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Beach Parade


When I was a kid our version of vacation was day trips to “the shaw” (the Jersey Shore), ten minutes from our house.
In spite of the fact that we would only be gone for all of 12 hours, we resembled a tribe of Bedouins setting up camp. Beach umbrellas, chairs, blankets, coolers, grills (yes, plural), battery-operated radio and bags upon bags of food were carried in a gaudy caravan to the beach (Did my Aunt Margaret have to wear that huge fuchsia hat?). Breakfast food, sandwich fixings, “pickin’s,” and dinner makings for sausage and peppers and spaghetti with sauce. Yes, we made marinara sauce at the beach.
And then, I confess, there was the “special” cooler that contained the illicit (for the beach) beer and wine. We were discreet, but you can’t expect to eat all of that food without Chianti, I’m sorry.
As a teenager, this was embarrassing and my brothers, cousins and I would park our towels as far from the settlement as our Italian mother, aunts and grandmother would allow – which amounted to approximately five feet.
I could list other traumatizing beach-related events that are too humiliating and numerous to list here, including my grandmother’s “butt-dip” method of entering the ocean, while screeching our names.
I won’t though, because the point in recalling this cringing memory is to say that I swore I would forevermore travel light. No circus parade, no loud annoying screaming of each other’s names and certainly, no Julius La Rosa blasting over the sound of waves.
A few changes of clothing, a bag of books, a wash-n-go hairstyle and I was good to go.
Then I got married and had kids.
And the caravan is back on the road.
I accepted that traveling with babies required a certain amount of accoutrement. Even having older kids would mean dragging along certain items they need to feel nested and centered when out of their usual routine.
But I never expected the mountains of clutter required a keep a couple teenage boys from turning a relaxing vacation into a Dali-esque nightmare.
Guitars, video game boxes, CD players and boxes upon boxes of batteries are mandatory equipment lest one of them go 10 minutes unplugged. And then there are the hair products and the smelly anti-smell products. I thought I was safe with boys. But they are just as obsessed with hair and smelling like a lounge lizard as any girl is with makeup and smelling like a fruit basket.
Then there is Dirtman’s “work box,” a plastic bin full of “just a few things I need to wrap up,” according to my work-a-holic husband. In the bin are a lap top, a scanner, paper, envelopes, stamps and several plats.
I might add that we are hardly traveling to the black hole of Calcutta. We are merely spending two weeks on Ocracoke Island, off the coast of North Carolina. There is running water and indoor toilet facilities here, along with flavored coffees. So you know this is not the wilderness.
My personal items took up half a weekender suitcase and a tote bag and I still feel like I overpacked.
Yet it took Dirtman’s gigantic Chevy Suburban that he uses to tote equipment around on the job to get us here, along with my brother in his Subaru. It took us an hour to unload.
I could have sworn I heard calliope music playing as we pulled into town.

Share  Posted by Jeanne Jackson at 2:20 PM | Permalink

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