Growing up on the coast, there were certain things we just did every summer, without question. We went out in the boat. We went fishing and threw a castnet into the brackish rivers to catch shrimp. I visited my best friend (who lived in another town), and she visited me. I watched way too much TV. We always took a trip, of course. Some of the most memorable include a fishing lodge in the Bahamas, a fishing lodge in British Columbia, two weeks in England, and many trips with extended family to High Hampton Inn in Cashiers, NC.
But there’s one thing that I need now, as an adult, to make summer official. I just can’t do without time at the beach. Since my family had a beach house when I was growing up, I think it was just part of my DNA from the get-go. I need that time, even if it’s just a few days, to live on that lazy schedule and not be able to get all the sand out of my shoes.
What were those beach weeks like when I was growing up? Well, let’s see. Wake up later than usual to a sunny morning where you can hear the cicadas getting cranked up for the day. Eat an abnormal breakfast that might consist of something like waffles and candy. Finally put on your bathing suit around 10 and walk down to the beach. Rubber flip flops from the drug store, inflatable rafts, and Coppertone are the basic survival gear. Come inside around lunchtime, and have a sandwich. The rest of the day is up for grabs and may or may not include running from a thunderstorm when you see it coming, naps, or talking into the box fan to sound like a robot. But some things that will be certain are a screened door slamming shut many times over, a nice breeze on the incoming tide, sweat dripping off your face during the change of tides, and everyone taking turns with their showers before dinner. Dinner may involve a local seafood restaurant where at least one person in your family knows at least one person who works in the restaurant.
I look back now at how much work that was for my mom, even if we went out to dinner every night (and we didn’t). Cooking, cleaning up, etc. Now that I’m a mom, I much prefer going to a resort or a villa rental when on vacation than having our own place. But I digress.
My parents bought a beach condo when I was about nine, and that became part of my summer beach routine, as well. The absence of the screened door and the addition of a pool and air conditioning were the big differences, but it was still the beach.
So, for me, it’s not summer without sand, waves, and Carolina “island time.” What is it for you that makes it summer? Is it a trip to the mountains? Maybe it’s sitting by the pool with a good drink? Jimmy Buffett concert or outlet shopping with old friends? Lightning bugs? Comment on our Facebook page and tell us what you can’t do without, when it comes to summer.
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