Getting to Dutchman's - The Hard Way


When we were young and dating, the Dutchman’s Brauhaus, off the Route 72 Long Beach Island Causeway, was our favorite spot. A few summers ago, on a gorgeous day with big, billowy clouds flying overhead, we thought it would be fun to stop there again. It was lunch time and we were in my loaded car, ready for our annual vacation down the shore.

We were also laughing about how our grandkids thought we were rich. It’s understandable; their last name is Brant and we sometimes stayed in Brant Beach. Really, how many other grandchildren got to see their last name on a water tank?

After we drove over the big bridge toward LBI, we made that quick, crazy turn to get under the Causeway. Now, I ask you, what kind of engineer would do this to people who have trouble just finding their neighborhood Acme?

My husband, Dick, turned the wheel hard and leaned in like the Fonz on his Triumph Trophy TR5 motorcycle. Man, those cattle chutes were narrow and, damn, that overpass seemed so low. That’s when we heard the crunch and the bang.

“Oh my God, what was that noise?” I shouted out. “It sounds like something bad just happened!” You see, I am particularly good at pointing out obvious tragedies and mistakes, and I never mention it just once. That comes from years of practice, so now I’m really good at repeating myself over and over. It helps to be sure my husband heard me.

He went silent. Uh-oh, it looked like the Jersey Devil was headed in our direction because Dick wore that face every woman recognizes. You know, the face that says, “I know what I just did and now I have to figure out how to deny it.”

We were stuck under the overpass. Trying to go forward or backward sounded as if something was being ripped apart, and that something might belong to me. So much for those billowy clouds I mentioned earlier; now they were charcoal gray, gathering fast and stormy.
“Dick, I think you better get out and look.” Why couldn’t I just sit there like a normal person and simply stare straight ahead as if I didn’t hear a thing? What comes over me that I can’t just sit demurely and keep my lips in a pretty, little smile?

“Dick, by the way, I was just wondering, did you bring the bikes?”

Again, what sane person would say such a thing? What kind of person can’t just leave well enough alone and hope the bikes were being shipped?
It could have ended there, but, of course, it didn’t.

My husband got out and I knew what was waiting out there to meet him. Those nice, new bikes I had on the top of my SUV had become a mangled memory. I sighed, accepting that soon those bikes would be in a metal graveyard somewhere and that the Jersey Devil was not outside waiting to get Dick. No, she was inside waiting and ready to get him when he climbed back into the car.

 

This Article was published in the SandPaper June 25, 2014

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