Posted tagged ‘Beach’

“Cherish every moment with those you love at every stage of your journey.”

July 17, 2017

I turned off the air conditioner just to refresh the house, but that’s not going to happen. The air is thick with humidity, and there is no breeze to stir it. There are clouds where there is supposed to be sun. It will be 77˚ at the highest and in the mid-60’s tonight.

Movie night was fun, and the appetizers were delicious. We noshed on a feta dip with pita chips, cold cuts in baguettes, delicious cheeses and honeyed figs. Gunga Din was as wonderful an old movie as I remembered. It was one of those movies with a cast of thousands. The night was humid and hot but cooled down as we watched. I have neighbors on one side and renters on the other. I always wonder if they’re a bit jealous of us watching movies outside in the summer, such a wonderful way to spend a warm evening.

Summer had its own set of rules when I was a kid. The street lights no longer controlled our play time. We stayed out after dark. Bedtime was when we went to bed. Meals were usually catch as catch can except for supper which my mother cooked for all of us.  Mostly it was cereal for breakfast and sandwiches for lunch. We’d make our own. Bologna with hot peppers was my favorite sandwich. The peppers were round so I had to cut them, but they were still thick. The bologna came in a roll so I had to cut slices which were never even; they were thin on one side and thick on the other. My sandwiches were messy. White bread was just too soft and easily prone to holes. For dessert we’d grab Oreos, but they quick to disappear. The week days were ours to do as we wanted. My mother would ask where we were going, but most times we didn’t know. Riding our bikes or going to the playground were our usual answers. At least one weekend day was family day when we were stuck together in the hot car going to the beach on Sunday or to a drive-in movie theater Saturday night.

As we got older, we spent less and less time with the family and more time with our friends. I had drill two nights a week and competitions on the weekends. I slept late every day. My bicycle stayed in the cellar. My friends picked me up with their cars. Sometimes we did nothing but ride around. Other times we hung at one house or another just talking and laughing. That was pretty much the end of family time, but it reappeared when I was older, living away and teaching. I’d spend a weekend at my parents’ house. I even remember the three of us going to a drive-in together. The movie was A New Leaf with Walter Matthau and Elaine May. We laughed a lot. I had a wonderful evening with my parents.

“It isn’t how much time you spend somewhere that makes it memorable: it’s how you spend the time.”

July 13, 2017

The weather is crazy. It is sunny then cloudy then sunny again. The humidity is so thick you can cut it with a knife (my father loved that old saw. The wording is repetitive, I know,  but what the heck). It is supposed to rain later today and again tomorrow. I have nowhere to go so I’m just fine with rain.

When I was a kid, I loved summer rains. We used to stay outside and get wet, even soaked. The stronger the rain, the more the fun. We’d splash at each other with the rainwater running down the gutters in the street. Sometimes the water ran so strongly it resembled a river with white rapids, or at least it seemed that way to us. Paper boats never had much of a chance. I think my love of the rain came from the joy we felt during summer storms.

We didn’t always go on vacation when I was a kid. Mostly we stayed home and did day trips, what they call a staycation now. I think my family invented that. We kids didn’t care. My mother and father planned great excursions. We did beach days. I remember swimming in water left by low tide and surrounded by sand bars. The sandwiches always had a bit of grit. We’d walk the beach and collect shells. By the end of the summer, I’d have quite a collection.

I remember the museums. They weren’t air conditioned in those days, but they always felt cool, the way my hometown library and post office did. I have two vivid memories of stuff at museums. At the Museum of Fine Arts, I remember the sarcophagi. They were in one giant room and they looked enormous to me. I was impressed and amazed they once all held mummies. At the Peabody Museum at Harvard I remember the outrigger hanging from the ceiling and the ape heads in jars. For some reason those heads fascinated me. They were in rows, jar after jar.

We went to the drive-in often as my grandfather had a pass so our car got in free. Bringing bug juice and popped corn from home and candy from the store made it a fairly inexpensive evening. There were always two movies and an intermission. The first movie was for kids and the second for adults as kids were expected to have fallen asleep by then or why the pajamas?

We’d go out to dinner one night during our stay at home vacation which was such a treat as we seldom went out to dinner. We’d go to Kitty’s in the next town over. It was always busy and cheap enough. I remember the waitresses carrying huge trays with several plates of foods on them. I watched kind of hoping to see plates hit the floor. They didn’t.

It never occurred to me we stayed home because we didn’t have the money for an away vacation. All the wonderful day trips are what I remember the most. I love museums thanks to those trips. I have seashells on display in the kitchen. Our Saturday outside movie nights are like the drive-in without the car but not without the candy.

“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.”

March 20, 2017

Happy Spring!

