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Starting Over at 55 (A Buzby Beach Novel) Chapter 20


DW is 55 Plus & married for 30 years. He once nearly lost his wife in a horseback riding accident. He wondered if he could start over if...


Crab Flavored Pancakes?

Wanda looked at the sign over the door and pulled Jack to a stop. “What kind of pancakes do they make here, crabby cakes?”

Jack’s mouth curled into a half-grin, and he shrugged. “I don’t think they make crab flavored pancakes, but we can ask if that’s what you want.”

Wanda stuck her tongue out. “Oo, no, that would be kind of gross.”

Jack held his hands out. “What, you don’t like crab?”

Wanda shook her head. “Not for breakfast, I don’t.”

“Well, don’t worry,” Jack said as he opened the door. “They have lots of other types of pancakes to choose from. I’m sure you’ll find something you like.”


Guess Who is not Working

Nancy looked up from the ticket she was entering in the cash register when the door opened and smiled when she saw Jack. The smile faltered when she saw a lady she didn’t recognize with him.

“Good morning, Jack. I didn’t know if we’d see you this morning. Corie’s not working today.”

Jack glanced around the dining room, and then said to Nancy, “That’s right. She’s not on the schedule again until Wednesday.”

Wanda looked back and forth between Nancy and Jack. He’s been here since Friday, and he already knows this Corie’s schedule. Is she one of his new friends?

One of the reasons for Wanda’s impetuous trip to the beach was Jack’s reference to making new friends. I haven’t been patiently waiting for Jack to be ready to move on before letting him know how I feel about him just to let him get swept off his feet by some hot young beach babe.

Relieved to learn that Jack’s ‘new friend’ Corie wasn’t working, Wanda turned to Nancy, tightened her arm around Jack’s, and said, “Jack tells me y’all have the best pancakes on the island.”

Is Wanda Trying to Hard?

Nancy’s brow rose as she watched the possessive way Wanda clung to Jack. “We like to think so.” She scanned the dining room and spotted an open table for two near the front window. “Follow me please.”

As Wanda turned to follow Nancy, she released her hold on Jack’s arm but reached out to take hold of his hand. Jack, finding Wanda’s behavior odd and unsettling, turned to grab a copy of the local paper, more as an excuse not to take her proffered hand than any desire to read the news.

Wanda frowned when Jack picked up a newspaper rather than take her hand. Then she saw the confused and cautious look on his face. I need to be careful, she told herself. If I push too hard, he’ll retreat, and I’ll lose my chance.

Forcing herself to smile, Wanda followed Nancy to the table. Traffic on Ocean Street was starting to pick up with beachgoers arriving early to grab the best parking spots closest to the strand. Parking along Ocean Street was limited and metered. Instead of the metal meters on stands, though, beachgoers paid at a kiosk and put the receipt in their car windows. Visitors could park and stay all day if they were willing to shell out the sixteen bucks it cost to do so.

Surfer Boy Server

Once they were seated and Nancy left to let their server know customers were waiting, Wanda asked Jack, “What are you going to have?”

“My usual,” Jack replied. “A two stack of buttermilk pancakes with a side of turkey sausage.”

“Seems a little ordinary,” Wanda said, picking up her menu.

“I like what I like,” Jack said. “Besides, they have real maple syrup here.” He pointed to the icon of a maple syrup jug on the menu cover indicating The Crabby Shack offered genuine maple syrup.

Before Wanda could respond to Jack’s comment, a young man in a The Crabby Shack t-shirt and black cargo shorts, with a half-apron tied around his waist, approached the table. The name embroidered on his apron was Airlie.

He doesn’t look like an Airlie, Wanda thought as he approached the table. He looks like he belongs on the cover of a surfer magazine.


Skyler the Surfer Dude

The young man stopped by their table, shook his head to clear his shaggy blond hair out of his eyes, and said, “Hey, y’all. I’m Skyler, and I’ll be taking care of you this morning. Can I start you off with something to drink?”

Wanda managed to stop herself from correcting him for using can instead of may. “I’d like a glass of orange juice and some ice water.”

“And you, sir?” Skyler asked Jack.

“You can bring me a large caramel iced coffee,” Jack said.

“Can do,” Skyler said. “Do you know what you want for breakfast or do you need a few more minutes?”

Jack, who’d never picked up his menu, raised his eyes in an inquiring fashion to Wanda.

Wanda twisted her lip and looked at the menu before saying to Skyler, “I think I need a few more minutes. There’s so much to choose from.”

“Not a problem,” Skyler assured her. “I’ll go get your drinks and be right back.”

Dude, do you surf?

“Skyler looks like he should have an Australian accent and say, dude, a lot,” Wanda quipped as she watched him walk away.

“If I were taking bets,” Jack said, “I’d bet the Subaru out back in the employee lot, the one with the surfboard in the roof rack, is probably his.”

Skyler returned with their drinks. Jack asked him, “Is that your car with the boards strapped on top?”

Skyler smiled and nodded. “You know it, dude. Got a few before coming to work this morning.”

Wanda bit her lip to keep from laughing when Skyler called Jack dude.

Jack, who’d tried and given up on surfing during a family vacation when he was a teen, asked, “How were they breaking?”

Skyler shrugged. “Kind of mushy this morning. But there’s a storm brewing. That should bring in some offshore winds this afternoon just when the tide comes in. Should bring some good waves.”

He stood looking out the window at the ocean visible across the street a moment, then looked at Jack. “Dude, do you surf?”

Once, A Long Time Ago

“I gave it a try many years ago,” Jack said. “Guess it just wasn’t my thing. I never got the hang of it.”

“Dude, you should so let me give you lessons,” Skyler offered, his enthusiasm infectious. “It’s never too late to learn.”

Jack smiled. “Maybe I’ll do that. But first I’ll need some breakfast.”

Skyler cocked his head and gave Jack a puzzled look. Then his eyes popped open wide, and he said, “Sorry, dude. What can I get you?”

Jack indicated with a tilt of his head that Skyler should ask Wanda first.

“Yeah,” Skyler said to Jack before turning to say to Wanda, “Sorry, ma’am. What would you like?”

Wanda ordered the pecan pancakes topped with banana slices and whipped cream. Jack got his usual. When Skyler left to put their order in, Wanda reached across the table and slapped Jack lightly on the back of his hand.

“You’re not seriously thinking about taking surfing lessons, are you?”

Jack rubbed his hand and said, “Ouch, that hurt.”

“It did not you big baby,” Wanda snorted.

Regarding the idea of surfing lessons, Jack said, “Why not? I’ve got the time, and I’ll bet Skyler could get me up shredding waves in no time.”

Wanda sat back in her chair, laughed, and said, “Jack, I think shredding is a snowboarding term. I don’t think surfers shred waves.”

“I’ll ask Skyler when he gives me my first lesson,” Jack said.

© 2019 DW Davis

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