by Donna Byrd
I love Wednesdays because that’s my husband’s day off. Usually, in the warmer months, Bill golfs for half of the day at one our beautiful, local golf courses and then spends the rest of his day with me, maintaining the yard, fixing things around the house, visiting places we haven’t been before, walking the beach or (my favorite) shopping.
This past Wednesday, we awakened to a rainy, gray day. It was obvious that golf was not in the forecast and neither was working in the yard. What could we do on a warm, rainy Wednesday to make it feel special? We took a ride down the beach road and searched for a cozy lunch at a place we’d never been before.
I’ve always loved a rainy day at the beach and when I was growing up and we’d go to the beach on vacation, the week would usually have at least one rainy day. That was the day we doctored our sunburns, read books and magazines, ate at one of our favorite seafood restaurants from the cheaper lunch menu and then explored the local shopping scene.
This Wednesday with Bill felt like one of those days. As soon as the car left the high bridge and began making its way down the beach road, it began to rain in earnest. The windshield wipers were having trouble keeping up with the big drops, but I didn’t care. I loved the sound of the rain hitting the glass and the rhythm of the wipers slapping against the sheet of water. It seemed as if we were in our own world on that deserted beach road, safe and dry while all nature outside was fending for itself in the pouring rain. I know it makes me seem like an odd sort of person, but that feeling makes me feel satisfied and content.
We decided to go to “Daddy Macs” for lunch. It’s in a wonderful location; right on the ocean looking out over the Surf City Ocean Pier, Topsail Island’s first pier, built in 1948. I was hoping to get a few good pictures of the pier from the restaurant’s back porch/deck.
The restaurant was casually beautiful! The dining area was surrounded by windows that gave majestic views of ocean waves tipped in foamy white, gray sky, seagulls and nautical birds trying to fly with the wind currents. We saw rain darkened, faded gray planks that made up the pier next door and the fishermen on it, covered in yellow, red and blue rain slickers.
Although it was gray and misty, it was one of the most beautiful scenes I had witnessed at the beach. There was even a huge, bright, American flag that proudly flew from the pier, brightening up the dreary landscape. I stepped outside in the rain to take some pictures.
We were seated in a booth by the windows. I had fried flounder, fries and slaw while Bill had one of Daddy Mac’s classic hamburgers. We took our time at the cozy table and watched the ocean swells through the rain splashing down the windows. The staff had some great music playing on a Pandora station. Our food was delicious and so was that “rainy day at the beach” lazy feeling. Ahhh…did I tell you I love the beach in the rain?
We couldn’t sit at the lunch table all afternoon and eventually we paid our bill and left. We met a sweet couple with a few kids outside on the front porch. They were from Burnsville, North Carolina in Yancey County. That little town is far away from here, right by the Tennessee border. They love to come to Topsail Beach in October when things aren’t quite as busy. Even they didn’t mind the rain.
We said our goodbyes and ran to our cars, sorry for our Daddy Mac experience to end. I wished the nice couple lived near Topsail. I knew if they did, we might become good friends.
We rode over the swing bridge, leaving the island to go home by way of Highway 17. Stopping at the new Dunkin Donuts on the mainland side, we got a coffee to share and began to make our way back to “The Ferry.” We took a few detours and discovered some roads we had not yet travelled. On a whim, we took a “dead end” that surprised us with its quaint homes and pretty twists and turns. The trees along the road were in full fall color and were swirling in the air with the rain. There was a little white chapel with a steeple and suddenly, the road ended. We could have driven straight off into the Intracoastal Waterway!
Stopping the car, we sat there drinking our coffee, in our own little dry world, while the rain fell from the gray sky and we watched the dark gray water lap at the grassy shore. Even a rainy day at the beach is magical. See you soon?