Good reasons are responsible for the lateness of my musings today. First off is Miss Gracie. I grabbed her as she started to fall going up the stairs. I was filling Maddie’s dish on the stairs so Gracie tried to go by me but lost her footing. We went up the stairs, got to my room, and she was hesitant to jump to the bed. I helped. She tried to settle down but just couldn’t. Finally, I grabbed my pillow and a blanket, took Gracie downstairs, and we both slept on the couch. She snored so I knew she felt better. On the first day of spring every year, my friends and I go the beach to welcome the sun. We sing Here Comes the Sun and Rockin’ Robin. We recite a poem by Frost, Two Tramps in Mudtime.

The sunrise was at 6:28. It was a cold, windy early morning. We sat in the car facing the east and waited. When we realized clouds were hiding the sun, we stayed in the car to sing our welcome. We watched seagull after seagull carrying breakfast then dropping it on the parking lot. We figured they were opening small crabs. We saw geese along the shoreline and ducks in the marshes. It was an amazingly high tide. The water in the marsh was all the way to the edge of the road. We didn’t get the sun, but the clouds were jaw-droppingly colorful. Red and orange spread across the sky in all directions strikingly set against the white of the puffy clouds. My friend Clare braved the wind and cold to get our shells, a first day of spring tradition. We stayed a while then went to breakfast, another tradition.

When I got home, I took Gracie out then settled on the couch and slept over two hours. When I woke up, I put on MSNBC to watch the hearing questioning James Comey and Admiral Mike Rogers. That is still holding my attention., makes me hopeful

Today will have a high of 44˚. I’m thinking that’s hardly spring, but I am hopeful. Spring does that to me. It makes me hopeful.

“A cold wind was blowing from the north, and it made the trees rustle like living things.”

September 5, 2016

When I woke up this morning, I was disappointed. Where was the rain? Where was the wind? All the forecasts last night had the storm starting Sunday night or early Monday morning. I was eager for rain, and who doesn’t like a mighty wind?

The weather changed in the last couple of hours. All we are missing is snow. It rained twice for a total of about five minutes, and in between the sun came out. The wind is getting stronger. The oak leaves are blowing and the tree branches are bending back and forth. The trunks of the pine trees are swaying. People are always drawn to the beaches during weather like this. The waves are as high as 6 feet. The energy from the wind and waves is palpable.

It took me only about ten minutes yesterday to ready the deck for the wind. I took the clay pots off the deck rail, took down the bird feeders hanging from hooks on branches and also took down candles hanging on hooks. I closed and fastened the umbrella. I’m hoping everything is safe from the wind.

Right now it is getting quite dark. I hope it means a rainstorm.

Today is a lazy day. My only chore is to bring the laundry from the cellar downstairs to my bedroom upstairs. The dump is closed today so trash will have to wait until tomorrow. I choose not to make my bed as I envision a nap in my future. Right now I’m watching TCM. The theme of the day is movies with devil or angel in the title. The Devil Makes Three just started. It is not a movie I have ever heard of before now. It stars Gene Kelly as an American serviceman in post-war Germany, specifically Munich. The description says he discovers a plot to revive the Nazi Party. I think it sounds like a perfect movie for a stay at home day.

“cozy+smell of pancakes-alarm clock=weekend”

August 29, 2016

This morning I was forced to go to Dunkin’ Donuts. I had no coffee and no cream so Gracie and I jumped into the car and drove off for my morning elixir. When we got there, the outside line was long, but I had no choice. I hadn’t bothered to get dressed or even brush my teeth. Gracie didn’t mind the wait. She just poked her head out the window and took in the neighborhood and its smells. I listened to the radio. The line went faster than I thought it would. I was happy.

Today is already hot and humid so I am back in my fortress having shut the windows and doors and turned on the air conditioning. There are clouds but they do nothing except to obscure the sun. Rain is not in the forecast for the next couple of days. The weekend, though, will be lovely with daytime temperatures in the low 70’s and nights in the mid 60’s.  It is the Labor Day weekend, the traditional last hurrah of the summer.

My sister started work today. She is a pre-school teacher in Colorado. When I spoke to her last night, she was going to take a shower so she could get to bed early. I remember my mother sending us to bed early and reminding us we had school the next day. I also remember moaning and groaning and dragging my feet upstairs.

When I was a kid, I never kept track of the weekdays. I only knew when it was Saturday or Sunday. On Saturday my father was home. He did errands uptown and mowed the lawn. On Saturday nights he often barbecued. Sometimes we went to the beach all day Saturday or the drive-in on Saturday nights. Sunday had the only consistently distinguishing event, going to mass which also meant a change in wardrobe from shorts and a sleeveless shirt to a dress or a skirt and a blouse. After mass, the day was back to casual. We didn’t have Sunday dinners during the summer. It was more of a catch as catch can. Mostly it was sandwiches.

