I was correct in assuming, by the obvious evidence, dear Dr. Watson, that the holiday makers began leaving the beach Saturday night or Sunday morning. Turned out the forecast update (yet again) called for showers Sunday night and Monday all day.
The place was a ghost town by Monday afternoon. The showers dried up by late afternoon and by the time I got the call that my ride was on her way, the sky was clear. The clear sky didn’t reduce the humidity however, as we met up with the group at Stoney Lonen. It was clear that the season was over.
A large sign greeted us at the front door - “Irish Sunscreen: Join us in the Pub.” I hope I don’t have to explain this one.
When I walked in Chester looked me over in the kilt and said, “properly dressed, I see. And what kind of sunscreen will you be drinking?” We all had a good laugh and settled in.
Another guy arrived in a kilt and we acknowledged each other and smiled. A while later a drink appeared before me and from the other end of the bar there was an arm with a glass raised. The toast of “Slainte” echoed through the bar. Well, Linda was in heaven, and the others in our group stopped making silly jokes about the kilt and you know, like wearing frilly knickers!!!
We knocked back Bangers & Mash, Irish Nachos (large roasted potato wedges covered in melted cheese, double cream and diced tomatoes), Irish Onion Rings and shrimp, of course. I downed 2 pints of Guinness - Chester doing a proper Irish pour all the way.
I sent my kilted friend a drink a little later on, and the same thing happened all over again. “Slainte” What great fun. By now Brian, the owner, having complimented me on my attire is hanging out and complaining about being in the kitchen rather than in his kilt.
This was interesting because my early kilt days were in a mostly gay environment. This was none of that, but more. A few guys - young and older - asked questions and showed genuine interest in getting a kilt of their own. One guy especially liked the kilt pin, so I shared its story with him, too. There is a sense of freedom and camaraderie that goes along with wearing a kilt, and it has nothing to do with being surrounded by gay men. Very interesting, indeed.
It was time for Linda to introduce me to another new cocktail; this one very popular in Ireland this year. I don’t remember if there is a proper name for it, but Linda referred to it as an Irish Whiskey Black Russian. Yes, I know. Confusing. But the taste was unusual, engaging, and well, different. All in a good way.
Now that the season is over most everyone is planning a holiday somewhere on the planet. Frank is going to Key West, Andrew is heading for St. Petersburg Russia, others are heading to California and Canada, and Linda will spend a 2 weeks in Ireland with her family in a few weeks time. All their plans sound so wonderful and they deserve the break after the busy season here.
As we were about to leave the kilt-clad gentleman came by to shake hands and one of our group made an embarrassing mistake. He asked what was under the kilt. The gentleman smiled at me and I beckoned him to continue. You can imagine how often that stupid question is asked. My new friend smiled, took the open hand of the questioner and held it up. A deadpan expression.
“It is said that the difference between a kilt and a skirt is undergarments. If you wear undergarments in a normal situation, you’re wearing a skirt. If not, you’re wearing a kilt. Now, do you want to find out which it is that I wear this day?” The entire bar let out a “Whoop!” Then the applause. My friend disengaged his hand from the other and offered a goofy smile in return. Some people just never learn.
With 2 pints, 2 shots and 2 Irish Black Russians under my belt doing their thing with the sausages, shrimp and other goodies, we were about pooped out. There were dogs to be walked and some semblance of normalcy to restore to the lives of these people.
I was dropped off at home feeling happier than I have in a while. Since the last HH party, in fact. With everyone going separate ways I think it may be a while before the tribe meets up again, but that’s fine. I have a lot to remember, relive, and make me smile.
And so it goes.