What could be more wonderful than a relaxed, easy drive while listening to great music with your sweetie? Near Satsop above a field marked with a sign that said “Hay for Sale” a huge hawk floated above circling hay binders. Like the hawk, our Buick Century floated over the miles from Tacoma to Ocean Shores.
The music playing continually was The Songs of Jimmie Rodgers A Tribute. The CD was released in 1997 on the 100th birthday of the legendary “Singing Breakman.” Peg had purchased the CD long before our drive across Western Washington, but I had never had a chance to sit and listen. I’m overjoyed I had the chance.
Peg’s father loved the “Father of Country Music” and we used to listen to Ike’s Jimmie Rodgers record album when we were first married. For a birthday present Peg bought me a Jimmie Rodgers songbook from which I occasionally play songs on the piano.
The CD dedication is written by Bob Dylan and is surprisingly coherent, “His voice gives hope to the vanquished and humility to the mighty.” Rodgers performed music from different current venues and made them his own. County Music is too limiting for the likes of Rodgers. Dylan even credits Jerry Lee Lewis with a statement, “Jerry Lee Lewis once said that there are only four stylists – Jimmie, Al Jolson, Hank Williams, and himself.”
The joy of listening to the music is to realize and respect the diversity and wide range of the performers. If you heard the songs being played on the radio you would just accept the beauty of the songs. To hear them in this collection makes you say, “Wow.” The CD starts off with an incredibly soulful version of Dreaming with Tears in My Eyes by Bono. Among my additional absolute favorites are: Alison Krause singing Any Old Time, Bob Dylan performing Blue Eyed Jane, and Aaron Neville yodeling through Why Should I be Lonely. Other artists on the CD are: Iris Dement, Jerry Garcia (with the lamest yodeling ever . . . but kinda catchy), Van Morrison, Dwight Yoakam, John Mellencamp, Willie Nelson, and Mary Chapin Carpenter.
After playing through the entire repertoire several times we neared Ocean Shores. We could tell we were getting close to the ocean. The sky turned gray and fog enshrouded the tops of the evergreens along the highway. We rolled into the parking lot of The Nautilus condominiums and instantly froze as we got out of the car. Peg supervised as I made three trips from the car up to the third floor condo then we headed out for dinner.
We drove past the limited number of restaurants. Since we were there on Tuesday evening there was even more of a limit on dining. Many of the places were closed. We finally decided on Chinese food at the Lucky Dragon.
We knew the food was going to be good – a local policeman was picking up a take-out order as we arrived. Inside the restaurant we broke a cardinal rule – we used a cell phone. We took out her phone and called Tacoma. My sister, Marsha, answered. Peg warned her of the weather and suggested everyone bring coats and jackets. We asked for her to fetch a bathing suit for Peg, a jacket for me and a bread knife.
The food at the Lucky Dragon was good, but nothing special. It was the standard Americanized Chinese menu. Living in Tacoma and visiting Seattle occasionally we are spoiled by the wonderful selections from our Northwest, urban asians.
Back at The Nautilus we made ourselves at home. Like many of the places we stay, the lighting is inadequate for reading. We like to read. Vacation means eating, sleeping and reading. We pulled the shade off the table lamp to give a little more light. We should have called home for higher wattage lightbulbs.
Our third-floor corner room gave us an excellent view of the dunes. I watched a young boy play animal head games. He ducked behind a hillock with a large dog on a leash. A smaller dog ran through the dunes. He would stop. Ears up, his head nervously tracked over the tall grass. The boy whistled and stayed hidden. The little dog raced around searching and sniffing. Finally, the boy stepped out and called the dog to him and laughed.
As a boy I played similar games. I would sometimes come home from school and circle around to the alley. My dogs, Pal, a collie, and Cindy, a cocker spaniel, waited patiently for me by the frontyard fence. My Shetland pony, a pinto named KoKo, stood in the small corral under the carport and watched the frontyard. I would sneak into the carport and give a holler startling all three.