I think my favorite weekends were in Ghana, especially the Sundays. There was a service in the dining hall where the furniture had been reconfigured to look more like the inside of a church. The students wore their Sunday clothes. Each of the four classes had a different fabric for their traditional three piece dresses, their Sunday best. They wore a top, a skirt to their ankles and a cloth wrapped around at the waist. After the service, the older students could go to town. Visitors were allowed. A photographer wandered around taking pictures, always in black and white. I have a few of the pictures given to me as gifts. When I went to town, I could see the students walking in groups and stopping at kiosks to buy personal items like powder. Others went to the market to load up on snacks to keep in their school trunks, especially gari, made from cassava and easily stored.

Being retired, my days tend to run together. I sometimes have to check the paper to see what day of the week it is. My chores and errands aren’t confined to a single day. I don’t ever have to go to bed early.

“In the hands of an able cook, fish can become an inexhaustible source of perpetual delight.”

April 21, 2016

Lately Mother Nature has seen fit to give us sunny, beautiful days. The problem, though, is they are still on the cold side, mostly in the low 50’s and down to the 40’s at night. Today, hooray, will be in the high 50’s and may even reach 60˚.

My back surgeon told me never to lift anything heavier than a phone book. I got to wondering how much longer he can use phone book as a measurement. Actual weight wouldn’t help as most people, including me, have no idea what something weighs. Don’t lift anything bigger than a Thanksgiving turkey, a Christmas roast?

The two families down the street, each with 4 kids, are away for the vacation. One family went to Disneyland while the other flew to either South or North Carolina. It got me to thinking about our family vacations. Most times we stayed home. Once we went to Niagara Falls. I have no idea how my parents could have afforded that with staying in motels, feeding 4 kids and paying for attractions. I remember every bit of that vacation, including eating lots of McDonald’s for lunch. The hamburgers were 25 cents by then. The walk around the falls wearing those yellow slickers was the highlight of the trip for me. The roaring sound of the rushing water all around me was so loud and so thrilling I could feel the sound in every part of my body. It was like I was part of the falls, part of the cascading  water. It is something I haven’t ever forgotten.

I don’t remember caring that we stayed home. Most of my friends did too. We’d do day trips and go to the beach or to a lake that had a slide into the water. We went to the drive-in. I still have a fondness for drive-ins even though I haven’t been to one in years. The Cape has one but I haven’t be able to interest anyone in going with me. I even volunteered the food but still no takers.

When I was a kid, we couldn’t eat meat on Fridays so my mother served all sorts of stuff like fried dough, English muffin pizzas and fish sticks. That was the only way we were ever served fish. I liked fish sticks but I was young, what did I know? Tonight my friends and I going to Captain Frosty’s for dinner. It is another tradition my friends and I have: we go together the first time for the season. It is mostly a seafood restaurant though they do have hamburgers and hot dogs. I’m thinking maybe scallops or clams. Here the clams have bellies the way they should. The fries are crisp. Each plate gets a small clam ball, a lagniappe. I’m already hungry just thinking about dinner.

I need to fill the feeders today and maybe sit on the deck in the sun to finish my book. I doubt there are many better ways to spend a day.

“Life’s a beach. Just roll with it.”

May 17, 2015

Today is a glorious day. The sun is bright, the sky so blue it looks painted and the air warm and smelling of the ocean. It is a day to be outside to feel the sun on my face, to get drowsy in the warmth and maybe fall asleep.

The Sundays of my childhood were quiet days. First we had to go to church. Sometimes we’d go with my dad while other times we’d walk, my brother and I. In the summer the early masses were crowded so people could have the whole day. Those were my favorite masses. Often there were no open seats in the pews so we had to stand in the back and even outside on the steps where I was so far away from the altar at the front of the church I never heard any part of the mass. I’d get tired and sit on the steps. The adults standing in the back used to crane their necks to see what was going inside. I was never that curious.

Most Sundays were family days. In the summer that often meant the beach for the whole day. We never tired of the beach and the ocean no matter how often we went. My favorite ocean time was low tide when there would be pools of warm water. We’d check out the starfish and toss empty crab shells at each other. We’d try to catch the small darting fish we called minnows even though they weren’t. We’d take our pails and walk along the water’s edge looking for shells, but not just random shells, we were picky. We’d pass by the clam shells and look for spirals with different colors inside and out. It was rare to find a complete spiral. Often one side was missing or chipped. We’d nearly fill our pails, wash out the sand in the water then put the pail near the blanket so we could bring home all our treasures. Mine usually went on my bureau for a while.

Eating at the beach was mostly when we were hungry. We had our choice of sandwiches, usually cold cuts but  sometimes egg salad. There were always chips to go with the sandwiches and my mother always packed a bag of Oreos, the easiest of all desserts.

My dad would make sure our feet were cleaned so we wouldn’t bring sand into his car. He’d open the car door, we’d sit and he’d dunk our feet into a pail of water then we’d scramble our way to our seats without touching the parking lot sand. I think it a bit ironic that we ended up living on the Cape where sand is almost part of the car floor.

I remember falling into an exhaustive sleep after a day in the sun and water. Sometimes, when my head was on the pillow, warm water would drain from my ears. It was a strange sensation.