, and I’ll let you,” I said as he started cooking dinner.
After dinner, we walked to the beach with the pups and toasted Cora one last time.
Our last night by the fire with the pups passed quietly—the neighbor’s blue light next door added ambiance to our evening. Children’s laughter rang around us as the waves pounded the shore and the breeze fanned the flames.
Another relaxing weekend with my honey. Before you know it, life will roll back in on us, but for now, serenity reigns.
“6:49 sunrise tomorrow; I guess I’ll get up to watch it.”
Watching sunrises always invigorates me. I love reading my daily Bible verses while the sun begins to peak over the horizon. Somehow, sitting beside the magnificent waves and their raw power connects me with the Creator in a unique way only found on the sandy shores. Life rolled around me as people came to share the beauty of the moment.
“Between 7:00 and 7:30, right on time,” Ron said as we pulled out of site 130, heading home. Starting my 53rd trip around the sun begins with no complaints for me but lots of praises for God.