I've found, when I come across one of these unexpected free days, I simply hope I can look back when the sun has set and feel satisfied with the outcome.
I enjoy the feeling of surprised satisfaction. It is like knowing the cookie jar is empty, but looking anyway out of habit, and, after tilting the jar, one last chocolate chip cookie slides out of the ceramic bear's toes. You now have a second chance at enjoying the cookie. Savor or devour it, that is your choice. When all is said and done, you just hope the cookie was as rich and delicious as you anticipated.
Last weekend, I found an extra cookie. An unexpected day off. As it turned out, that cookie turned out to be one of the best I've had in a while. Why? Let me recap the events for you.
I leave work Friday night after a long shift and even longer week expecting to return at 5am the next morning. At 8pm, I get a phone call saying I don't have to come in on Saturday. "Take the day off," they say. Being that I have the night shift on Sunday, I won't have to return two work for another 45 hours.
This is looking like one delicious cookie.
All of a sudden, Sara and I have a weekend together. We can do whatever we want. This was already all I could hope for, and then I remember a conversation with my fishing buddy, Brad, from the previous week. "I've got vacation all next week," Brad said. "Just let me know if you get a day off and maybe we can get some fishing in."
I make the call. As it turns out, Brad and his wife, Sue, are heading up to their families place on the Eastern Shore. Invitation extended. Invitation accepted. The plan is to kayak, fish, eat, drink, and play cornhole... That's what we Midwesterners call Bean-Bag Toss. Personally, calling it "cornhole" makes me a little uncomfortable. It just sounds... well, it sounds like butt hole. No thank you, very much. So we will just say the plan was to play some bean-bag toss which is a fun game. But I digress...
This cookie just got some chocholate chips.
We were there by lunch. Get the tour. Check. Eat the sandwiches. Check. Ready the boats. Check. Rig up the rods. Check. Push off.
And there is it, a big glass of cold milk next to that gooey, chocolaty, puts-Martha-Stewart-to-shame cookie.
|Into the boats.|
We paddled through the channels of the marsh.
Fiddler crabs scurrying over muddy banks and oyster beds.
|Brad, Sara, and Sue.|
When we paddled far enough, we walked to the fish.
|Sara and Sue.|
The march ecosystem can look desolate and teeming with life all at the same time.
|Brad switches to a spinning rod to find a flounder.|
The fish were on. Spec after spec.
They couldn't resist the slow retrieve of a self-tied clouser.
|Brad landing my catch of the day. 19" Spec.|
Even a perfectly placed drop of water on the camera lens won't taint the memory of that day.
Sunday saw me back at work. Rejuvenated. Refreshed. Revitalized. Thankful and well fed. That was one spectacular cookie.