We drove to Carmel River State Beach and set up our feast on a big driftwood log. The air was charged with ozone. It made everything―the wine, the cheese, the spread―taste even better. A crowd of goggle-eyed seagulls remained, impatient, at a polite yet expectant distance. But the food was so good, there weren't many crumbs left when we were done.
We'd saved on dinner, so we could spend on entertainment. Because Carmel is known for its arty spirit and local theater, I'd gotten us tickets for a play at the 35-year-old Indoor Forest Theatre. We parked back at our hotel, and I confidently led us off into the darkening night. Mist was collecting into fog, adding an eerie atmosphere to the residential neighborhoods. Half an hour later, when the evening sky had turned from gray to black, we were still wandering around the streets. Spotting a woman who was getting into her car, I decided to ask for directions.
"Get in," she said. "You're going to miss the show. And you've gone exactly in the wrong direction."
Sara, who in the spirit of friendship hadn't uttered a word of complaint as I'd led her around in circles, jumped into the heated car. The woman, clearly a generous soul, got us to the theater just in time.
We enjoyed the play, the warm theater, and the chocolate brownies at intermission. And Sara found our way home.