It seems as though I no sooner get my feet firmly planted in my kitchen than I am on the road again.
After completing an amazing trans-Atlantic trip last fall and spending time with family in Virginia for the holidays, Randy and I were called away to look into an on-going stressful family matter in Alabama.
I have always been one who ascribes to the phrase, “Every cloud has a silver lining” and found two on this most recent trip.
Our first silver lining was visiting with our beautiful granddaughters, Fiona and Lauren catching up to their very busy lives, hearing about their future plans and breaking bread with them and my son-in-law Roger, at one of our favorite restaurants.
The first time we went to the Ol’ Heidelberg restaurant Randy fell in love with their cucumber salad. He loves it because the cucumbers are as thin as a sheet of paper and the dressing is light and delicious. The restaurant is filled with images of Germany, cuckoo clocks and beautiful beer steins. The strains of German music played as the waitress set our delicious dishes on the table.
Roger, Fiona, Lauren and myself ordered different varieties of Schnitzel. Randy ordered the Bratwurst platter. All the dishes were delicious and all our plates were returned to the kitchen almost as clean as they were when they were first picked off the shelf. The girls and I wanted to share a dessert so I sent Lauren and Fiona on a mission to the front of the restaurant to look at all the desserts on display. They chose a slice of Black Forest cake. The slice was so big each one of us had a good sampling. We said our goodbyes in the parking lot and went our separate ways until the next time we come up to visit.
Later that evening I posted a picture of our visit to the restaurant with the family on Facebook. Our friends Paul and Rachel spotted it and posted an invitation, “If you ever find yourself near Orange Beach please let me know”. I looked at Randy and said, “Guess where we are going on our way back to Florida?”
I responded to Rachel telling her that we were heading home on Tuesday and could swing by and how great it would be to see them again and suggested that we could get together for lunch. Rachel sent along directions and suggested we meet at Hurricane Grill and Wings restaurant at Orange Beach, Alabama.
We met Paul and Rachel while on our trans-Atlantic cruise last fall and we really looking forward to connecting again. We arrived a little early and took a seat. The restaurant was small but had a nice, friendly atmosphere. The menu offered a nice variety of land and sea choices.
Smiles and hugs all around and then we settled down to good conversations and delicious food. We started with Fried Pickles and Firecracker Shrimp. We definitely needed liquid refreshment to cool off the palettes.
The time slipped away quickly as we talked and talked. So much time had passed that they invited us to spend the night at the condo and get a good start in the morning. Paul and Rachel snowbird each year in the Gulf Shore area. Their condo was on the beach with a beautiful view of the beach from their 8th floor balcony.
After our tour of the condo, Rachel suggested that we take a walk on the beach. I had my shoes off and my pants rolled up in no time and off we went. The sun was bright and the air crisp, just perfect for a leisurely stroll on the beach.
I love walking on the beach. Walking on Orange Beach was like walking on confectioner’s sugar. It was so white and soft and I loved the way is made its way up through my toes. The sand was so cool to the touch.
We spotted a woman digging in the sand and wondered out loud if she was trying to dig her way to China. I walked over and asked her what she was doing.
“I am digging for shells,” she replied. “New sand had been added to the beach recently and is filled with beautiful shells”.
I took a moment to look at her collection and she was right, they were beautiful. The shells were different colors and shapes and all beautiful.
She went on to say, “After you take a walk on the beach what else is there to do?”
I could not help but wonder: What else is there to do?
As Rachel and Randy continued to talk to her, I looked around and watched a flock of pelicans circling above the water and then one-by-one they nose-dive into the waves hoping to catch their evening meal. I turned again to watch a flock of seagulls flying above the waves. Several landed on the beach and scurried here and there as the water rolled onto shore. I watched as a couple talking in hushed whispers walked hand-in-hand down the beach. And, then the best treat of all, I watched as the sun started to set at the end of the beach and lit the sky with hues of yellow and gold. What else is there to do on the beach indeed!
We walked a little further and then turned back towards the condo to spend the rest of the evening lounging on the balcony watching the sunset, listening to the waves and talking. It was a beautiful day.
Before settling in for the evening we agreed to have breakfast at the Waffle House. Oh, my, I had forgotten just how wonderful the pecan waffles were. We said our goodbyes, thanked them for their wonderful hospitality and then, we were back on the road again, this time heading home.
These two events, spending time with our granddaughters and spending time with our new friends made, what otherwise would have been a very sad trip, memorable. Life is truly good!