At first we just wander around looking at the cars and then we walk down the beach. Ricky starts dropping one popped corn every ten feet or so as we walk. A single seagull walks along behind us scooping up the corn. And then another seagull joins him and the two of them fight over each puff of popped corn. And then seven or eight seagulls walk and squawk behind us getting closer and closer until fifty or more seagulls are watching Ricky’s hand go into the bag, trying to catch the next piece almost before it leaves his hand. We start to jog. The seagulls walk, fly, run to keep us with us, all of them begging for another bit of corn. We run. The fifty seagulls take flight, some in front of us some behind, most swirling around our heads. We fear the droppings seagulls are famous for. Ricky does the only thing he can and dumps half our bag of kettle corn in a pile in the sand and we head up the beach toward the houses built next to the sand. The gulls stay behind and fight over the white pile of popped corn.
“Remind me not to feed the birds,” Ricky says, still breathing hard from the run up the beach in the soft sand.
“Don’t feed the birds!” Ricky thinks that’s funny, he has a pretty good sense of humor. The sidewalks of the small beach town are crowded with car show people and the main street is a slow moving, unbroken line of old, fixed up cars. We know this town pretty good; it’s the closest beach from our house. The best bakery is a secret. I’ll give you a clue; it’s not a cute little shop with wooden tables and a view of the water. With most of our corn used as a decoy we walk to the north end of the main street and between the gas pumps of an old gas station. Inside the unpopulated gas station’s shop and go market, past all the packaged snacks, past the machines dispensing soda, against the back wall is the best bakery in town.
“Cheese Danish,” Ricky says to the person standing behind the glassed-in counter.
“Berry scone,” I say in answer to the counter person’s questioning glance.
Outside, after we both have sampled our snack I decide it is time to follow Ricky’s instruction once more, “Hey, Ricky.”
“What?” he knows what’s coming but he’s a nice guy and plays along.
“Don’t feed the birds.” We both think it’s funny. I can be a pretty funny guy when I put my mind to it.