The phone rang yesterday afternoon. It was Grandma Betty.
"It's warm!" she said. (She was calling from Miami.)
"It's warm here, too!" I told her. "The snow's all gone."
It didn't take long, did it? A day or two tops, and now we're back to normal, or to what feels like normal. If not normal, it's certainly this year's norm: warm. Thus I found myself on a bike ride yesterday afternoon, January 24 (!), after I'd hung up with Grandma Betty ...
I headed out on my usual route — Ocean Drive — just because it never (ever) gets old. There's always (always) something new or at least previously-unnoticed to see. This time it was a sign coming around the corner by that endless construction site, the place that's called The Play House, or The Bird House, or The Bird Cottage, or some such thing. It used to have little round holes (for birds?) up under the eaves; that's why I think the moniker has something to do with birds, but I may be mistaken. Anyway, it's been under re-construction for a year or two or three at this point. It does look great. The site is priceless. The view is awesome (even through a chain-link fence). OK, so there's mud, but that's reality. They'll get to landscaping once springtime rolls around ... unless it takes another whole year.
And, for that reason, when I saw the "SLOW DOWN" sign, I had to smile.
Slow down? Me? I was probably traveling at speeds in the single digits, though I can certainly imagine slowing down, or the desire for things/processes to slow down, in other senses.
The property owners? They're probably thinking quite the opposite: "Hurry up!"
Passing cars? OK, the words of caution certainly apply at that exceedingly tight, shoulderless corner where someone (like me) might be walking along or standing astride a bicycle while peering through a construction fence at the view of the picturesque cove/inlet/whatever.
And around the next corner I saw something else, though I may not have noticed it at all unless I read about it in the Newport Daily News. You know those picturesque — seriously, they've been featured in many pictures and paintings — telephone poles along that straight, reeded stretch near Gooseberry Beach? Well, they're all gone. Local property owners contributed toward putting the power and phone lines underground. Much to the chagrin of all the birds who used to sit there, I imagine, but there are plenty of other places to perch and/or chat with family & friends ...
Grandma Betty called again this afternoon.
"Hello?" I answered, in inquisitive fashion, even though there was no question as to who was on the other end.
"I'm sitting by the pool!" she said, then added quickly (lest I feel badly?), "I wish you were here."
"Thanks," I said, picturing exactly where she was, having been to South Beach myself on more than one lucky occasion. "But I'm happy to be here ... "