We took a day trip last Thursday, spending late morning to early evening at the beach.  I had forgotten the beauties of a short little hop.  No stopping newspapers.  No lining up neighbors to collect mail or water plants.  No packing big suitcases or remembering medications. 

Ian was lifeguarding at the pool so only Hugh & Malcolm were with us on our quick jaunt to Jersey.  They both loved the adventure as well, and thanked us without prompting at the end.  Possibly because we broke our normal rules.  Instead of packing lunch and snacks in a cooler, we lived on junk food the entire day. 

Breakfast:  Dunkin Donuts.  Lunch:  Wawa hoagies.  Dinner:  Amici’s pizza.  Snack:  Fudge and Sno Cones.   Our fruit and vegetable intake? Lettuce and tomato in the hoagies, mushrooms on the pizza,  tangerine syrup on the shaved ice, and walnuts in the fudge.  That adds up to five, so we’re healthy, right?

Driving down, we heard the shudder-ific news on the radio that Michael Jackson was being buried that day, two months after his death.  Hugh said “Maybe he can do one last performance in Thriller, but this time as one of the zombies!”  He was surprised and pleased at how hard I laughed.  It’s so great when your kids grow up to have an entertaining sense of humor.

Our actual beach time was a bit of a bust.  We paid $24 to get beach tags (for those of you not familiar with New Jersey, yes, we have to pay to get on a public beach in New Jersey). 

We set up our chairs and promptly started chasing things down the beach as the wind whipped up sandstorms around us.  Chris and the boys went into the water in front of the lifeguards, the only people in the ocean.  They were rapidly swept down toward the jetty as the lifeguards frantically blew their whistles:  COME OUT NOW.  Apparently the guards spotted a rip tide just after my loved ones entered the sea.

Fishing, skateboarding, and shopping followed.  Driving around the little ocean towns, looking at the old houses dwarfed by their new house neighbors.  Breathing in the salt air, seeing things sparkle in the clear light.  Buying a cozy new hoodie at Hoy’s to put on over my PJ’s on all the early school mornings ahead.  Getting Hugh his belated birthday present, a new skimboard, for his Labor Day weekend at another beach.  Using up the dregs of our sunblock.

It was a good goodbye to summer.


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