This was our second time at The Nautilus. It’s a comfortable place and not expensive. Actually, it not much more than The Sands a couple hundred yards up the street which I would never recommend. My sisters stay there. The Sands has a flotsam, jetsam, ocean wreck exterior décor.
Outside The Nautilus has a Puppy Poop Area. Inside The Nautilus has coffee maker, microwave, full kitchen, fireplace, VCR, cable TV, and fancy folded-towels. We stayed for the first time when we couldn’t get into the Grey Gull. The Grey Gull is where we used to stay when we had kids at home. We’ve gone back repeatedly over the years. It’s very nice. We’ll eventually go back there, also.
As a child I never stayed in an Ocean Shores motel. My family always camped out. Generally friends and family joined us. Those are fond memories. On our trip out to the coast Peg and I talked about times past and our first anniversary. We celebrated by camping out. We sat up our tent in the dunes and then went to Hoquiam for a movie. After the movie we stopped at Kentucky Fried Chicken (it’s still there), ordered a bucket, and took our chicken to the beach. On the Ocean City beach we sat in our darkened, green and white, two-door hardtop, 1955 Chrysler New Yorker and ate our “Original Recipe” chicken (the only version they had then). I still remember that as the best Kentucky Friend Chicken I’ve ever had and that memory is probably the reason I always order Original Recipe.
Wednesday morning I slept in. I got up at 6:30. I went out to breakfast and brought back half a chicken fried steak sandwich on toast for Peg. I even brought back a slice of orange with a twist for a garnish. When she got up at ten I gave her the take-home box. The orange slice was on top of the sandwich. Presentation is everything.
My sisters and other relatives have been going to Ocean Shores for the 4th of July for several years. They've kept telling Peg and I that we should go the the beach for the fireworks display. This always seemed amusing to me because friends of ours used to through a July 4th party at their house overlooking old town. I usually left early and was in bed by the time the fireworks started.
This year we decided to try out the Fourth at Ocean Shores. We stayed in our room and watched from our deck. It was amazing. We had a 180 degree view of fireworks. As far as you would see to the left was fireworks displays and as far as you could see to the right was fireworks displays. Ocean City, a couple miles to the North of Ocean Shores had a big professional display, but from our vantage point, you couldn't tell any difference.
Our son Patrick, daughter-in-law Wendy, and our youngest granddaughter Bailee went to the beach and shot off their own fireworks. I asked Patrick about there being fewer people at the beach this time because the holiday was mid-week. He just laughed, "It didn't make any difference. There was no room on the beach for anyone else." Apparently, each family grouping butted up against the next one all the way down the beach.
The next morning of course there was fireworks debris everywhere. Empty cartons lined the roads onto the beach. Evidently the fireworks didn't scare off the wildlife. I saw deer walking across a parking lot just two hundred feet down the road from our condo the next morning. Deer where abundant.
When son Patrick and I played golf on Friday morning. We saw several groupings. One group contained two does and two fawns. Ocean Shores contains lots of brush, schrub and trees for the deer to hide and thrive in. Many of the brackets are so thick you can't see into them more than a couple of inches. None of the deer we saw came to us for a handout. They were wary and watched us and then took and continued on their own business. No deer were harmed during our golf game. Each time I teed the ball, the deer ran to the fairway. They knew they would be safe there. They were.
On Friday we moved in with Patrick and Wendy. We could have stayed with them during the entire stay, but we like our privacy and so do they. Many people in the urban centers of the Puget Sound area maintain summer home or cabins around Ocean Shores. Wendy's sister and brother-in-law have a three bedroom cabin near the beach. The vacation home reminded me of our camping days when our kids were younger. We had a truck and camper and not a furnished cabin, but they are similar in that there's no phone and no TV. For entertainment we played games. On Thursday night my sister Marsha came with us. My sister Dee Dee and her daughters stayed at the motel and got caught up in a Mariner's game on cable TV. We had fun playing games on both Thursday and Friday evenings.