My actual birthday was last week, and at the beginning of the month, Shannon hosted a party for Clif and me. (His birthday is this Saturday.) However for the past five or six years, the tradition has been to have lunch in Portland with Shannon for a little extra birthday celebration, and we were joined by our friend Kate. (Naturally, we did the same for Shannon’s and Kate’s birthdays.)
Alas, our friend Kate moved to Pennsylvania and can no longer join us. (Thanks, Kate, for the delicious raspberry tea, which I am drinking as I write.) However, Shannon and I decided we would still like to meet for our birthdays, even though we will miss Kate very much.
Yesterday was the day that worked best for both Shannon and me, and our original plan was to have lunch at The Green Elephant, a Portland restaurant that specializes in tasty vegetarian food. But the forecast was so fine, so warm and sunny, that Shannon suggested, “How about if you come up a little early, and we’ll go for a walk on the beach?”
Now, there’s nothing this inland girl loves more than a walk on the beach, and I readily agreed. As it turned out, the day was as perfect as the forecast predicted, and as I was driving to Portland I thought, “Why not grab sandwiches somewhere and spend the whole time at the beach? There will be plenty of time for lunch indoors.”
“Sounds good,” Shannon said, when I suggested this to her at her apartment.
Unfortunately, we had to leave the dogs behind because Crescent Beach doesn’t allow dogs on the beach until October 1. But, we went to Scratch Baking Company, not far from where Shannon lives, and bought everything good that we needed for a picnic—sandwiches made with a spicy black bean spread, roasted peppers, a sunflower seed pesto, and mixed greens; drinks; chips; and a brownie and short bread. (That sandwich was especially good! I can still taste it.)
When we got to Kettle Cove, which has benches and is adjacent to Crescent Beach, there was a bit of wind. Actually, there was a lot of wind, and I parked the car so that it overlooked the ocean, just in case we had to eat inside.
“Shall we eat in the car?” I asked, watching the wind whip over the grass.
“No, let’s eat outside,” Shannon said. “We’re in all winter.”
True enough. We set up on one of the benches, and the wind lifted our hair. It also tipped over Shannon’s drink and spilled some of it on the ground. No sooner had she righted the drink, then our chips flew off the bench, and our pastries followed not long afterwards.
“Do you want to eat in the car?” I asked again.
“That might be a good idea,” Shannon said, and we both laughed as we thought about the flying chips and pastries and the spilled drink.
In the warm, wind-free car, we ate our lunch, watched the waves curl and break on the rocky shore, and talked about many things, including the excellent Ken Burns documentary about the Roosevelts.
After lunch, we went for a walk on the beach, where the wind was only a gentle breeze, and the sun was so warm we had to take off our jackets and tie them around our waists. We walked to the state park, where we sat on a log on the beach, watched more curling waves, and, of course, talked about matters large and small.
As is our tradition on birthday outings, we took a selfie.
Such a lovely day of simple pleasures—I found a round rock speckled with mica to add to my collection on the kitchen window sill. In fact, it was a finest kind of day, and I want to do exactly the same thing next year, if the weather allows.