You know you’re in Philadelphia if you hear the words “down the shore.”   We were lucky enough to be invited to the Jersey shore over Memorial Day weekend, a tradition of several years standing, thanks to our generous friends Linda and Kevin.  

Perhaps because I failed to even pack a swimming suit, the water this year was, I’m told, perfect.  I am a sun wimp, and am also afraid of dropping my camera in the sand, so there are no pictures from the wonderful time I spent on the Sea Isle City beach in the late afternoon, watching Chris and Malcolm swim while Hugh skimboarded.

In fact, Linda and I did a very non-beachy thing and toured a beautiful little garden nearby, with flowers planted in patches throughout a wooded setting.

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In the late afternoon, we went to pay tribute to a famous shore restaurant that will be closing in September, after 100+ years of operation.  Linda, Kevin and Eric paused for a moment before we went into Busch’s – since 1882! –  for a trip down memory lane.

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Much of the weekend had to do with food, conversation, and reading.   There were many mouths to feed and our hosts did a wonderful job.  Here you see Linda’s arm, setting yet more bacon down on the porch table in front of Steve, for all the Hungry Men.

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There were pastries and cinnamon buns, which Linda walked a mile each way for on Sunday morning, and thus was the only person who really deserved to eat any of these treats.

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There were steaks, shrimp and chicken breasts on the grill, little neck clams boiled on the stove and dipped in butter out of fish-shaped dishes (Hugh tried his first clams and liked them – hooray, another food in the “Will Eat” column), and truly magical mojitos made by Kevin’s brother Tom, who found the last supply of mint on the island.  Sadly, I failed to get mojito photos.

On Saturday night, there was another moment of perfection as we watched the Phillies on TV.  When Hugh and Eric told us, late in the game, that the Phillies’ Roy Halladay was pitching a perfect game.  We all thought “yeah, yeah, that won’t last” but to our shock and joy, it did.  Halladay pitched a complete and perfect game, only the 20th in baseball history.   There was much rejoicing in the land.  We could hear whooping and hollering from nearby houses, adding to the sense of community and camaraderie.

Chris and I made a pilgrimage to Fish Alley, where the interior decor of Marie’s  is extremely atmospheric.

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As is the neon outside.

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Our boys Hugh & Eric (born two weeks apart in 1994), plus Malcolm and Ethan (born two weeks apart in 1997), even took over the Sunday Times crossword puzzle, and did very well. 

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Later, after I wimped out and went to bed, there were simultaneous Scrabble games on the two boards.  At the peak, there were 14 of us present – I regret that I did not get photos of Steve’s wife Deb, and Tom’s wife Pilar, plus their beautiful girls Alexandra and Francesca – but all told, we created a merry, merry ending to the month of May.

Finally, Kevin, Tom and Chris – sons of Navy veterans – attended the Memorial Day ceremony in town.   As Emily mentioned in yesterday’s post, Memorial Day is a time to be grateful for our freedoms and the lives we are privileged to lead.  Indeed.

In your start to summer, did you do anything meaningful or memorable?
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