Let’s go to Cannon Beach and pretend to be tourists, I said to my friend, Sandy. Some of my Gearhart friends enjoy an outing to Cannon Beach. It’s an interesting thing, but even though Cannon Beach, Seaside, Gearhart, and Warrenton all are part of the South County, each community has a distinctive social identity ranging from dead quiet to boisterous. Some of my Gearhart pals enjoy the sights, sounds, and feel of Cannon Beach’s glam beach buzz, as well as its restaurants and its galleries and shops. It always amuses me how fatigued they seem after only a few hours, happy to return to their peace and quiet and their elk.
Sandy is my pal most game for adventure. We’ve only known each other a few years, but I get the impression she and her late husband spent a lot of time in Cannon Beach. Whenever we drive through town, she recalls time they spent at the American Legion, or taking her mother out for breakfast at the Pig ’N Pancake. So when I blew it and the coffee shop I’d suggested we go to had a “Shut” sign on the door on a winter Wednesday, Sandy immediately suggested we go to the Wayfarer. It’s 11:30 a.m., she said. We could get breakfast or lunch.
She was a little disappointed we didn’t score a window seat since I’d never been there before to appreciate the view, but the view is still pretty spectacular from most of the main daytime dining room. We were handed menus for both breakfast and lunch. While a very nice server went to get our coffees, Sandy and I considered food. I was torn between the lunch choice of a pumpkin squash risotto, or two of the breakfast items, eggs Benedict, or house-made granola with yogurt and fresh fruit. Sandy had her mind set on crab Benedict. After the server assured us the chef’s Hollandaise is the most delectable on the coast, I went for the eggs. I figured between the English muffin and the ham and the poached eggs, Hollandaise sauce notwithstanding, this dish would serve as my main meal for the day. It drives our 30-year-old son crazy, but his father and I have reached that metabolic point in our lives where we require only one big meal a day.
You know, Sandy said, as we waited for our food, once upon a time John and I were having lunch here and right out the window, we saw a man taking off all his clothes. He came out of the water and just peeled off his bathing suit. He was so relaxed and natural, we figured he must be European. No American does that.
He didn’t think it was a nude beach? I asked.
Our food arrived and Sandy pointedly ignored the beautifully poached eggs that came with her meal and went straight for the crab.
I should have told them to hold the eggs, she said. This is a waste of food.
Go on, I said. I want to hear more about the naked man.
Well he wasn’t naked for long, Sandy said. But for a minute or so while he air-dried, he was naked and so relaxed. It was a nice thing to see, she added. Someone acting so natural and confident about their body.
How old was he? I asked.
I don’t know, Sandy said offhandedly like she hadn’t really paid any attention to something like that. In his 20s or early 30s maybe.
I thought I detected in her eye just the tiniest gleam.
So he had a nice body, I said.
Well, she said. It’s not like I looked the other way.
The check came. As usual, we fought a little over it before she agreed to split.
On the way out to the parking lot, Sandy asked if I’d enjoyed my meal.
I certainly did, I said. And what an amazing view of the beach and Haystack Rock. It’s a million-dollar view. Thanks for sharing. And I absolutely loved your naked man story.