Norman Knight: Turkey at the beach

One of the things I most looked forward about retirement was the ability to take trips throughout the year.

Teaching school means personal travel is limited by the school schedule. Since retirement, Becky and I have tried to take advantage of this more open calendar. This week, for example, we find ourselves on the coast of South Carolina.

It is November, a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving. Earlier in the week we made a long drive to Edisto Island just south of Charleston to spend some time. It’s been more than a decade since we were last here. The only town on the small Island, Edisto Beach, doesn’t seem to have changed much. The Piggly Wiggly grocery store is now a Food Lion, and a restaurant right on the beach has a new name. There are different shops that sell beach trinkets, but otherwise, it is pretty much the same as we remember it.

Change often comes slowly to places like this: familiar destinations that are comforting for the people who visit year after year, a tradition for families to spend a week doing beach stuff, making sand castles. The castles get washed away, but the families are back next season with personnel changes, new additions, and old memories and everyone starts again making new sand castles.

This November is much cooler than when we were here in May 2012. Becky and I planned accordingly. We would bring warmer clothes. We would hike and walk the beach. We would slowly try get back into running after the therapy sessions to recover from our injuries. We would eat seafood. We would not buy beach trinkets.

Becky is still cautious about doing too much too soon, but my running legs have been feeling better so I am going for a short run. Today is the first day of our trip when it has not been pleasantly sunny. In fact, it is raining right now. No matter, it looks like a light rain, and I’m already lacing up my shoes for a couple of miles. I hope it’s not too cold and too windy.

Then, I hear something outside. Music. An ice cream truck — of all things — is slowly driving around the parking area playing “Turkey in the Straw.” Strange for this time of year. Does he get much business? Oh, well. I am committed, so I walk out the door.

The ice cream truck is many yards in front of me. Now I am conscious that I am chasing an ice cream truck. In a flashback, I see myself as a kid on the Greenwood street where I grew up. “Mom! it’s the Ice Cream Man! Can I have a dime?”

The truck is slowly trolling for customers, but I am even slower so it goes on out ahead of me, “Turkey in the Straw” chiming over and and over. The truck turns left on a side street, but I can still hear the music. It’s back out on the main street before I catch up. At the next side street it again turns left and I run past. “Turkey in the Straw” still audible.

When the Ice Cream Man emerges back onto the main street I am in front of him. Now, he is coming up behind me. I fantasize I am in one of those movies or dreams where I am being chased. We both are moving slowly. It seems hard to move my legs. Can’t seem to pull away. “Turkey in the Straw” bearing down. I try to focus on my pace. Finally, at one mile I stop to turn around for home. The Ice Cream Man drives past and I wave as “Turkey in the Straw” Dopplers away from me. I run the second mile back to our rooms.“Rain not as bad as I expected; wind not that cold. Good run,” I think as I walk up the stairs.

Yes, it was a good run. Becky calls it a “quirky” run, and she is probably closer to it. Anyway, another vacation memory.

Norman Knight, a retired Clark-Pleasant Middle School teacher, writes this weekly column for the Daily Journal. Send comments to [email protected].