2017-08-13 / Family

Our Day at the Beach

By VALERIE EGAR
Author

I’m up at seven, but Sally doesn’t want to wake up.  I shake her a little. Then, a little more. “It’s beach day!” I shout.

“It’s Monday.”

“That’s right and we’re going to the beach. Wake up!”

She opens one eye and her foot pops from under the covers. “OK, already!” She’s t13 and I’m only 10, so you’d think she could get herself up.

When I go downstairs, Mom is making sandwiches and packing them in a cooler. Dad is sipping coffee.

“Pour yourself some cereal, honey.”

“We should be on the road by now.” Someone has to say it, why not me?

“We’re fine,” says Dad. “Eat your breakfast.”

He starts lugging everything we need to the car — beach chairs, umbrella, towels. Mom’s tote filled with sunscreen, sunglasses, her book, a radio. Another tote with a Frisbee, ball, pails and shovels, even though I told them I was too old to dig in the sand.

“We’re bringing Sally’s, too,” Mom said. “You never know.” I know. Sally is NOT going to use a pail and shovel.

Dad gets everything in the car and then Mom carries out the cooler. Uh oh. He didn’t leave room for it. He starts re-arranging things and I check on Sally. In between bites of cereal, she’s painting her toenails. She sees my dirty look.

“They’ll dry on the way down.”

I’m ready. I’d sit in the car, but it’s too hot with the windows up and Dad is still making everything fit. I sit with our Maine Coon Cat, Buster, and tell him why he can’t come, too. “You’d think it was a big litter box, and nobody would like that.”

Finally, everybody’s ready and we’re off. It’s morning rush hour and a lot of cars crowd the highway.

“The traffic will thin soon,” Dad says.

“Hon, you think we could stop for a quick bathroom break?”

Soon we’re at the Grab and Go. Mom’s in the restroom, Sally’s thumbing through celebrity magazines and Dad’s wolfing down a sausage biscuit and more coffee. I point to my watch. We are definitely behind schedule. Way behind.

Back in the car, I watch for signs that say how many miles to Red Fern Beach. I don’t see any.  “Are we close, yet?”  The third time I ask, Mom tells me to please not ask again.  I whisper in Sally’s ear and tell her to ask, but she won’t do it.

At last we arrive! I have my bathing suit on underneath my shorts and T-shirt, so I’m ready.  Sally and Mom have to change. I walk to the beach with Dad and hear the waves and smell the salty air before I see the ocean. When I get to the top of the hill, I finally see water. I help Dad find the perfect place to set up, close to the water so I can play in the waves. Dad says I have to wait for Mom and Sally before I can go in. What’s taking them so long!

Mom is finally back and she slathers Sally and me with sunscreen. Dad walks us to the edge of the water. For the rest of the day, I jump waves, gather shells and dig in the sand. I bury Dad’s feet and  Mom’s, but Sally doesn’t let me bury hers because of her fresh blue toenails. I’m glad Mom brought the shovel and pail. We didn’t need the Frisbee though, too much wind.

I eat two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and a handful of cherries for lunch. Dad walks us to a concession stand and buys us ice cream.

I know it’s time to go home when the sun is low in the sky, a ton of sand itches inside my bathing suit, and Mom says, “No more shells!” I found enough clam shells to fill a bag, plus three scallop shells and another one that’s small and pretty, but I don’t know its name.

Sally falls asleep on the way home, but not me! Dad’s on vacation all week. I want to know if we can come back tomorrow.

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