Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay
Last Monday we celebrated the 246th birthday of our country. I did so by attending the Stars and Stripes celebration in downtown Sandusky – representing my new employer at a table for Catholic Charities. Later Monday evening, I celebrated by riding the GateKeeper with my daughter, eating a large hunk of deep-fried battered cheese, and watching the fireworks from the beach at Cedar Point.
But in between was a little bit different. After spending the hottest part of the afternoon in the blazing sun and scorching heat (thank GOD for sunscreen!) I managed to take a short mid-afternoon nap. The heat and the heavy lifting can really wear a guy out! But when dinnertime came with no cookout plans and a mostly empty fridge, we decided to see if any of the local pizza shops were open to place a phone order. One by one we were greeted with endless voice menu loops or relentless ringing with no one answering on the other side of the line. Eventually, my wife suggested that we go to see if the local lakefront sub shop we enjoy was open – shout out to Great Lakes Grinders! We jumped in the car and drove down to Shoreline Park, but that small family business (like many of the mom and pop pizza shops we called) wasn’t open this holiday afternoon.
Our next stop was Dockside Cafe – another waterfront outdoor dining location with great burgers and salads and a few nice adult beverages. The seating there is right on Sandusky Bay with a great view of the water and Cedar Point further off in the distance. As we pulled into the parking lot, we were able to see that it was open and hopping. A good sign!
The line to order food at Dockside can sometimes be quite long and the outdoor seating under the shade awning is often full, but on this particular Monday holiday, the order line was relatively short (at least when we got there) and there were plenty of tables available in the shade. Another good omen!
I didn’t even notice the folks immediately in front of us in line and the line moved quickly enough that I had no real reason to take notice. Hey! I was more interested in studying the menu (which I should already know by heart) – trying to decide what deliciousness I was about to introduce to my growing waistline!
Once it was our turn to order, I noticed the dark haired woman ahead of us stepping back out of line – having completed and paid for her order. I stepped aside to give her room to move past toward the seating. It was a sunny July day and her sunglasses gave good cover to her facial features as she walked away from the cashier to wait for her food order to be called. Something about her looked familiar, but I couldn’t place it. Lots of strangers look familiar in lots of ways all the time. My thoughts turned back to that menu board. That was when I saw the man she was with and had an immediate a-ha! moment. I started to tell my wife what I wanted her to order for me as I was trying to rush back over toward the diners who had been ahead of us in line. The cashier probably assumed I was crazy or rude or something worse – thinking I was interrupting her as she was right in the middle of taking my daughter’s order. I was really just trying to communicate my order quickly to my wife as I chased after Todd and Carol – high school classmates of my sister and I! I walked over to their table and said hello to them both by name, but like me – they didn’t immediately recognize me until I took off my sunglasses.
For a déjà vu moment, take a read through Sandusky Family Time – a post from several years ago. That was the LAST time I unexpectedly ran into old high school classmates from 150 miles away while trying (and failing) to find a good dining option. In both scenarios one or the other of us had several different dining options altered due to random circumstances – only to eventually bump into each other with perfect timing.
I had a chance to chat with Carol and Todd for a few minutes to find out they were up this way to enjoy the long weekend. They just happened to try this place for dinner (an excellent choice). We discussed a few prime locations to watch the Cedar Point fireworks and chatted about a few other nice Sandusky area locations. We talked about the recent closing of Giannamore’s Pizza back home and what a sad sad reality that was. I even mentioned to them the time that I ran into Meg and Brian in that similar chance encounter several years ago over at Cedar Point.
Unique occurrences often come in three’s. Even being years apart – this has me wondering, which other CCHS Class of ’89 alum am I going to randomly run into while dining out in Sandusky over the next several years or more?
It was a beautiful day to celebrate freedom. It was a beautiful day to watch fireworks from the beach at Cedar Point. It was a beautiful day to unexpectedly bump into some old friends where I would never expect to do so!