Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. 67th Street Access. Sunday, October 28, 2018. Copyright © 2018, me.

or . . . how I ended up with the  s

Yesterday was bit of a holiday, a day trip to Myrtle Beach. My friend H— had the day off and was craving sun, sea, and crab legs. She also wanted some good company (and a night-time driver) and offered to spring for the buffet if I would come along for the ride. We brought Rosie along, the chihuahua whose owners are a married couple (friends of ours)currently doing time (unjustly) in separate federal prisons.
As I do every morning, I wrote to my friend E— earlier today. He is hard of hearing and cannot use the prison phone due to the noise and a lack of hearing aides. Fortunately, he enjoys reading and writing. If there is a silver lining to his current situation it is that incarceration has given him a reason to correspond regularly. (Here is another recent message I sent him.)
I would write to his wife N— just as regularly but . . . while she is a great friend, she is equally terrible as a correspondent. She is able to read and write, but prefers instead to spend awful amounts of money on prison phone calls. She and her husband E— have only recently been allowed to correspond directly, with no other means of direct communication for almost nine (9) months.
What follows is my message to him this morning, edited slightly, and interspersed (for you) with a few of the photographs I took yesterday.

Hi E — ,

Sunday turned out to be a very good time for a day-trip to the beach. I imagine you enjoyed the same cloudless sun and sky that H — and I did.
The drive down was easy since there was not much traffic . . .at least none heading towards the coast. There were hordes of RVs and SUVs heading the other way, though.

H — wanted to buy a tiny pumpkin but had no luck at the produce stands along the route. Too late in the season, it seems. We listened to an rebroadcast of the American Top 40 count-down with Casey Kasem from October 25, 1980. Barbara Streisand had the #1 hit with “Woman in Love.”

Image edited to protect the guilty. Copyright © 2018, me.

Your dog Rosie, whose enjoyment was a secondary mission of our trek, scuttled around in my lap, panting all the way with her tongue flapping around, bug-eyed and gazing out the window; all-in-all, reasonably happy.

On the way down, we stopped for a moment in a ghost town to let the dog pee. The pawn shop there had “We’re Open” signs on the sidewalk . . . but it was not. The town would have made for an excellent Twilight Zone shooting location.

I call this photograph, “Why Bother?” Copyright © 2018, me.

We had a light lunch at a little deli in North Myrtle Beach. I had a bagel and Heather a sandwich with a chicken patty, some kind of salami, and provolone cheese We parked later at a public Access spot at 67th street and ventured out on the sparsely populated sands. I sat underneath an umbrella, shielded from the death rays of our star, reading and writing on my phone.

A lovely, shaded vantage. You can spot the friendly, photogenic bulldog at the water’s edge. Copyright © 2018, me.

H — enjoyed the popular pastime of playing Where’s My Melanoma? and read some Jack Reacher book.

Clandestine identity assured, here is Agent H — and Rosie. Copyright © 2018, me.

Rosie and H — got plenty of exercise running and walking up and down the edge of the water while I kept watch over inertia, lest he sneak off.

Agent H — trying hard not to look posed for this photo. Copyright © 2018, me.

There were lots of other dogs out with their owners. We met a very friendly and handsome English bulldog with her owner. Late October looks like peak pup season in Myrtle Beach. I am surprised the movers and shakers of the Redneck Rivera have not yet developed a Canine Beach Festival to draw the “Doggo” crowd. It would be a clever event indeed, methinks.

The dog is contemplating using my flip-flop as a surfboard. Copyright © 2018, me.

I took a few nice photos and enjoyed the generally cool breeze (and lack of skin cancer) from the safety of my shade.

A beached Kracken! Quick! Someone push it back in the ocean before it dies. Copyright © 2018, me.

There were lots of fishing boats on the horizon but nobody nearby went into the cold water.

I took this video whist zoomed in on the ships. The OZO sound technology in my Nokia 6.1 adds quite a lot, I think. Copyright © 2018, me.

