The sun came out and all was forgiven.
The skies over Ocean City today were benevolent blue, traced with only the wispiest of white clouds. The cold gray rain of yesterday receded to a dim, once-distressing memory.
"Even though the weathermen promised me it would clear up today, I didn't trust them," said Teresa Boan, 19, a Baltimore secretary who was sunning herself on a boardwalk bench. "I figured it would be just my luck for it to rain all weekend. Now it's beautiful."
With the emergence of a picture-perfect Memorial Day weekend that promised warm and sunny weather through Monday, the estimated 200,000 vacationers in the Ocean City area settled down to their favorite beachside activities.
For Joe D'Angelo, a student at St. John's University, and his half-dozen buddies from Brooklyn, N.Y., that involved a specific variety of sightseeing.
"Watch this," said D'Angelo, 21, as two girls in swimsuits passed by. "Hey, blondie!"
The girl turned, smiled, hesitated -- then walked on.
"Wherever I go, I look for girls," said D'Angelo with a win-some lose-some shrug.
His friend, Eddie Pyryt, 27, laughed and yelled after another young woman wearing a Mickey Mouse T-shirt. "Hey, don't you know Mickey Mouse beats up little kids? What do you mean wearing that shirt?"
Richard Vafiadou lay at their feet, sprawled on a small raft on the edge of the boardwalk. He smiled dreamily into the distance. "Yessir," he said to no one in particular, "I'm having me a grand old time."
For Ocean City Mayor Roland "Fish" Powell, the day was a whirlwind of official greetings, ribbon-cuttings and other promotional duties for his town. Powell, who won a special election in April, replaced longtime Mayor Harry Kelley, the flamboyant and tireless Ocean City booster who died suddenly in February.
At noon, Powell found himself in front of the Phillips Beach Plaza Hotel, climbing a stepladder to sit on the hump of a camel. The camel, named Charlie, is a resident of the petting zoo at the Jolly Roger Amusement Park in Ocean City.
"Come on up and join me," Powell beckoned to the crowds who watched his ascent. "There's plenty of room." Everyone declined, including Baltimore Mayor William Donald Schaefer, who accompanied Powell on some of his tours.
For the vacationers not content to just lie on the beach, the boardwalk shops yielded up their consumer pleasures -- cool black sunglasses, "Summer of '85" T-shirts, seashell earrings.
"Tell Aunt Mary, 'thank you,' " said a woman at the Safari Shop to her young daughter. The girl admired her new dangly earrings as her aunt stuffed her billfold back into her purse. "Thank you, Aunt Mary," she said as she fastened an earring on her ear.
"People really like to spend money when they're on vacation," Safari clerk Kathy Spencer said. "They're buying everything today."
For the Ocean City police force, braced for the annual onslaught of both the rowdy and the well behaved, offenders fell into the expected categories -- traffic violations and disorderly conduct. "Hasn't been too rough," a police spokesman said.
One of the notable cases was the arrest early today of five youths for breaking and entering. They were allegedly attempting to steal beach chairs from a department store at 94th Street.
For the 84 lifeguards sitting sentry duty along the Ocean City beach, today was an effortless day. With a water temperature of 60 degrees, only the hardiest surfers were afloat.
"That water's rough and cold," said Robert Craig, who has been captain of the beach patrol since 1946. "And I don't blame them for staying on the sand."
The shrinking Ocean City beaches, sometimes no more than a few yards wide at high tide, were covered with the slick bodies of sunbathers. Some were caramel-colored, some palest ivory. Most drowsed with that particular lassitude brought on by sun, sea and the freedom of vacation.
A small plane flew back and forth along the shoreline, its streamer advertising free pregnancy tests, then a restaurant on the Coastal Highway, then an emergency medical center.
Tim Megela, 9, raced to the water's edge, then squealed and ran back when a wave chased him. A man passed out samples of an alcohol-free malt beverage, but most people seemed to prefer the more potent variety. The boardwalk bars were full.
"Know what my motto for the weekend is?" said Joe Shiek, 21, of New York City as he stood on the boardwalk and lifted a glass of something pink and icy. "My motto is, 'Drink the nectar of life.' "