Tuesday, August 28, 2012

That's not the beach

As I approach my trip to the shore for the summer, I think back on the first time my husband (then boyfriend) took me to the shore. I was amazed. You think THIS is the beach? This is not the beach. The sand is mushy, the water is cold (until August, when there are jellies everywhere), there are too many people, and why are they are focused on eating a four course meal out of a cooler under their umbrellas when there is sun and peace to be had. Where. is. the. BEACH?!?

What do you mean I need a pass for the week. What do you mean we need more than a towel. What do you mean we are not getting there before noon and leaving within two hours as the rain clouds sweep over us. I thought you said we were going to. the. BEACH.

Why did it take three hours to get here. New Jersey is LINED with beaches, and we only live 20 minutes from New Jersey. This is ridiculous. Where are the public parking lots. Why are we walking so far. Why is no one going in the water. Why is no one in the sun. Why are there so many hats. Why are there so few bathing suits.

Shore person raising beach person; or vice versa
The BEACH... ahhh, the beach....the beach is open as soon as the sun is out.... You do not need to pay to get onto the beach. The most you bring is peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, but most of the time you get McDonald's or Krystal's. A ghetto blaster if you have batteries. [And yes I called it a ghetto blaster.] The best sunburn tanning time is 10 to 2. A cool breeze might greet you if you arrive before then. As well as the sight of surfers. Real surfers.

There are no surfers down the shore. They are just teenagers with Guido hair-do's and something that resembles a board, strutting around and not surfing. Where are the men-boys with something to prove to themselves and Tim Deegan.

After the first few years I stopped expecting anything from the shore. I'd go to my husband's family's "beach" house and look for a nice breeze and some time to read. I went with the flow, ate the famous pancakes, and drank beer on the deck. But then we had kids. I was determined; they will NOT be shore people. They will be beach people, and it starts early.

On my last trip to the shore with my mother-in-law, she asks me the night before, "what timing is best for the children tomorrow?"

"Oh, first thing in the morning is best. We should leave no later than 9 am. Even earlier if you can manage it."

"What do they need? Should I get some food ready?" she asks innocently, not knowing that my moment is coming.

"Nah...I have their usual snacks in my bag, and we can stop if we stay past lunch."

The morning arrives. I lead the charge. We are parked less than a block away by 9:15 am, and we spring on the scene with two bags and two chairs (for the non-beach people) (aka my husband and my mother-in-law.) The kids each have a pail and shovel, a towel, a few snacks, sunblock, and maybe at this time we were still addicted to our milk bottles, so we had them too, with ice cubes in each. No cooler required. I throw a blanket on the sand and we survey the scene. No one in sight. Deep breath in; ahhh.

See? I can do the shore up like the beach. 

I can still be a Florida girl at the Jersey Shore, even with kids in tow. 

I look over at my husband, who has just settled into his chair and is looking at the water.

"See, baby? A beach day with your kiddies. Isn't it so nice?" I say to him, triumphant in my accomplishment.

He takes in a deep breath. See how easy I made this for him.

"Yeah. Can we be done now? I hate the shore."

1 comment:

  1. You go girl! Keep the spirit of the beach pure! Having grown up in Pittsburgh with parents who never traveled anywhere, I first saw the "pond" while touring with the Tammies, in Atlantic City, under the boardwalk, late into the night. I remember the sandpipers running along the receding waves to get a snack. Not being able to see very far, I was mesmerized. That was 1965, and in the same year we traveled to Miami. My feelings totally agreed with your sentiments - now this is the ocean.


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