Last night I stayed up a bit reading through the journal (which at some point I apparently decided I didn’t like calling a diary or a journal, and so named it Melvin) I found at my parents’ house. I opened it somewhere in the middle and read it to the end. Most of that centered around the courtship and confusion that was Autumn Belk. When I finished reading it I sent her a MySpace message (we’re still friends) to inform her of how she used to be.

I can’t believe the way I used to be. I really wish I’d allowed myself to really like more than one girl at a time. That would have saved me so much trouble, at least for half of my high school career.

Amanda told me that sometime during the night I poked her in the stomach like I was trying to tickle her and asked something like “What’s the other one?” or “Where’s the other one?”

We went to the 8:30 service at Port City Community Church. Today’s service was an end of a series on prayer, which I thought was a very good one. Kyle and Lorin Van Zandt sat with us and went out to eat with us at Salt Works II afterwards. I really like those kids. We saw Elliot Clark and Melissa Nicholson after the service too, but they were going to be going out on a friend’s boat.

After breakfast we stopped by Target just to pick up a couple things then back home to let Bruce out and change into our bathing suits. From there we went on out to Wrightsville Beach. We parked, as we always do, at Anna and Barry Frazelle’s. I asked Amanda if she wanted to go up and say hi, but there was some thunder and the sky looked dark to the south, so we wanted to go ahead and get out on the beach while we could.

It was crazy hot outside. I don’t know if it was just because part of the sky was darker or what, but the water was particularly pretty today, a very nice teal color. Amanda and I laid out for a while then I decided to jump in the water. It didn’t take me much to get acclimated to it and the water wasn’t very crowded so I swam around a bit. I even did something I don’t know that I’ve ever purposely done before and opened my eyes in the water. It didn’t bother me at all really. I mean, I’ve opened my eyes in pool water before with the stinging chlorine, but the ocean didn’t both me much. It was kind of fun really.

That reminds me of something else I did today that I don’t do. Amanda will be shocked when she gets around to discovering this, or hearing about it, but I sang at church today. Here’s the thing- I don’t sing and I’ve got good reason not to. When I was in Brigadoon back in high school and I told the teacher that I couldn’t sing, she had me go into the band room with Neil Allen so he could play a couple notes on the piano to see if I could do them, or whatever. And I couldn’t. He gave up after a while, figuring I was tone deaf. I often don’t much care about what people think about a lot of the things I do, but for some reason I’ve always been very self-conscious about singing. It might come from guilt. My mom told me how she was singing You Are My Sunshine when I was little and I screamed at her, telling her it was awful and demanding that she stop. I’m not sure that she ever really sang again.

The other thing is that a lot of people know I don’t sing, and I think in light of that it’d be under heavier scrutiny. Anyway, despite all this, I sang, albeit very quietly, but at least it was something. Maybe I’ll get more and more comfortable with it. That’s the hope anyway- I don’t like it being what it is.

Anyway, the beach.

So I was swimming around in water so clear I could see my feet, opening my eyes and looking at the ridge patterns on the floor of the ocean. I got out after a while, talked to Amanda for a minute then went back in. The second time I got out I dried off a little then laid down on the beach towel. There was a kid, maybe five years old, who kept running up to the water shouting “I’m a gorilla!” After a bit he also started exclaiming, “Holy canoli!” It was pretty cute.

Amanda and I felt a raindrop or two and decided to head on back in. We went to the Frazelle house and talked to Anna and Kirsten (Barry and Hannah being en route to Indonesia). I went outside and laid down on the hammock to take a nap for a bit. Amanda’s great-aunt and -uncle from Phoenix, Arizona, Mary Francis and Dave, arrived with her grandparents, Peggy and Earl Lemons. I talked to them for a bit then went back out on the hammock to continue my nap. Michael showed up and we ate dinner shortly after that.

I sat at the kids’ table with Kirsten. I figured it’d be nice to let everyone else socialize better. Afterwards Anna’s waterfall incident, the one where she broke her back a week shy of a year ago, came up and she showed us the article they were interviewed for in the New York Times. It was about air ambulance insurance, but there was a nice huge picture of the Frazelle family walking on the beach with the Oceanic Pier in the background. It was a nice picture except that Kirsten looks freakishly huge in it.

Everyone but the Frazelles left after a while and came over to our house so Dave and Mary Francis could check it out. They were here for just a little bit before they packed back into Peggy and Earl’s car and went on back to Beulaville, and that was pretty much it for the day.

Oh, I forgot to mention Kirsten’s amazing celebrity knowledge.  We were flipping around on the TV and came to Pulp Fiction on Bravo, so I decided to watch a little bit of that, knowing that, since it was on Bravo, there wouldn’t be anything Anna should worry about Kirsten watching.  It was at the part where Samuel L. Jackson’s Jules is talking about the tasty burger.  It showed a close-up of his face and Kirsten said, “Isn’t that the guy who plays Bernie Mac?”

Amanda and I both said, “No, Bernie Mac plays Bernie Mac.”  It took Kirsten, an intelligent girl, a minute to wrap her mind around that.  We couldn’t think of anything she might have seen that Sam Jackson was in, but Anna later told her he was Coach Carter in Coach Carter.

But that’s not where the fun ended.  Shortly after that was the scene where Bruce Willis is being talked to by Ving Rhames in one long, still shot.  Kirsten said a friend told her that she read in People Magazine that that guy was gay.  “Bruce Willis?” Amanda and I asked.  She insisted on it, then we found out that she was talking about Vin Diesel, not Bruce Willis, who could be Vin Diesel’s dad.  For what it’s worth, Bruce Willis was shaved bald in his role in Pulp Fiction, so maybe that’s how she got mixed up.

Vin Diesel’s not gay, for the record.  Apparently it’s just a rumor started because he doesn’t want to flaunt his love life for the press.

In that same scene in Pulp Fiction Sam Jackson and John Travolta walk in.  I asked Kirsten if she knew who that (John Travolta) was, and she said, “Yeah, that’s the guy who plays Arnold Schwarzenegger.”  Amanda and I had a good laugh at that one- John Travolta as Arnold Schwarzenegger.  We told her that no, Arnold Schwarzenegger is not a character, Arnold Schwarzenegger is Arnold Schwarzenegger.  We had to convince her that his Austrian accent is really how he talks.

Really, she honestly is a bright girl.

Zach Dotsey