21 Nov. 2007
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The Fudge Lady and Other Tales

There is a "Candy Kitchen" on every boardwalk.  I derive this sweeping conclusion from less than sufficient data, since I surveyed only two boardwalks, but I can always fudge the result by claiming when questioned that it was "every boardwalk I scrutinized."  Furthermore, fudging the result is a bit of a palindrome, since after visiting a Candy Kitchen the result was fudge.  Which I purchased from the Fudge Lady.

The Fudge Lady presided over a veritable wall of that eponymous confection.  She did so, at least at the time in question, uninterrupted or distressed by any patrons other than the two of us.  One would think she would have been delighted to have the monotony relieved by a manifestly harmless couple with an open wallet and an obvious hankering for the victuals of her purveyance.  But my first question, related to the character of the "Orange Creamsicle" fudge, was met by her scorn and sarcasm, as if she expected me to embody a fulland perhaps geneticunderstanding thereof.  I don't let such things bother me; shopping is entertainment and I am able to derive enjoyment from all manner of clerks.  We soon reached a tacit understanding:  she would sell me fudge despite both of us being total jerks in each other's eyes.  I and my companion ended up with 3 pounds of fudge, including the Creamsicle, a not-so-fabulous chocolate mint, but an especially good peanut butter truffle that I had never encountered in a fudge before.

The Fudge Lady continues to tend her bulwark at the Candy Kitchen, or at least I have no reason to believe otherwise.  We divided the fudge into individually-preferred moieties upon our return and it has now been fully consumed.  If the Fudge Lady has a blog, perhaps she regaled her million of microreader with the tale of the pestiferous customers who came into her shop and dared to disturb her reverie with a question about the Orange Creamsicle.      

House Noises, The Dog on the Lanai, Emergency Jewelry, Beach Culture, and The Funky Yield Signs

Listening to the house noises, which I ultimately ascribed to the sound of scurrying of the flat-sided pieces of the jigsaw puzzle, I at one point thought that some of the squeals and thumps could be attributed to a dog on a neighbor's lanai.  Even as I was thinking this, I decided it was unrealistic.  For one thing, the neighbor didn't have a lanai.  The lanai is a Hawaiian concept, transplanted with modest resistance to California and Florida but stopped at those state's borders by a union of porches and verandas with a lot of old-line political pull.  For another, a real dog was unlikely to emit sounds so regularly.  So, to paraphrase the recently-late Kurt Vonnegut, No damn dog, no damn Lanai.  Which did not stop me from thinking about the phrase "The dog on the lanai."  There's a grand tradition of dog phrases:  "That dog doesn't hunt."  "A dog's breakfast [of regulations]."  Why not "The dog on the lanai?"  It will make a fine clich some day, as soon as I decide what it means.

As we walked along the boardwalks various, we unsurprisingly noted that the vast majority of commercial establishments were closed for the season.  Other than the aforementioned Candy Kitchens and the remarkable kite shop, there was not a lot of vending activity, nor were there the throngs of candidate purchasers available to support it as there might be on a hot summer weekend.  Surprisingly, however, the jewelry shops were open, albeit each typically personned by an uninterested and terminally bored salestron.  One even had a sign out front offering an 80% discount!  Two aspects of this display caused me to muse.  The first, of course, was why they were open at all, given the dearth of custom.  While I was unable to resolve that conundrum, another struck me even more forcefully:  Why are there jewelry stores on the boardwalk at all?  In retail, location is all important.  One would expect Jewelry stores in locations where jewelry might reasonably come to mind.  Bordering a beach?  "Honey!  Before we go swimming, buy me an expensive ring!  Please?"  Or:  "Hey!  Here come the guys with the metal detectors and earphones.  Let's buy a silver necklace to bury and give them a big surprise!"  Perhaps I'm the wrong person to speculate about this.  I don't wear decorative items in general.  (My three pens, honorific though they may be, serve a practical purpose as well.)  And I can conceive of someone having the occasional jewelry emergency.  But at the beach?

"Beach Culture" sign sighted at Rehoboth Beach DE shop It's true that my taste in photographs runs to the whimsical.  It isn't often that I capture an oxymoron at the same time, as I did with this sign found in a shop window. 
Giant Pez dispensers including Hello Kitty, Star Wars and Alien It is hard for me to understand how there could be a jewelry emergency.  On the other hand, I can certainly see the need for a giant PEZ dispenser!Sign offering special edition ELVIS PEZ dispenser  I think there's a cult that lines the beach with the Elvis models and then holds a night-time vigil hoping for The King to walk toward them from the surf.  I can see it now... blinking lights with shifting backgrounds limning the familiar figure while the ocean beats out the rhythm of "Hound Dog."  He melds with the crowd, a spectral figure inspiring those who Believe and who manage to touch him.

Alas, in the morning it's always found that the ocean has spirited away the PEZ dispensers (later to be found on the fjords of the Faeroe Islands, to the consternation of the natives).  As for Elvis, by dawn all that remains are a few salt-encrusted silk scarves.

Rehoboth Beach DE beach rules and regulations.  It being off-season, the store selling PDAs with the pre-programmed beach schedule was closed.  I did see a table marked "Rehoboth Beach Mandatory Safety Quiz" on the boardwalk near the beach entrance, but there was nobody there and the gate was open.  I guess they don't take enforcement seriously for the entire year.    

Do The Funky Yield

Solar-powered "Yield" sign Although I've written about my own traffic sign inventions, I encountered one that I never considered, and that seems like a good idea.  The "traffic circle" or "roundabout" is common in some parts of the country, unknown in others.  A tourist area is likely to have drivers who are encountering one for the first time and are clue-free as to how to handle it.  This YIELD sign is bordered by very bright blinking RED LEDs to call attention to its message.  They are powered by the solar cells immediately above it on the sign's mounting post.  Even if you know how to "do circles" the signs catch your attention very effectively.  They have probably been responsible for saving several tourist's lives, certainly a good thing if they haven't yet paid their hotel bill!

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