There was a guy with a much younger blond woman who was either incredibly drunk or high — or both. He attended to her special brand of redneck-lady-hysterics as only much much older man would to a nutty young shrew. The reason why the public beach was chosen as the best place for her freak-out is unknown to me. Maybe going bonkers while away on vacation is their shared custom.

The only really unpleasant element was the biting flies, but they did not exact too much tribute during our brief stay.

After a couple of hours perched by the Atlantic, we drove three miles to the Giant Crab, the primary mission of the journey.

The word “gourmet” is used loosely in this context. Copyright © 2018, me.

H — , glutton that she was on this journey, lay waste to the crustaceans, much as Godzilla did to many tall buildings in Tokyo.

The face of gluttony, concealed again. This time to hide her shame. Copyright © 2018, me.

I had a few crab clusters . . . they were tasty but not as good as the ones we had together at Carolina Beach.

Implements of Destruction. Copyright © 2018, me.
Nomnomnomnom! Copyright © 2018, me.

The most important worker at the Giant Crab was clearly the lady serving up the crab clusters. She had a mega-watt smile and pleasant demeanor. It was her role to gregariously and judiciously regulate the hangry monster diners, preventing them from destroying one another amidst the crab-cracking carnage.

The belle of the ball, the nice lady with the smile and the crab hook-up. Copyright © 2018, me.

Overall, the food was OK, but nothing to rave about. The service, on the other hand, was spectacular with friendly and helpful folks everywhere.

The buffet had a Turkish-ish (maybe?) dessert that was exotic and tasty with an interesting fibrous texture. I dubbed it Flakeyfloofystan. It was sort of Indian-like and nutty so N — would have liked it for sure. Without a doubt she would have partaken in the infectious gluttony.

You, on the other hand would have certainly appreciated the friendly attentive service and maybe even indulged in a Frozen Long Island Tea (Only $8.95! can you believe it?) in a souvenir glass.

The bottom half of the souvenir drink-hawking paper place mats describe the engineering feat that is “Tommy the Crab.” I took the photo don’t claim it. 😉

The friendly people who work there, our attentive waiter, the magnificent grille cook who fired-up our steaks, and of course the Queen Crab Lady, deserve praise. Otherwise, The Giant Crab is a tourist trap for out-of-town gluttons offering only mediocre (if bottomless) fare.

Still, we enjoyed ourselves.

A visit to this place comes complete with a free postage stamp-sized group photo . . . as long as you exit through the gift shop.

There is no need to blur Agent H — ‘s face here. The full-sized images were of reasonable quality but I’m pretty sure the free miniatures are blurred by design. Or . . . we might have been roofied for a bit. Hard to say really. Copyright © 2018, me.

The selfie we took was much better.

Agent H— and I, prior to the great gut-stuffing event. Copyright © 2018, me.

H — really enjoyed her mini-vacation and I was grateful for the feast and change of scenery.

On the way back home, I called your sister K — and told her that you were still holding-up OK but that you were battling a cold. She went on about Vitamin C and was generally very concerned for your welfare. I told her you were hopeful for news of a successful appeal and updated her on the battle of the electric fan. She said that she had written you a letter last week and was going to try to write to you a bit more frequently.

She said that your brother D — was very concerned about you. I Dunno if you have yet received his letter. K — asked me to ask you if you had received D — ’s note. I told her about some of the snail-mail delays and said I’d pass the word along. Then H — made much girl-talk with K — for a little bit and assured her everything was being looked after and that you’d be ok and hopefully home soon.

Rosie was just as weird on the drive home. I think in the future she needs some doggie Xanex for the road.

Neurotic, travel-crazed chihuahua. Image copyright © 2018, me.

We left Charlotte around 7 am Sunday morning and returned at about 10 pm. A couple of quiz shows on NPR made the ride home (with me at the wheel and the dog in H — ’s lap) pass quickly .
I noticed the tag on your car expires this month. Have you got someone to take care of that for you?
This ends my full account of Sunday at the Beach with Rosie.
Your friend,
e

Here is the bumper music,
now reformulated with the missing ingredient: 
lots of cowbell!

alto Clay Gwen Gloria BFoundAPen James Sherry kurt Pope David Chloe