Summertime takes me back to my fond childhood memories of our annual family beach trips. Every day brought on a new set of adventures to be enjoyed and remembered...
The task of packing for a summer trip was always challenging. Where just getting out the door and down the street was a major chore. There was always that one thing forgotten or one more thing you couldn't do without. Packing the car was like solving a Jig Saw puzzle. It was analyzed and pondered. Pieces added, then taken out and rearranged until finally, with a little prayer and one final "heave ho" on the trunk lid, it managed to close. The ride was quite uncomfortable in the back seat wedged between a cooler and an extra suitcase. Then there's that great sibling love that always came out on car trips right?? A poltergeist ALWAYS made its way into the car. "Mom, she's touching me!" as the fighting and arguing continued. Then look out! That dreaded hand came from across the front seat. Just this one move solved the issue for a while only for the bickering to return when the arm was forgotten. There was a bit of relief when we all saw the infamous intercostal waterway bridge. A sigh escaped as we knew we survived another car ride without someone ending up left on the side of the road somewhere.
As we pull in the driveway for our fun filled week, the excitement hits as we roll out of the car dropping cups and left over French fries onto the pavement. The unpacking? It's the fastest unpacking of the car you've seen in your life. It's amazing what a little excitement and motivation does. In a flash it's completed. Clothes are dropped on the floor and bathing suits are on, crooked. Adjusting, we run out the door to the shore!
With a slam of the screen door, we're headed down the stairs. In my excitement, I forget my flip flops, but soon remember why they are so important as the sand burns the bottom of my feet. I do the hot coals dance! I drop all the stuff in the sand and make a mad dash for the water. Ahhh! I swear you can see a bit of steam coming off when I stick my toes in the ocean.
Let the festivities of the week begin! Time to get down to serious business! Playing in the ocean for hours is all we have on the brain!
There are only two words in my vocabulary at this moment: BOOGIE BOARD. We ride the waves for hours. Waiting for the perfect wave to ride all the way in is the best! The waves begin to churn and get bigger. The nervous energy of seeing a giant wave heading straight for me puts my stomach in knots. We can't jump over it so we dive under pretending we're dolphins. Then there are the surprise attack waves, those we don't see coming and bam! It knocks me off my feet, taking me down! I become an underwater gymnast doing several flips and cartwheels. Rattled, I shake it off only to be hit by another one. Finally, I regain my senses and head right back to it, playing in the surf until the crotch of my bathing suit is weighed down with sand.
As I gaze up on the shoreline, I notice a little boy starting to feed the seagulls. Uh oh! He has done it now! A scene from Hitchcock's The Birds plays out on the beach. The people running away from their seats is quite an amusing scene. A child starts chasing the flock down the beach. The parents are elated and begin to cackle. Small kids never get that they won't catch them. A good long chase is guaranteed to wear out even the most hyper toddler!
By this time the winds begins to pick up. It's perfect for flying a kite. Just as we get ready to launch it, the wind dies down. Flying a kite is more difficult than it looks. The wind has to be just right for certain ones to fly. And forget "the more expensive the better flying" adage. Hurricane gusts and an instruction manual are needed for those. Good old fashion simple ones seem to work the best.
After no success with kite flying, it is on to who can build the best sandcastle. I was never good at it. I could never get the sand to water ratio right. Mine would fall apart just as soon as I turned the bucket upside down or not come out at all. Hats off to the winner that could make a masterpiece, a whole village complete with a moat.
Needing a break from the ocean, a trip down to the local pier for a little ice cream and entertainment from the fishermen is in order. We all hope for a peek at someone battling the reel to bring up a massive shark, like Jaws. No such luck for us today. Just a few tiny fish in the cooler. Disappointed, we start the walk back. It's time for a treasure hunt, trying to find the perfect conch shell. We come back not with conch shells, but with a bucket full of our very own treasures. Broken or not, they were all special and if one was thrown away, BOY! "But Mom that one was shaped like a star without one point."
A full day of fun and completely being water logged made us hungry and ready for some relaxation. Time for a shower. Uh oh! I notice I missed some spots with the suncreen. The pink is beginning to already show up on my skin. The longer I stay in the shower, the brighter shade of red I turn. My skin by this point is on fire. The water feels like pellets hitting my skin. Add the chafing that goes on with the sand in your bathing suit and the scratches from the shells and you have a lethal combo. Clothes and even sheets feel like pin cushions. Anything that touches your body hurts! Even lathering on the aloe can't take all the sting away! I regain my composure and grin and bear it; it's time to eat.
After a big meal it's time for some real excitement! I've been thinking of the visit to the fireworks store all day. What is it about children and pyromania? Bottle rockets, Chinese firecrackers, smoke bombs and sparklers? Oh please! A bank loan is needed for the display that is going on in my head. I have to pick out the biggest and most expensive ones on the shelf. Anything with"TNT"or "BOOM" in the name will do the trick. Excited we run for the coastline. Fireworks on the beach is safe right? Wrong! You always have the one or two misfires that act up and decide to take their own path, straight toward the crowd of spectators. Everyone is running and ducking for cover. Luckily, the show has no fatalities and is remembered as one of the best ones ever!
The night comes to a quick close with a thunderstorm rolling in from across the water. A natural fireworks show is a great end to the day. My head hits the pillow and I pass out immediately, getting ready to do it all over again, six days in a row! Nothing beats summer vacation at the beach!
For more of my memoirs you might like to read Southern Summer Memoirs.
You can find my images from some of my travels available for purchase at:
iStock by Getty Images
Fotolia by Adobe: us.fotolia.com/p/206433466
They are also available for purchase as prints and on many great products at:
at Balboa Press