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Food for thought

Just beachy

Basil, me and Catherine — Chatham Light Beach, 2003. Thank you to the nice fellow who offered to take this rare shot that includes all three of us!

Got the season’s first trip to the beach in on Sunday — a brief visit, sandwiched between the yard work and vacuuming. Basil wasn’t going to join me, but I think the new bikini convinced him to leave the gutters for a bit.

I love the beach — love the people-watching, love the sound of the waves and the feel of the sand beneath my feet. In fact, some of my most vivid memories involve the beach:

  • Lazy summer afternoons at Oakland Beach in Rye, NY. I had Mickey Mouse sunglasses and Mom almost always packed PB&J, peaches and plums for lunch.
  • My first look at the ocean on the Jersey Shore with cousins from Pennsylvania.
  • Back at Oakland again in my teens — finally able to drive and enjoy the day out. My fair skin never seemed to do more than burn and turn white again, but no matter.
  • Jones Beach the day after prom — great fun with good friends, never mind the sun poisoning I sustained when I fell asleep on the blanket, or that I could barely sit through graduation a few days later thanks to the blistered sunburn on the backs of my legs.
  • Oakland once again, newly dating Basil and horsing around in the water. He dove under to pick me up and hit his head on the concrete block to which the float was tethered. Came up out of the drink with blood running down his face. Fortunately a nurse was there, too. He was fine, thank goodness — nothing a couple of stitches couldn’t fix. Plus, he now has a manly scar that is quite a conversation-starter.
  • The beach house on LBI that my friend, Jacquie’s parents own. What a blast to jump the waves — after we recovered from our surprise bout of sea-sickness.
  • Last summer’s trip to Seaside Heights. ‘Nuff said.
  • Many, many lazy vacations days watching the waves at Nauset (and eating onion rings, natch), spying the seals at Chatham Light, gathering seashells at Gull Beach or Rock Harbor Beach on Cape Cod (or trying to decide where to look among the dunes at the clothing-optional beach in P-town).

Of course, close to home there are Tod’s Point and Island Beach. We make good use of them any time of year. What fun it used to be to take Catherine to Tod’s so she could chase seagulls, collect rocks, splash in the tide pools and sing to the Hum Snails. Or make an afternoon of the ferry ride to Island Beach — it was also a treat for me years ago when mom’s friend used to take us.

She’s less inclined to join us now — guess we’re doubly embarrassing in bathing suits. But Sunday featured shadows of her younger self everywhere. There were a ton of kids out in their new suits — the colors not yet faded by sun and saltwater, the styles still a good fit — playing in the sand and surf.

Even this early in the season, the people-watching was stellar: melting ice pops and melting down toddlers.

Pregnant women who’ve clearly had enough.

People sharing their whole life stories on their cell phones.

The body-builders and body oblivious.

And the ink! Male, female, young, old — it doesn’t matter. Tattoos are hot right now. Whole sleeves of ’em, tramp stamps, dainty ankle art  — you name it.

The young bleach-blonde sunning herself next to us has a 3-inch anchor on her midriff encircled in a pink bow.

Now what the heck do you think THAT’s about?

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About Terri S. Vanech

Wife, mother, communications specialist, Jazzercise instructor and recently reunited adoptee. I'm living out loud -- and trying to make it all work -- in midlife. Having a sense of humor sure helps.

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