There’s A Place I Can Go.

I wrote this several years ago after spending time in my one of my favorite places. I’m sort of there right now, but not. I wrote this about Cape Cod – my favorite way and place to relax – but now I’m with my same in-laws by the beach. We’re in St. Augustine today, and not Cape Cod, but so much is the same and so much feels right. I think I’ll relax and stay for a bit..

This is written, in part, in memory of George Landers. A true friend.

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Every year of my mid-childhood contained a perfectly memorable summer vacation. My family usually revolved our vacations around my older sister’s dance competitions so we’d go wherever the dancers went. For several years it was two weeks in Myrtle Beach. We’d spend a few days doing dance competition whatever and then settle into our home away from home – a HIGHLY air-conditioned condo, thanks to my dad. These condos changed annually. One was two stories with a spiral staircase separating the floors. That was pretty epic. Often as big as the condos were, there were five of us kids and we’d ultimately all huddle into two shared bedrooms. Sometimes my uncle came. Sometimes my cousin. And sometimes a babysitter. It was a home base for two weeks, and after vigorous fun at the beach, the arcade, the amusement parks, the mini golf courses and the restaurants, we’d have a great place to eat and sleep and soothe our sunburned skin. It was memorable.

When we were a bit older, the dance competitions moved a bit north – Ocean City, Maryland. This meant a shorter drive, rather than the 12 hour overnight we’d endure down to South Carolina, but we’d still get a bit squirrelly. Seven people and their luggage in one GMC Truck. I remember making “HONK IF YOU LOVE DELAWARE” signs and putting them up against the back windows. Oddly, no one ever honked. We also quoted Wayne’s World by shrugging our shoulders blankly and saying:

“We’re in Delaware.” Yay?

It’s the little things you remember. Like our condo that we shared with another family – very close friends. There were about 17 air fresheners scattered throughout the two story condo. One smelled like orange barf and wore a female clown costume. If you can believe that. A cone air freshener dressed like a clown. We called her Mrs. Odorifica. She made our day.

Imagine our surprise, a year later during our second Ocean City vacation, that we had the same exact condo. And imagine our surprise to find Mrs. Odorifica just as we left her, no worse for the wear. She was, in fact, worse for the wear for the next renters after we hung her by her clown cone neck from the kitchen ceiling fan – for the condo’s one early riser (our dear friend, George) to find her the next morning. I was so happy that second year. I loved the fact that we were in the same condo again. That made it feel like home. My first year in our new vacation place had been disorienting and homesick.

The second year was familiar. I wanted a place I could go, nearly whenever, to get away from reality for awhile. A place that didn’t change much, even if I did. A home away from home. I’m finding that in Cassidy’s family’s home in Truro.

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We’ve been there before together, sometimes even to get away, to be romantic together or to fight morning sickness in a remote, beachy place. Even to stay for a Cape Cod wedding. However, this was our second year staying, at the house that Cassidy’s dad built decades ago, for a summer vacation with other family members. It is the perfect beach house. Gravel road, hammock, wraparound deck, outdoor shower, junk food, cool breezes, swimsuits hung everywhere, people coming and going all day long. From home to beach to home to market or dinner and then back home again. A true vacation.

And we sure needed it, after the stresses of spring and summer. Our vacation was very concentrated into two days but those two days held everything we needed – rest and relaxation, seafood, ice cream, sunset, and beach, beach, beach.

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I’ve been trying to imagine what it’s like to be three-year-olds on a beach vacation with your family and someone offers you a giant inflatable swan to glide on in the middle of a calm bay. I think about it a lot. It’s a happy place in my mind.

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Des slept through most of it.

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Eyes open for five minutes, and then asleep again.

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These are some of my favorites.

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Des clearly was comfortable, happy, dreamy, baby.

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And that’s how we spent our two day summer vacation. It might have well have been two weeks, with all of the simultaneous joy and relaxation. Made me think of summer vacations past in Ocean City, Maryland. Made me think of familiarity and closeness. Laughter and love. The merging of families, all becoming one family. Sunburns and sandy towels. Seafood and ice cream. Made me think of the family we spent two weeks with for two summers.

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We all miss you, George.

This is me linking up, as one of my favorite things to do, with Finish The Sentence Friday. This week’s topic is “My favorite way to relax is..” And there’s still time to write yours. Come link up with your spin on any of the matters: HERE.