We were doubly excited about today's adventure because Ed had proclaimed a start time that finally approached a degree of reasonableness--10:00 a.m.! We took full advantage, regressing somewhat into our old habits, rolling out of bed about 7:30. At about 9:50, we heard Ed's diesel pickup outside and scurried to climb aboard for our trip to Padre Island. (I'm surprised he was able to restrain himself from showing up even earlier, as he and Marilyn usually arise about 5:30 for reasons that, so far, they have not been able to explain. These are sweet people, but they are not normal.)
The trip to Padre was uneventful, and we enjoyed seeing this part of the state that somehow had eluded us native Texans for some reason. We were immediately struck by the clarity and aqua color of the gulf waters at this location. We were more accustomed to the rather unattractive surf at Galveston that was mostly the color of dishwater, so this was really a nice surprise. Our first stop was Dirty Al's, a legendary seafood restaurant frequented by Ed and Marilyn and those who have the good fortune to accompany them on this little side trip.
|Bay View from Al's|
|Jesse, Irene and Heinz|
|Mike and Ed|
|Ron, Verna and Ginger|
|Bob, Janet and Sandy|
The food was just as good as advertised, and most of us made short work of the excellent fresh seafood. There were generous portions of french fries left over for most of the food orders, and Sandy and I were somewhat taken aback when Janet pulled out a large freezer bag and began to confiscate all of the leftover fries from all our plates. We thought to ourselves that, while the fries were quite good, we couldn't imagine how Janet would find them so appealing as leftovers--especially such a large quantity of them! Good manners prevailed over our curiosity, however, and we kept silent. It wouldn't be long until the reason for the french fry caper would be revealed.
After this fine meal, we hopped in the trucks and motored about five miles north to a spot where beach access was allowed. We parked the trucks on the beach and assembled our folding chairs in a semicircle to enjoy the perfect weather and the sound of the surf.
|Perfect Day at the Beach - Marilyn, Jesse, Ginger, Heinz and Ron|
It wasn't long until Janet produced the bag of purloined french fries and began tossing handfuls of them toward a huge flock of seagulls who obviously were not unaccustomed to begging for scraps from the tourists. With each toss of french fries, the flock would swarm our circle of chairs, quite reminiscent of the famed Alfred Hitchcock movie, gobbling up the fries with abandon. Jesse, always a bit offbeat, wondered if we might ought to toss them some Lipitor pills, too, after all these french fries.
|Irene, Ed, Bob and Janet and her Seagulls|
It occurred to me that one of us may fall victim to a certain bodily function of birds, who seem to exercise no discretion at all as to when or where they release their droppings. It has always puzzled me as to why they feel the need to launch one of their missiles in mid-flight instead of waiting at least until reaching the ground or a perch as any respectable animal would do. And, while I'm thinking about it, what do they eat that always seems to give them diarrhea?
It was during my musing over these imponderables that two of the missiles found their targets, one on my freshly dry cleaned shirt and another on my brand new pair of shorts. Sandy immediately shrieked, jumped up and held her folding chair over her head in an attempt to save her new hat she had purchased just the day before in Mexico.
Soon and mercifully, Janet exhausted her french fry stash, and the fickle gulls abandoned us, reverting to whatever gulls do whenever they aren't poop-bombing innocent humans--in this case, lining up on the beach, all facing south, as if they were expecting another group of french fry-toting doofuses to come their way.
Adding to the indignity of my receiving catcalls from the others in our circle--none of whom were victimized by the aerial assault--was my realization that I needed to figure out how best to remove the little crap piles from my clothing. I couldn't quite bring myself to use my bare fingers or even to use my handkerchief, and Sandy was no help, as she was still standing there with her chair over her head, laughing along with the others.
Finally, a good samaritan in our group--I don't remember who--produced a paper towel, and I was able to clean up the mess. Then the question arose among the others as to the configuration I would need to attain to be allowed to ride back to Llano Grande in my soiled condition. Two possible choices were offered: 1) I could ride in my underwear in the cab or 2) ride sitting on the fifth wheel hitch in the bed of the pickup. Neither of these appealed to me, and Ed finally relented, allowing me to ride in the cab so long as I sat perfectly still and didn't touch anything.
On the way back to Mercedes, we stopped at Reyes' Seafood on the island to pick up some fresh shrimp, which we cooked later for dinner. It is so yummy to get these little morsels so soon after being harvested.
Even with the seagull bombing, it was a fine day with lots of laughter among good friends, and another good memory was made for all. But I've decided I don't like seagulls.