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Friday, May 27, 2011

Memorial Day; Sun, Sand and... Aggravation?...


Now, this is a beach I enjoyed; The Moorings circa 2006
The day our country celebrates the lives of those soldiers who gave them up to protect our freedoms in combat, for most Americans is synonymous with a three-day weekend, family get-togethers, sun, beach, a favorite libation (or two) and barbecues. Life just doesn’t get any better (except, of course, for people in the news business that have to work, like me!).

Regardless of my having to work, this year, since my mother-in-law is out of town visiting my sister-in-law in London, where the latter lives, my wife is planning for us to spend the weekend at her mom’s Key Biscayne condo, so we can enjoy the beach with the kids.

I’ll be honest, I enjoy the beach more in that Corona commercial, where the couple is sitting on a beautiful beach and the only sounds are the waves and sea gulls, than I do in person. 

Maybe, it's a childhood trauma of the time in my senior year in high school where I wore a speedo to the beach and sweated profusely in all the wrong places, forcing me to stay lying on a towel on the sand all day but, I hate sand. I hate sun block on my hands and body. I hate sand on my sun blocked hands and body, or the burning sensation of sun-block-laced sweat in my eyes, prompting me to rub them with my sun block sandy hands. I hate the struggle of having to lug around beach chairs, bags, toys and a cooler while walking in sandals on the sand. And, I hate the scorching and unforgiving sun.

It’s funny because we live in South Florida, and hardly go to the beach. However, if we lived anywhere else, I would be craving and missing the beach. In fact, what makes the beach tolerable during our yearly week-long family vacation to Sanibel is a large tent that my wife’s uncle puts up every morning, which provides relief from the sun (and the fact that we are enjoying family, eating and drinking a rum concoction that my wife’s uncle calls Miami Wamis, all day long. After a few Miami Wamis, it’s all good).

The only time I remember truly appreciating the beach was a weekend that my wife and I spent with two other couples in The Moorings in Key Largo.  Of course, the beach was covered with palm trees and since there were no kids around, we could lounge around in the shade, read, drink and smoke cigars.

Don't get me wrong, despite my distaste for sun and sand, I may be willing to put up with some mild inconveniences for an opportunity to read quietly, have an ice cold beer (or two) and smoke a cigar. So, I’m game for the weekend in Key Biscayne.

Of course, I’m sure my wife would say, there I go again, only thinking of myself and ignoring the family, which would be quickly followed by the suggestion that I can read, drink beer and smoke a cigar in my backyard alone, while she and the kids hang out at the beach! One of the many benefits of marriage is the reality check that my wife continuously slaps me in the face with.

Yes, my family should be my priority and not the book, beer or cigar. As a matter of fact, I don’t usually smoke cigars around my kids, unless they are totally distracted like they are while playing with their cousins in Sanibel, so I may have to scrap that idea, leaving me with reading and a cold beer (or two).

Of course, as I think about it, with three young kids vying for attention, not to mention a wife expecting me to pay attention to them, it will be difficult to focus on the book I’m currently reading, The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming, by Henri Nouwen, so I will probably have to scrap that idea as well, leaving me with just the cold beer (or two).

Then again, without the book or cigar, it gives me more free time to play with the kids (and drink).  I actually may need more than two beers to keep my body cool from the hot sun, and keep me from sweating sun block into my eye and rubbing them with my sandy hands. In fact, after more than two beers, I really may not care whether I am sweating or getting sun block and sand on myself.  Come to think of it, after more than two beers, I love the beach.

Have a Happy, Blessed and very cool Memorial Day Weekend!…

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